A festive spirit prevails in E-Town tonight: 2 festivals and a screwball comedy set to open

Robert Benz as Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor. Photo by Lucas Boutilier.

By Liz Nicholls, 12thnight.ca

“Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks!”

And then let up later, for heaven’s sake! It’s opening night this very evening for not one but two of Edmonton’s summer arts festivals. AND Teatro La Quindicina’s new screwball comedy.  

It’s comedy night at the 29th annual Freewill Shakespeare Festival which opens the first of its alternating pair of plays in Hawrelak Park: The Merry Wives of Windsor. The kooky comedy happens in a ‘70s disco production directed by Ashley Wright. (It’s rep partner is Marianne Copithorne’s production of the The Merchant of Venice, opening Friday). Merry Wives is on even dates, like tonight, plus all the matinees. Merchant is on odd dates. The full schedule (and tickets): freewillshakespeare.com

And the Found Festival — festivities that take art right out of theatres and into, well, the world — launches its sixth annual  weekend of spontaneous encounters with art in unexpected places tonight. By 5 p.m. you can be listening to local bands at Found headquarters, the Gazebo Park next to Walterdale Theatre in Old Strathcona (83 Ave. and 104th St.). Get yourself some tickets, study the map, have a beer, figure out your evening, and sally forth for discoveries. It’s a lineup full of resourceful experimenters of every artistic persuasion. The schedule is at commongroundarts.ca/found.

Andrew MacDonald-Smith and Rachel Bowron in Going, Going, Gone!, Teatro La Quindicina. Photo supplied.

And at the Varscona (10329 83 Ave.), it’s the Teatro La Quindicina premiere of  Jana O’Connor’s new screwball. Going, Going, Gone! only runs till Canada Day, at which time it will be Gone Gone Gone. It concerns the fortunes, both romantic and professional, of an antiques dealer (Andrew MacDonald-Smith), increasingly beleaguered in both departments. They escalate towards chaos. Tickets: teatroq.com

Also available for your viewing pleasure tonight, a Foote in the Door production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel at La Cité francophone. And Edmonton Musical Theatre’s 40th anniversary revue Don’t Stop Believing: 40 & Fabulous at the Westbury, in the ATB Financial Arts Barns. Tickets: TIX on the Square (780-420-1757, tixonthesquare.ca).   

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