DREAM IN HIGH PARK DOES CLASSIC COMEDY WITHOUT THE SHTICK
The best summer events happen outdoors, so why shouldn't theatre follow suit? Leave the serious stuff for colder seasons. CanStage 's Dream In High Park returns for its 21st season to one of the Bard's most delightful comedies, Twelfth Night . The play's elements of classic humour - mistaken twins, misapplied romance and mischievous pranks - are woven into a tale that begins with a shipwreck but ends up sailing for laughter and a happy ending.
Another plus, this Dream makes good use of multiracial casting, presenting a group as ethnically diverse as Toronto itself. David Collins plays Orsino, the duke who woos the mourning Olivia ( Geneviève Steele ) and is himself loved by Viola ( Zainab Musa ), a woman dressed as a man who becomes Orsino's page.
"Director David Storch wants us to play it straight, without all the clown buffoonery that often clouds a production," says Collins on a rehearsal break. "When you aim for reality, the comedy of the situation comes out in the play's various forms of love sickness.
"That sickness is a universal experience," continues Collins, who's appeared in Top Gun! The Musical and The Adventures Of A Black Girl In Search Of God. "It taps into something human and primal - it's chemical and physical, not intellectual. We've all suffered from that madness."
Coincidentally, Collins's first professional show was a Twelfth Night in Vancouver, where he was Olivia's guard. He's also played Romeo, and sees Orsino as an older version of that young lover, caught up in the same romantic throes and letting his heart rule his life.
And playing outdoors, with all its distractions?
"I haven't done an outdoor show since the time when you could get $300 grants to do clown performances in the park," he laughs. "But I remember something magic and mysterious about performing outside in the dark. It has the same appeal it had 10,000 years ago. The spirits come out to play, and we play with them."
Also in the cast are Lwam Ghebrehariat , Chapelle Jaffe , Michael Spence , Michael Spencer-Davis , Jovanni Sy and Sanjay Talwar .
Twelfth Night previews from July 1 and opens July 3 at the outdoor Dream site, High Park. 416-367-1652 ext 500.