Actors Nathan Zwicker

Actors Nathan Zwicker

Shakespeare in the Shuswap

Shuswap Theatre presents the last Mainstage production of the season, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, which opens April 25.

There’s laughter to be had in Shuswap Theatre’s final main stage production of the season and entry into the 2014 Ozone Festival.

Directed by Evelyn Birch, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, delivers fast-paced, gag-a-second comedy as it deconstructs all 37 of the bard’s plays, plus the sonnets, into a single two-hour whirlwind.

“Laughter is a universal response – all cultures, all ages, throughout time – people respond to life and its quirks with varying degrees of mirth,” says Birch in her director’s notes. “Whether it’s a little giggle or a belly-busting guffaw, we all enjoy and need a good laugh from time to time.”

Birch saw this play many years ago and says she was totally engaged by the fast pace, the outrageous silliness and the unique aspect of audience participation.

“I never forgot the almost giddy feeling of joy on leaving that performance,” she says, noting she got hooked on theatre in high school where she was The Tin Man in Wizard of Oz and Fiona in Blithe Spirit.

Life took Birch in down a very different road, one on which her love for theatre was fed only by attending other people’s productions.

“For years, I’d go to live theatre, thoroughly enjoy it, but go home feeling somewhat depressed and dissatisfied,” she says. “I didn’t understand why – until we moved to the Shuswap and I got involved with Shuswap Theatre.  I realized that I had had let-down feelings because I needed to be involved.”

Birch has been involved with Shuswap Theatre for almost 15 years –  onstage, behind the scenes and on the board of directors.

She has had roles in several Shuswap Theatre productions, including How the Other Half Loves, Puppet on a String, Moon Over Buffalo, Sowing Seeds in Danny and Marion Bridge.

Calling the theatre her classroom, Birch says she has learned much from many people over the years.

Birch enjoys being part of what she describes as “this fabulous community.”

“So many people with varying talents and interests, work together to create the magic of live theatre,” she says. “Take a moment, during the intermission, to check out the foyer display – see all the wonderful people who worked to make this show for you.”

Birch also suggested members of the audience might consider  being part of the magic. She says newcomers are always welcome and suggested those with an interest chat with the volunteers at the ticket booth.

In the meantime, Birch recommends the show as an antidote to stress and the blues.

“It is my hope that, having left some cares behind, even for a short while, you will leave here,  full of joy and hope, ready to face whatever life may have for you tomorrow,” she says.

The show opens on Friday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m. and runs over three weekends. Saturday shows also start at 7:30 p.m and Sunday matinees on April 27 and May 4 start at 1:30 p.m.

There are no shows Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

Thrifty Thursday shows run May 1 and May 8.

The show wraps on Saturday, May 10.

Tickets are $17 for adults, $15 for seniors 60-plus, $10 for students and $5 for children and are available at Intwined Fibre Arts at 141C Hudson Ave. NE. Unsold tickets are available at the door, an hour before showtime.