Adaptor 1 Company of Fools,
Date of First Production July 2nd - August 18th 2012
Title Henry V
Director Geoff McBride
Place of First Production Strathcona Park, Ottawa, ON
Production Company A Company of Fools
Technical Design/Direction
Production Manager: Scott Florence
Stage Manager: Erin Finn
Assistant Stage Manager: Maggie Matian
Costume Design: Judy De Boer
Props Design and Build: Jessica Preece
Trunk Design and Build: John Doucet
Choreography: Craig Shackleton
Margo MacDonald
Simon Bradshaw
Kelly Rigole
Katie Ryerson
Virginia West
Year Play Written 2012
Adaptor 1 Biography
"Historians the world over gnash their teeth and sob into their pocket protectors when faced with the task of presenting a complete history of a Company of Fools. Nonetheless we believe another attempt is in order. Hang on, here we go!
"Margo MacDonald and Heather Jopling, two graduates of the University of Ottawa, found a Company of Fools in 1990. The company begins as a street theatre company with almost a dozen young performers. Audiences love their quirky brand of high energy Shakespeare and return time after time.
"In 1991, the Fools perform at the Kingston Busker's Festival, the Montreal Street Festival and the first annual Ottawa International Busker's Festival. The Fools also create Everything That Shakespeare Ever Wrote, their first indoor show. It premieres at the University of Ottawa's Studio Leonard Beaulne and then tours to Huntingdon, Quebec, to be part of the Renaissance Project. On their return the Fools perform The Shakespearean Conspiracy, their second indoor show, under the tent at the first Ottawa Shakespeare Festival.
"Shakespeare's Interactive Circus premieres at the second Ottawa Shakespeare Festival in 1992. The show is an immense success and the Fools remount it under various guises for the next few years. Highlights include a tour of the Fringe Festivals in 1995, and two consecutive box office records at the Great Canadian Theatre Company's Night Howl series. By the time the show is laid to rest in 1997, Shakespeare's Interactive Circus is seen by over 4000 people in over 12 cities in a variety of different venues, including theatres, shopping malls, high schools, roof tops, parks, and an old barn.
"The Comedy of Errors, directed by Michael Brunet, the Fools newly named artistic director, premieres at the University of Ottawa's Academic Hall in 1994. It is the company's first "full length" play. Six actors portray 17 characters (including two sets of twins) using commedia masks and giant puppets. The show is remounted in 1995 at the Great Canadian Theatre Company.
"In 1996 the Fools present Romeo and Juliet: the Comedy; in which 6 red nose clowns perform Shakespeare's classic tragedy. Using Shakespeare's text, circus and theatrical clowning, slapstick, crazy props and a Woody doll. The show premieres at Academic Hall and is a box office success. It then tours to the Vaughn City Playhouse.
"The first annual Ottawa Fringe Festival opens in 1997, and the Fools present Everything Shakespeare Ever Wrote. (Not to be confused with a show of similar title from earlier in their history.) The story, told using an excerpt from each of Shakespeare's 38 plays, has young William Shakespeare trapped in an 'Alice in Wonderland' world where he is relentlessly pursued by the very characters he will eventually create. The show is a great success and sets the box office record for that year at the Fringe. Later that year the Fools invite John Koensgen to be their first guest director. He directs the Fools in As You Like It. Set in the roaring 20s this cross dressing romantic comedy delights audiences. Margo MacDonald becomes interim Artistic Director at the end of the project when Mike Brunet relocates to Montreal.
"The Fools premiere All I Really Need To Know About Life I Learned From Shakespeare in 1998 at the Night Howl series before embarking on tour that takes them to universities and the Quai de Vin Estate Winery. The show blends Shakespeare, the trend for "Chicken Soup" books and Xena - Warrior Princess into a show that keeps audiences howling. At the second Ottawa Fringe Festival, the Fools perform Shakespeare Does the Seven Deadly Sins, a good hard, humorous look at everything wicked in the world. 1998 also sees the Fools incorporating as a not-for-profit company and a registered charity. Scott Florence, member of the Fools since 1991, is appointed Artistic Director.
