Fredericton-Upon-Avon — Two play types, both alike in dignity: modern Shakespeare remakes and classic Shakespeare. Bard in the Barracks is celebrating its 10th anniversary with the former, but promises that unlike every other gritty modern remake of the bard’s iconic writing, this one will be grittier and more in-your-face than you can handle with real leather, angst and bloody fistfights.
The playbill promises to delight with “more than a few local touches” — rumour has it that drunken louts from the tannery will stumble into the performance, joining the fight scenes and spilling real blood onto the salivating onlookers. Theatre critics who mourn the loss of “true theatre” will be overjoyed by the tears, sweat and Picaroons beer pouring onto them due to the close-quarters roaming, immersive nature of the performance.
As evidenced by the black-and-white, high-contrast promotional images, this modern Shakespeare drama isn’t afraid to defy norms and challenge everything you thought you knew about performing arts. The characters’ mohawks, heavy eye makeup and milk-white skin brings to light Shakespeare’s underlying message: tragedies are tragic.
Just like in old times, the audience is encouraged to hiss and spit at unlikeable characters, and refrain from clapping until Mayor Brad Woodside is seen to grant his approval to the show. Len Falkenstein, founder and artistic director of Bard in the Barracks, said that the people of Fredericton will be dumbfounded by the raw emotion and truth of this modernized classic.
“They said it couldn’t be done, that we’d be crazy to try. But this is real, this is happening. This play is so modern that you’ll actually be able to understand the Shakespearean dialect. I personally promise that every single actor will have their brows furrowed in genuine pain or sadness the entire time. We would NOT recommend bringing children to this show.”