Another warm summer and another highly anticipated performance of a classic Shakespeare play is coming to the amphitheatre in Galt Gardens downtown.

This year, the Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society is performing a rendition of Taming of the Shrew, set in the 60s and directed by Jesse Thibert.

Cast member Trevor Loman who is playing the character Hortensio, says he loves the ever-shifting style of Shakespeare in the Park as the changing venues provide constant excitement for the crew.

“It’s fun because it challenges us as the actors to adapt to these different spaces,” says Loman.

He says the Taming of the Shrew, in particular, is a real joy to perform.

“I think it’s one of the stronger comedies, full of a lot of good Shakespearian insults.”

However, acting is not all cheering and applause, and Loman says the mental strain of working full time and acting on the side can be daunting.

“I know plenty of actors who also commit to plenty of projects at the same time.” 

He notes that overworking as an actor is quite easy when maintaining a schedule with three or more days of rehearsals.

“It’s easy to just spread yourself a little thin,” he says.

One of the lead actors in the play, Ben McLuskey, who plays Petruchio, says there is no extra pressure when preparing to go on stage, only more work.

“It’s just the last month and a half that we’ve been in rehearsal that I’ve had to put in the extra work (to learn the lines),” says McLuskey.

He says some of his peers struggle with becoming their characters, but he finds the process rather straightforward.

“I’ve been sitting in the wings writing an essay and then my scene will be coming up, so I’ll just close the computer and just take a deep breath and go out.”

Another cast member who takes this nonchalant approach is Ginny Little-Bergsma, a teacher by trade, though her love of theatre has driven her to take part in this performance.

“This is something that I really enjoy doing,” says Little-Bergsma. 

While she loves her craft, she agrees with Loman that an overfilled calendar can cause problems, though she also agrees with McLusky about taking a much more relaxed approach to acting.

She says performing in a Shakespeare play is enjoyable enough that the potential overload is worth it.

“It’s also good to fill your life with things that you enjoy,” she says.

While many actors may feel stress or nervousness when on stage, Little-Bergsma says she’s fine.

“I feel joyful when I get to perform.” 

Not all crew members share this easy-going attitude though, even if they are hoping to pursue acting as a full-time career.

Mataya Britton, who plays Bianca, says she gets major stage fright, but her desire to one day be on the silver screen trumps her nerves.

“All my stage fright happens off-stage and then the second I’m on stage, it’s kind of easier to click into the character’s mindset,” says Britton.

She says she is going to school south of the border, transferring this summer to a Los Angeles-based institution with aspirations to follow her dream.

“I’d like to be in movies, that’s the end goal I guess. But I also want to get into writing and producing.”

The cast still has some time to rehearse before the show kicks off on July 7 at Galt Gardens.

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By Justin Sibbet, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jun 26, 2023 at 13:12

This item reprinted with permission from   Lethbridge Herald    Lethbridge, Alberta
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