From left to right: Chris Arthurs, Mitch Cote and Elliot Drew in a 2018 production of “The Complete Works of Shakespeare: Abridged.” (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

From left to right: Chris Arthurs, Mitch Cote and Elliot Drew in a 2018 production of “The Complete Works of Shakespeare: Abridged.” (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Port Alberni’s Portal Players return to stage with award-winning production

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) opens Nov. 19, 2021

The Port Alberni Portal Players are bringing back an award-winning production for their return to the stage.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) opens at the Capitol Theatre on Friday, Nov. 19. The fast-paced comedy features three guys, one dead playwright and 37 plays, all in under two hours.

Producer Megan Arthurs says the show made sense for a return to stage after the COVID-19 pandemic because of its small cast and crew.

“Coming through this pandemic, it’s been really difficult to bring people together,” said Arthurs. “We couldn’t do a huge production, so we looked at what we could pull together in a fairly short amount of time. This one has only three actors.”

The Portal Players last performed The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) in 2018 and won the runner up award for Best Production at the North Island Zone Festival. Actor Elliot Drew was named Best Male Lead Actor, while Mitch Cote received the Best Newcomer Award and Diena Tyne won an award for Best Lighting Design.

This year, the same cast and crew is back, with the exception of Arthurs as the new producer.

Arthurs said the Portal Players have been careful to follow COVID-19 restrictions, rehearsing only three times a week to avoid fatigue. For actors especially, an illness as simple as the common cold can derail the whole production. The show has already been postponed once out of an abundance of caution.

“It’s had us a little bit more on edge,” Arthurs admitted. “We’ve been doing our best to stay masked, even though it isn’t required.”

During the show, actors will perform unmasked, except when they are interacting with the audience. Off stage, the rest of the crew will be wearing masks.

As for the audience, masks will be required and a valid vaccine passport must be shown for entry.

Arthurs says the show isn’t necessarily for Shakespeare fans.

“If you’re a fan of really good comedy, you’ll enjoy it,” she said. “It’s ridiculous, it’s fun and it’s fast paced. It’s a good laugh for people who really need one right now.”

The show opens at the Capitol Theatre on Friday, Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 and are available at the door only. Other show dates are Friday and Saturday nights on Nov. 20, 26, 27 and Dec. 3, 4, 10 and 11.



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

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