In As You Like It, Shakespeare wrote that “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” On Friday at the Suncor Energy Fluvarium in St. John’s, a group of brave legal professionals will answer the beloved Bard’s call during “Called to the Bard,” a dinner and performance in support of Perchance Theatre at Cupids.
This is the second year for the unique fundraiser, which fuses good-natured ribbing and rhetoric with theatre, food and fun costumes as local lawyers-turned-thespians perform their versions of famous Shakespearean monologues. There will be a dash of drama, a healthy dose of comedy and a pinch of cheek thrown in for good measure says Danielle Irvine, Artistic Director of Perchance Theatre (the province’s only professional classical theatre company).
Considering Shakespeare’s works are built on rhetoric and argument, Irvine adds with a laugh, lawyers are a great fit for the fundraiser.
“The feedback I’m getting from the lawyers is that it’s helping them strengthen their work, because rhetoric is not taught in law school anymore…so it’s kind of a win-win” she says.
“Lawyers aren’t necessarily actors, although some do have that background. It’s stepping outside their comfort zone to do something fun and at the same time, for a good cause.”
The participants, or “bardisters,” come from a variety of legal backgrounds. This years bardisters include Daniel Boone Q.C., Rhona Buchan, Ches Crosbie Q.C., Kevin O’Shea, Chris Pike, Karen Rehner and others. The Bard himself will also be making an appearance, and the evening will be presided over by the Queen of Torts, Sheilagh Guy-Murphy.
The event helps put the fun back in fundraiser, Irvine says.
“Over the course of the meal…people can send insults to other lawyers in the room, and the Bard will go up and deliver these Shakespearean insults to them in full Shakespearean flair,” she adds.
“We did that last year and it got a laugh…it’s all good fun.”
In addition to giving participants the chance to let their hair down and unwind, the event has also allowed them to become better aquatinted with their peers in a more casual and relaxed setting.
“Everybody had a good time (last year) and we all see each other in different lights…people have said they’ve gotten to know each other differently because of it, which I think is really great,” Irvine says.
While all of the participating lawyers are from the St. John’s area, Irvine plans to reach out to those in other areas as well for future fundraisers. She hopes the event will gain momentum and grow over time.
“We’re a young company, and we’re trying to build our audience and our community and find people who believe in the work we do. And we’ve met some really great supporters.”
To purchase a ticket to Called to the Bard, click here. You can also email Danielle at email@example.com for information on tickets or how to join next year’s production.
To find out more about Perchance Theatre’s public speaking workshop, click here.