A Shakespearean Love Story Mashup from Company of Fools and Ottawa Public Library

Now that sitting in a packed theatre is off the table for the foreseeable future, and Stittsville has missed their live summer plays in the park, a Company of Fools has connected with Ottawa Public Library (OPL) to bring Love from Afar, a unique and original Shakespearian mashup, to your home and screen.

The local actors from a Company of Fools are among many local artists who have adapted their work to the needs of day to do things differently and express their creativity in a whole new way. The Company created a uniquely captivating video that will satisfy your craving for culture and entertainment. 

If you love Shakespeare, you will surely appreciate this remarkable mashup, Love from Afar, which was born out of an altruistic initiative to bring the comedy and drama of some of Shakespeare’s greatest love stories to the windows of residents of eight senior care facilities throughout Ottawa during the month of September. Hot on the heels of these rousing live performances, OPL jumped in as partner to take the creative story- telling to a wider audience and support the recorded play’s transformation into a animated comic! 

This completely original Shakespearian mashup by Ottawa theatre powerhouses Nicholas Leno and Sarah Finn blends six of the Bard’s classic scenes with comedic interludes that all explore what it means to be in love, the different types of relationships where love can grow, and how love can overcome the hurdles of these socially distant times. 

Enjoy the great love story from the comfort of wherever you are, delightfully performed by actors Geoff McBride, Mitchel Rose and Maryse Fernandes. The actors will adopt six famous roles each as they bring life to the love stories of in Romeo and JulietAs You Like ItMuch Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, King Lear and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Directed by co-writer Nicholas Leno, with costumes and masks designed by aesthetic wiz Hannah Ferguson, set design by Franco Pang, and an original musical score provided by musical superstar Alli Harris (recently received two Prix Rideau Awards for Emerging Artist and Best New Work for High School High), you will be amazed by the talent of Ottawa illustrator and comic artist, Sara Mizannojehdehi. This production channels an incredible soundscape combined with some of the most expressive actors in Ottawa to provide an utterly unique experience in these utterly unique times. 

Cozy up in front of your screen in the next three weeks to enjoy this limited- time presentation available only through the Ottawa Public Library website and YouTube channel:   

  • Watch the digitized animated comic on our YouTube channel. The 45‑minute video will be available for a limited time, from October 6 to Thursday, October 29
  • Attend a live Q&A session with the writers and actors of A Company of Fools on Wednesday, October 14 at 2:00 p.m. Shakespeare lovers and high school students are invited to register to receive a Zoom link, or to tune in live on either YouTube Live or Facebook Live. Enter your questions in advance with a form or live. Be sure to watch the digitized animated comic first.    

In addition to these activities, OPL is providing teachers with an original study guide produced by A Company of Fools with more information about the theme of the play as well as an analysis of some of the six Shakespeare excerpts used. 

You can also read the original versions of Shakespeare’s plays used in the mashup by browsing OPL’s collection. 

For more information on this program, visit BiblioOttawaLibrary.ca.ca


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