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Shakespeare: A Most Rare Vision, or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bard

Shakespeare: A Most Rare Vision, or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bard

Posted: 2023-04-24 11:07:59 By: thebay


If you were anything like me, you weren’t a fan of Shakespeare during your high school years, and perhaps you feel the same way now, all these years later.  As an English major in University, I read as many Shakespeare plays as the average student did, but I never “got” Shakespeare until I heard his words spoken and performed well. I distinctly remember watching a performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” about 30 years ago, at a Shakespeare In The Park event in my home town of Buffalo, N.Y., and I finally heard what I had, for so long, been struggling to understand.

Enter Bill Colgate, a local actor, singer/songwriter who first came on my radar around 2013, when I heard one of his songs broadcast on Hunters Bay Radio. At the time, Bill was in a band called Cadre, and I really enjoyed his music and his song writing. My friend, the late James Carroll, told me that Bill was a fine actor as well, and on the basis of James’ recommendation, I went to see Bill in a local production of a play entitled “Billy Bishop Goes To War”. James was right, Bill’s talent was undeniable.

Bill and I have been in contact several times over the years, usually about music, but most recently, he wrote to me and asked if I might be able to help him find a local venue for a one-man show that he and his wife of 42 years, Joan Bendon, had developed. Entitled: “Shakespeare: A Most Rare Vision, or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bard”, the ambitious, 90-minute show covers 23 characters from 16 Shakespearean plays. On that basis alone, I am intrigued and eager to see the performance. I made it my mission to find a good local stage, not really knowing if there would be a willing audience for Shakespeare in the Almaguin Highlands. Colgate convinced me that this show was lighthearted and entertaining, and that it had the very real potential to convert a “Shakesphobe” into a “Shakesphile”. If anyone can pull that off, it’s Bill Colgate. Therefore, on April 30th at 2pm, and thanks to my friend Bill Stewart, we have arranged a Sunday matinee performance of this show at the ABOUT LIVE MUSIC venue in Burk’s Falls. The cost of admission will be “pay what you can”, with all proceeds going to the Burk’s Falls and District Food Bank. I am very much looking forward to seeing what Mr. Colgate has up his sleeves.

I love word craft, whether it be in the form of poetry, lyrics, or prose, and if someone can unlock the mystery of Shakespeare’s allure for me, then I’m open to the challenge. It should be a lot of fun, and not a big commitment by any stretch of the imagination. I hope we get a good turnout. If you plan to attend, please let Bill Colgate know via email at wtcolgate@gmail.com. Reservations are recommended because the venue seats only 70, so we hope it won’t be necessary to turn anyone away. It’s all for a good cause, I know the show will be entertaining, and Bill Stewart’s venue is excellent. Those are all good reasons to attend. We hope to see you there! As Shauna Leigh Taylor said: "It's William performing William at William's place!"

Written by Jamie Oppenheimer ©2023 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED