Sunday, August 29, 2021

Outdoors @ the Shaw Shawground Experience

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This summer, we enjoyed the interactive experience of Outdoors @ The Shaw! It was a fun and unique experience, different from the past theatre experiences we have had at Shaw Festival theatre as it was set outdoors without the lights and costumes. The beautiful afternoon we spent at the lush grounds of the Festival Theatre in Niagara-on-the-lake while immersing ourselves in the Shavian affair was a memorable one!
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During a family movie night we watched Larry Crowne, which our teens connected to the Shawground experience. Larry Crowne (Tom Hanks) in his final class speech said, "George Bernard Shaw who once quipped, “A fool’s brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition and art into pedantry. Hence a university education.”
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Bernard Shaw, an Anglo-Irish playwright, critic, and political activist has influenced Western theatre, culture, politics since the 1880s. The hour-long engaging theatre experience was creatively organized to accommodate small groups in an outdoor setting while adhering to pandemic safety. If you enjoy the spoken word, and big ideas you will enjoy the humour and depth of how well the stage is set with seasoned actors.

Before our guided journey following an actor from one entertainment area to the next started, we listened to some wonderful music in the outdoor patio. 
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Although the actors were not in costume, there were very simple props. We were led to five different stations. First, we listened to a skit of The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe. Then we watched the performance of Augustus Does His Bit, following an act about voting rights. 
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We enjoyed the interactive Shawrades, a game of charades with theatrical words. The show ended with all the actors coming to the stage to recognize and thank Indigenous land and its people, and did a performance. We really like the GBS-focused affair featuring provocative art and lively music from the period of GBS, his contemporaries, and from other periods that connect to Shavian themes and ideas.   
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We really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere. It was exciting to recognize some of the actors from previous shows we had watched over the years. This is a wonderful experience to have with the family, especially with teenagers.

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