#yycLCL November 2019

Dean Paul Gibson and David Haysom working through a scene on stage at the University of Calgary
Dean Paul Gibson and David Haysom working through a scene | Photo: Elizabeth Cameron, courtesy of Hit & Myth

#yycLCL November 2019

Hit & Myth has long been a collaborator with local, independent theatre companies in Calgary. Since our inception in 2006, we’ve endeavoured to produce shows in Calgary that are exciting, theatrical, and as much as possible, showcase Calgary artists, both established professionals and emerging performers.

And, well, to do projects that are just interesting and cool.

This co-production of The Merchant of Venice, with The Shakespeare Company and the University of Calgary Division of Drama, School of Creative and Performing Arts does exactly that. We wanted to create an opportunity that allowed theatre professionals and theatre students to work together on an intense and exciting project.

The task of lifting the word from the page to the stage is often a long and complex one. Shakespeare can initially seem to be archaic and difficult, so the work of the actors and the director is to make it clear, for themselves, and an audience. And, that is wonderfully and remarkably achieved in this production.

We brought in some very interesting and exciting artists to achieve our goal.

Carey Perloff, a seasoned professional director, playwright, and author, who headed the American Conservatory Theatre, agreed to come and direct. Seana McKenna, a long time Stratford star, and Canadian theatrical icon, agreed to play Shylock, and Dean Paul Gibson, long time Vancouver actor and director, agreed to play Antonio, the merchant, in The Merchant of Venice.

The cast was rounded out with local professional actors and drama students from UCalgary. Carey, Seana, and Dean Paul have decades of experience in performing Shakespeare professionally. What an exciting opportunity for them to be able to share their wealth of knowledge with the students. And, to be able to bring this complex and fascinating play to life.

This photo shows Dean Paul Gibson with David Haysom, working through a scene on the set in the theatre. This is a rare opportunity, as most rehearsals occur in the rehearsal hall. But, thanks to the hard work and generosity of the School of Creative and Performing Arts, we were able to rehearse the entire play on the actual stage. A wonderful luxury.

Hit & Myth Productions is a professional independent theatre company based in Calgary and has produced over 30 professional shows, engaging numerous local actors, directors, and designers.

Up next, Hit & Myth collaborates with Downstage to develop the world premiere of Men Express Their Feelings, a hilarious new hockey play by Sunny Drake. Check out hitandmyth.net for details and dates, and be sure to follow the company on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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