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A new twist on The Bard

If your idea of watching Shakespeare involves seeing actors in tights and pleated collars, then the latest BMDS production of “All’s Well That Ends Well” will come as a theatrical treat.

The production, directed by Barbara Jones, features a diverse cast, ranging in age from 18 to 66 — and includes a few stage newcomers, as well as some more seasoned actors.

The performance will take place at the Daylesford Theatre, located at the corner of Washington and Dundonald Street, starting next week Friday and Saturday, as well as from July 23 to 27.

Included in the cast are young actresses, Arielle DeSilva, 20, and Claudia Hall, 21, both new to Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society (BMDS) scene.

Both ladies have found Ms Jones’ version of the play to be more “appealing and accessible” to a modern audience.

The director decided to keep the elegance of Shakespeare’s language, as well as his typical tricky plots and humour, but has made it shorter and offered some additional surprises to make for a fun and entertaining summer show.

In addition to loud and colourful costumes, Ms Jones also features a lot of props to help viewers better understand what’s going on, Ms Hall said.

“She also keeps it fresh by not setting it in any particular time period,” Ms DeSilva explained. “I think that is good for the audience because people that are my age can understand it and people that are older can also enjoy it.

“There’s no target audience, so it will suit everyone. There are jokes for kids and funny innuendos for the older crowd.”

Ms Hall held a key role in a Warwick Academy production of Macbeth in 2009, but said this upcoming play would be her first performance since graduating from high school.

She is currently studying business at the University of the West of England; and maintains that creativity runs in her family. Her older sister, Liana Hall, is also an actress.

For Ms DeSilva, who will play the lead role of Helena, the play provided her a chance to continue honing her acting chops while on break from university.

The University of Kent student said she plans to return to Bermuda after her studies and find work as an English and Drama teacher.

‘All’s Well that Ends Well’ tells the tale of Helena, the orphaned daughter of a doctor, who develops a secret love for Bertram, the Count of Rossillion, played by Matthew Wedlich.

After helping the king, Helena is given her choice of bachelors in the court, and naturally picks Bertram. Unfortunately he is offended by the thought and considers her unworthy of his love; he even slips off to war to avoid her.

He later sends word to Helena that she cannot call him her husband until she gets a ring from him and can bear him a child.

So she devises a plan to trick him into sleeping with her, by trading places with the object of Bertram’s affections, Diana (played by Ms Hall), while in the dark.

Ms DeSilva said her character’s personality is a little different than in the original play. Instead of being the “tragic heroine”, she is portrayed as a snob who wants her own way and only wants Bertram as her husband because she can’t have him. “It adds to the comedic aspect as well,” she told

The Royal Gazette.

Ms Hall said it will be a “feel-good play” and encouraged people to come out and be entertained.

“We want audiences to have a good time and some laughs. It will be light hearted, so not too serious,” she added.

Both young actresses said their biggest challenge was leaving being a more dramatic style of acting and adapting to the comedic role.

But there are also rewarding aspects for the newcomers. For Ms Hall getting back on stage after a lengthy hiatus has been exciting, while Ms DeSilva said her favourite part of the process has been seeing all the talent that exists in her “own backyard”.

“Everyone feels they have to go away and make it big,” she said. “And I agree going away to school has made me a better actress, but there are so many opportunities right here on the Island.

“It’s refreshing to know when I come back here there are shows and opportunities to get involved with theatre and they are shows that are being done well.”

Tickets, $25, are available at the BMDS box office during opening hours or online at www.bmds.bm.

Arielle DeSilva and Claudia Hall will be performing in the upcoming BMDS production of Shakespeare’s “All’s Well That Ends Well”. (Photo by Akil Simmons)

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Published July 12, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated July 11, 2013 at 8:19 pm)

A new twist on The Bard

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