The Ennotville Summer Theatre’s fifth season continues with William Rowley’s The Birth of Merlin, which opened this week at the Ennotville library.
The Birth of Merlin is a Jacobean play, erroneously (or perhaps deliberately) attributed to William Shakespeare, although even a cursory examination of the text is enough to dispel the idea of his hand in the authorship.
It tells the story of Merlin’s birth as a fully-grown man, fathered by the Devil himself and brought into the world by one “Joan Go t’oot” a lovely but somewhat gullible lass with a clown for a brother.
How can the outrageous, far-flung story be given to an audience in an interesting, comprehensible manner, and how can a show with over 49 speaking roles (and countless extras) be sandwiched into the cozy confines of the Ennotville Library?
“Finding a simple, elegant solution to this challenge hasn’t been easy,” said Grinder’s creative and executive director Eric Goudie.
“But what we’ve finally come up with is something that’s both accessible and entertaining, and I think our audiences in Ennotville will love it.”
Rather than committing five acts of cumbersome verse to memory the verbal portion of the play will be presented as a dramatic reading with a few actors each playing several different characters.
To illustrate the action of the play, other younger actors, using simple costumes and props, will provide the visual component of the show.
The Birth of Merlin runs to July 18 at 8pm at the Ennotville library.
Tickets are $15 each, and are available by calling 519-780-7593 or online at grinderproductions.org.