Ontario festival to show Bard's works in HD

( Agencies ) Updated: 2016-03-25 09:45:25

Ontario festival to show Bard's works in HD

[File photo]

The Stratford Festival in Canada will this year commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death by broadcasting three more of the Bard's work in high-definition, including Hamlet.

The Ontario-based festival is attempting to broadcast the complete works of Shakespeare around the world over the next 10 years. It will kick off the next block of shows with Hamlet starring Jonathan Goad on April 24, The Adventures of Pericles beginning on May 8 and The Taming of the Shrew beginning on May 29.

"I think it's got great balance. Hamlet is the seminal title in terms of the oeuvre. Then you've got a great comedy like The Shrew, and then a romance. So it has nice balance in terms of Shakespeare's work," says festival artistic director Antoni Cimolino, who also directed Hamlet.

The unprecedented effort started last year with productions of King Lear, King John and Antony and Cleopatra. The US-based live cinema event company SpectiCast Entertainment is helping distribute the Bard's canon.

The Taming of the Shrew stars Deborah Hay and Ben Carlson and is directed by Chris Abraham. The Adventures of Pericles stars Evan Buliung and is directed by Scott Wentworth. The staged versions were recorded on HD film using 10 cameras and 128 tracks of sound.

"We've become a lot better at doing this in the last couple of years. We had a lot to learn," says Cimolino, citing things like makeup for HD, the need for close-ups on camera and details like how costumes move.

"Things that were absolutely OK in a bigger theater become something that needs to be addressed when you've got a big camera just inches away from an actor's face," he says.

The company has a seven-month season every year with about a dozen plays in four Ontario venues performed by some 120 actors.

This upcoming season, it will feature Macbeth, As You Like It and the North American premiere of the stage version of Shakespeare in Love.

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