When shall we three meet again?
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
These are the opening words of Macbeth, spoken by a witch. The idea strikes terror in the heart of a producer of an outdoor performance.
Performance nights are September 6-8 and 13-15, and it is hurricane season on the eastern seaboard. While few hurricanes have hit Prince Edward Island directly, Juan, the most severe in decades, touched down on September 29, 2003. Irene sent a day of heavy rain followed by a day of high winds to the Maritimes on August 28 and 29 last year; I know, I was driving my motorcycle through it!
We have made allowances for thunder, lightning or a hurricane. We have scheduled two “storm dates” on the Sundays, September 9 and 16. Should a show be cancelled, there will be posts on this blog and announcements on local radio stations. In case of light rain, wear rain gear and waterproof shoes. We will not be cancelling a show for rain alone. But pity the poor costume crew who will be drying and cleaning costumes before the next show!
In the next scene, two witches offer winds to the other, to lay a curse upon a sailor, but the first witch replies: “I myself have all the other, And the very ports they blow, All the quarters that they know….Though his bark cannot be lost, Yet it shall be tempest-tost.”
Wind is a fact of life on PEI, so there will be no cancellations for wind alone. The actors are already aware that they have to use their “outdoor voices” for this show and speak over inattentive audience members (surely not!), traffic noise (this is an urban park), or the wind. The director has also ensured that characters will be heard, by casting Docents who will lead the audience to positions where they will be best able to see the action and hear the play.
How has the weather been to us so far? Only one rehearsal has been rained out: our first, the walk through, on June 9, which was supposed to be an aid to set, costume and props teams – not to mention the actors – of what to expect in staging this outdoor show. Since then, to the consternation of farmers and the joy of tourists and beach goers – PEI has had a drought. So every rehearsal has been on-site in Cotton Park. We have back-up locations reserved in case we have to move indoors, but so far have only used them that one time. Please do not invoke the Island curse, by saying, “we’re going to pay for this.”
“It will be rain to-night,” is Banquo’s last line, before he is assaulted and (plot spoiler…) murdered. It is not one of Shakespeare’s more memorable lines, but surely often quoted.
Just not on show nights, please.
Thanks to Shannon and Richard for suggesting quotes.
Written by Bunty, the producer.