May 14, 2019 — Whew! A busy weekend for children’s theatre in Ottawa! The Company of Adventurers performed at the Ottawa International Children’s Festival (on Mother’s Day!) this past weekend — on the 100 Watt Earth Stage. We performed scenes from Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra,” our gorgeous show from last year. The actors did such a fabulous job! We had to transform our 2.5 hour play into a 35-minute production! That was a challenge! We met as a group and selected our favourite scenes from the play, then linked them together through a narration that is told by the Soothsayer. Our production was presented as a memory play, recounted by the Egyptian Soothsayer as s/he remembers the events of the last few years in Antony and Cleopatra’s great romance. This is such a beautiful play, and probably a first for children’s theatre in Ottawa! Our group of Roman soldiers opened the play by interrupting the Egyptians’ games on stage, bursting through the audience from the back of the festival tent. A dramatic beginning! From there, we saw Cleopatra’s beautiful Egyptian dance accompanied on violin by two of our actors, followed by the love song “La Prima Vez,” sung by Antony and Cleopatra together. We managed to hit the highlights: Antony and Caesar clashing over territory; Cleopatra’s comical abuse of one of Antony’s messengers; a Roman bacchanal, complete with a song sung in Latin by our actors (!); the death scene of Eros (Antony’s faithful soldier) who kills himself to avoid killing Antony; and Cleopatra’s death scene, as she poisons herself with the bite of a snake. The play concluded with one of our favourite songs from our longer production, as Antony and Cleopatra reunite after death. I was so proud of our actors. The wind racing through the festival tent made things pretty chilly, and we had only seen the stage 15 minutes before show time, so the actors had to improvise. (We had prepared for the unexpected during rehearsals, but still!) What a group of confident, talented, and capable young people! Wow! Just goes to show that theatre IS good training for young people. It boosts self-confidence, camaraderie, poise, psychological depth, quick thinking, and adaptability. What more could you want? And is it fun!!