"The Fools create and perform Foolius Caesar, a one hour version of Shakespeare's classic Roman tale, at the Night Howl series. The first annual Twelfth Night Celebration fundraiser is held at the Royal Oak. Actors and directors from Ottawa all participate in a full length reading of Shakespeare's Christmas Comedy. Some of the amazing talent assembled includes Marti Maraden, artistic director of English theatre at the NAC, and Micheline Chevrier, artistic director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. During the spring of 1999 the Fools remount Everything Shakespeare Ever Wrote at the Great Canadian Theatre Company. The show is a box office smash. During the summer of 1999, the Fools return to their roots and perform in the great outdoors. In a co-production with Coutnernotes Theatre, an Ottawa based clown company, the Fools perform Nonsense in the Grove, at Strathcona Park, under the stars.
"The new millennium brings a flurry of activity from the Fools. The second annual Twelfth Night Celebration is a huge success, featuring a reduced version of the Bard's play called What You Will, or Toby's Tall Tale Told On Twelfth Night. Later that spring Shakespeare's Dead, the newest sequel in the Interactive Circus saga, premieres at the Ottawa Fringe Festival before touring in Ontario and Quebec. During the summer the Fools mount The Merchant of Venus, a collection of scenes about love and lust, in Strathcona Park before embarking on a fall production entitled Double Bill: Shakespeare's Dead & Foolius Caesar.
"The Fools are fortunate enough to be the first to perform at The National Arts Centre's new performance space, The Fourth Stage, on January 5th, 2001. As the Fourth Stage is dedicated to performing groups from the Ottawa-Carleton region, the Fools invite all their performing friends to join us in our annual Twelfth Night Celebration. The event is such a success that the Fools are prompted to create an annual event that brings together different theatre companies in an orgy of creation... thus is born the first annual Ottawa Theatre Challenge. On the April Fool's weekend (a fitting date) twelve theatre companies from the Ottawa-Carleton region are given a prop, a newspaper headline, a line of dialogue from Shakespeare, and 48 hours in which to create a brand new piece of theatre. The event is judged by 3 local playwrights, and the winner is awarded bragging rights and the Rubber Chicken Award. Counternotes theatre are declared the first winners of this totally nonsensical evening, which raised $1200 for charity.
"The Fools remount Shakespeare's Dead on the children's stage of the Tulip Festival in the spring. The Danish Play premiers at the 2001 Ottawa Fringe Festival and is named "Outstanding Production" by the Ottawa Fringe Festival. The play follows the fortunes of a troupe of clowns who attempt to perform Shakespeare's cursed play... Hamlet. For the third summer in a row, the Fools return to Strathcona Park... and beyond. The Fools tour through several green spaces in the Ottawa-Carleton region, going as far as Pihney's Point and the Carp Garlic Festival with a collection of scenes, songs and sonnets called Shakespeare Under the Stars. In September of 2001, the Fools bring Shakespeare's Interactive Circus to the Halifax Fringe Festival, where it is a critical success" (7 Mar. 2002. qtd. from
Adaptor 1 Bibliography
*"History." A Company of Fools. 7 Mar. 2002.
Synopsis Henry the Fifth is a Boy meets Girl story with a slight twist. Part ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and part ‘Before Sunrise’ this tale of patriotism and romance finds the boy, struggling under the heavy mantle of recent ascension to the throne. Excited to try his leadership skills he sets out to invade the girl’s country, based on a dubious claim to the throne. He lays siege to a key logistical port, marches inland and against the odds manages to defeat a much larger force by deploying new military strategies and then he meets girl.

Presented by the graduating class of the Wm. Golding Academy Shakespeare’s King Henry the Fifth a reflection on what it means to be a monarch. This is an overreaching and unflinching production that tackles all the tough questions: Why do we fight wars?

What qualities make a good leader? Can this cockpit hold the vasty fields of France? And what are we going to do with all of these tennis balls?
Keywords Children Early 21st Century Musical Pop Culture Interactive
Adaptation of Henry V
Entry Last Updated 31Jul12 10:22AM


Copyright © 2004 Fischlin, Daniel. Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare Project. University of Guelph. All Rights Reserved