The bold programming by Canadian Stage artistic director Matthew Jocelyn continues this summer with the company's al fresco offering. The Winter's Tale isn't one of those crowd-pleasers staged countless times at the Dream In High Park. But its mix of fairy tale motifs, action (including a shipwreck and a bear) and some moving psychological elements will appeal to theatregoers of any age. Also, the eclectic cast gets to act, sing, dance and play instruments - a piece of cake for Sean Dixon, best known to theatre audiences for his work with Theatre SKAM but also an accomplished banjoist and novelist (The Many Revenges Of Kip Flynn).
You're an actor, playwright, musician and most recently novelist. So what do you put under "occupation"?
I've given up.
The Winter's Tale isn't one of Shakespeare's best-known plays. How would you entice people to come?
It's a tragedy that collides with a comedy to produce a fountain of magic.
You mentioned on Twitter that "a lot takes place in Act IV of The Winter's Tale." Can you elaborate - in 140 characters or less?
Let me clarify: A lot happens in Act IV Scene IV of The Winter's Tale.
Speaking of Twitter, you're on there a lot. When's your most prolific tweeting time?
I have the impression the best times for tweeting - at least if you want a conversation - are late morning and mid-afternoon, unless someone is live-tweeting from backstage during a show.
... and will you be tweeting backstage during the show?
Hmm... I'd have to get a device for it. Oh, no. No way, I'd miss a music cue or an entrance for sure. No. Definitely not.
"Exit, pursued by a bear" is one of the all-time most famous Shakespeare stage directions. How is it used in this production?
The pursuit by the bear begins right at the beginning of the play.
Any particular politician you hope sees the show?
"Exit, pursued by Rob Ford!"
Apparently you're required to act, dance, sing and play a variety of instruments. How does that change the feel of the play?
It gives Act IV Scene IV its due.
Does it bother you that banjos are everywhere now, when you've been playing one for years and even maintain a banjo blog (banjobanjar.blogspot.com)?
It does sometimes. Thanks for asking. But even though they're ubiquitous, you still overhear people say, "I heard a guy playing Rusalka's Song To The Moon on the banjo!" as if it were doing the impossible, as if the instrument isn't capable of playing all the notes in the frigging scale. (Maybe that's a bad example. I'm not sure I'd want to hear Rusalka's Song To The Moon on the banjo.)
How does it feel to take part in a scene that contains one of the first recorded uses of the word "dildo"?
It's been cut. But Estelle [Shook] directed us to play the lines that have been cut.