Shakespeare on Trial at the Osprey

Published on April 12, 2010
shakespeare on trial

The Osprey Arts Centre will present Shakespeare on Trial by Jeremy Webb twice on Friday, April 23. In the morning, grades 11 and 12 from the three county high schools will be bused to the theatre for the play. In the evening, the play will be offered to a general audience.

 In Shakespeare on Trial, writer Bill Shakespeare encounters four of his own most famous characters: MacBeth, Iago, Hamlet and Juliet up-close, personal and ticked-off.

Shakespeare has to defend his own writing as the four fictional characters challenge the author to write in a modern way, arguing that no one understands them anymore.

Shakespeare on Trial is a one-act, fast-paced comedy featuring Simon Henderson as Shakespeare and Jeremy Webb as Shakespeare’s characters.  Alison Stanton from Basement Theatre found the play ingenious, hilarious and full of good old fashioned slapstick. “It certainly was a whole different way of seeing Shakespeare, with the characters whining and complaining about their parts, and dissatisfied with their place in their play.” Peter Oliver comes to mind with his Basement Theatre productions, such as Alice, Two and a Half Penny Opera and It’s a Greek Thing.

The play features a ‘greatest hits’ of famous Shakespeare quotes, speeches and the occasional soliloquy (featuring scenes from Romeo & Juliet, Othello, MacBeth and Hamlet.) The show becomes interactive for the last 15 minutes as Shakespeare calls upon the audience to help prove his point: “The play’s the thing…”

Writer and actor Jeremy Webb immigrated to Canada in 1998 from the UK. He trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He has appeared in more than a dozen Shakespeare plays, including an appearance as Iago in Othello at Shakespeare by the Sea. He played Cogsworth in Neptune’s Beauty and the Beast, and was also in The Producers. Previous writing credits include Pinocchio for Shakespeare by the Sea.

Halifax’s The Coast says about Shakespeare on Trial that Webb plays the ugliest Juliet ever. It also comments that the play is for the “too cool for Shakespeare” crowd, as well as for lovers of the Bard.

Shakespeare on Trial appears at 8 PM on Friday, April 23. Tickets are $15, $5 for students and $25 for families, and are available at The Whirligig Bookshop, 875-1117, or at the door.