Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan scripts full return

Subscriptions for the 2022 season go on sale on May 17, followed by single tickets on May 24.

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The bard is back on the river.

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Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan (SOTS) has unveiled its full slate of shows for this summer, aiming for a breath of fresh verse with a lesser-known Shakespeare play and two contemporary productions.

“It’s so refreshing to see that it’s a take on Shakespeare characters that (audiences) aren’t familiar with,” said interim artistic director Skye Brandon.

Shakespeare’s Will and Iago Speaks will accompany the late-career Shakespeare play Cymbeline, which was previously announced in February and will be the company’s first production of the show.

Cymbeline leaves the audience with “a sense of forgiveness and a sense of hope,” Brandon said.

That theme carries into Shakespeare’s Will, a one-woman show written by Vern Thiessen that follows Shakespeare’s wife Anne Hathaway while she prepares to read her deceased husband’s last will and testament.

That play runs from July 14 to 31 and is directed by Prince Albert’s Roxanne Dicke.

Iago Speaks, written by Daniel Macdonald, will make its premiere on Aug. 6 and run until Aug. 21.

The play finds Iago jailed after the closing of Othello, following his famous promise that he’ll never speak again.

“Well, what happens if his jailer won’t shut up?” Brandon said.

The ensuing comedy is directed by Krista Jackson and depicts the jailer finding some meaning in the repetitive task of guarding Iago, according to a news release.

“It’s not a mistake that all three directors have never directed for the festival,” Brandon said. “We’re finding ways to introduce new voices.”

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This year marks a return to form after the pandemic forced the company to shutter its 2020 season and to create an alternate production of Macbeth amid shifting public health measures in its 2021 year.

This year’s festival will also bring back Sunday teas, and new plays in development may also appear as stage readings during the festival or in other venues, Brandon said.

This season is further dedicated to SOTS artistic director and University of Saskatchewan drama instructor Henry Woolf, who died at 91 in November. Brandon called him an “artistic giant.”

The plays will similarly explore storytelling — a pastime that’s grown more significant as audiences turned to culture to find comfort during the pandemic, Brandon said.

“All three are going to have a thread of storytelling and people’s stories being told,” Brandon added.

“The act of sharing stories with each other means something a bit more now than maybe it has in years past.”

Subscriptions for the 2022 season go on sale on May 17, followed by single tickets on May 24.

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