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Shakespeare takes a stab at Canada’s FLQ crisis

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Shakespeare in the Ruins is back this summer with Julius Caesar, running June 5 to 29.
The show will be set during a dark time in Canada’s past, the infamous FLQ crisis in 1970 Quebec. Though it is difficult to make it historically accurate, the characters will loosely represent former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his ministers.
"We basically take the essence of the era and try to add as many pieces to that (as we can)," said Sarah Constible, director of the show. "They’re still talking about Rome, and Italy, and they’re still using anachronistic statements, but it’s with the flavour of Canada and that time."
Constible chose the FLQ era because she wanted to remind everyone of Canada’s less-than-honourable past, and she felt Shakespeare’s work represented the time well.
 "What really excites me about Shakespeare is that he had an incredible handle on human interaction and universal truths about people," said Constible. "The reason I chose the FLQ crisis is because I really wanted to emphasis the idea that we’re all capable of doing things that transgress our moral code."
The play is performed in the Trappist Monastery Ruins in St. Norbert. A picturesque location, the audience will actually move around the ruins for the different scenes and acts outside, with the elements.
"It’s tricky when it rains," said Constible, who acted in a show last year while it rained. "We move the audience under the canopy but the actors stay in the rain. Sometimes it adds to the effect though."
Actor Kevin Klassen will be playing Brutus during the show. Luckily he hasn’t had to act in the rain yet, and he’s found the ruins seem to be lucky weather-wise.
"It could be raining everywhere else in Manitoba but nine times out of 10, when it comes time for us to perform, it becomes clear and it doesn’t rain," said Klassen. "Half a dozen times last year it would be raining all day, it would stop for the show, and then after it would start raining again."
For those new to Shakespeare, Constible wants to emphasise that people shouldn’t be hesitant to come.
"If they have an aversion to Shakespeare, they don’t need to be afraid of this," said Constible. "It’s audience-friendly, there’ll be laughter and tears and all that good stuff."
For tickets call the Prairie Theatre Exchange box office at 204-942-5483 or visit shakespeareintheruins.com
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