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Saturday, April 20, 2024
Shaw column: Man and Superman a superb experience


Correction: The original version of this guest column referred to Kimberley Rampersad as the interim artistic director of the Shaw Festival. She is the intern artistic director.


Since introducing myself in an article a few weeks ago, I have truly enjoyed speaking with many interested readers regarding the Shaw Festival. One of the most popular questions I hear is, ‘What is Man and Superman about?’

It is billed as a comedy and a philosophy. Following our hero, John Tanner, whom I consider an avatar of Shaw himself, we engage with the world. For fear of leaving out a theme the play tackles, I will not attempt to list them. But like Shaw’s approach to life, the play is critical, rigorous, humorous and stimulating.

Man and Superman by Bernard Shaw, is the final play to open on the Festival Stage this season – starting on Aug. 24 with only 17 performances.

It is an opera of a play, being performed in its entirety from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.. You read correctly – six hours of some of the most delicious word-music ever composed, being lifted off the page and onto the stage. Never fear, there is an intermission between Acts I and II, and III and IV, and a lunch interval between Acts II and III.

I invite you to join us. In a time when we can commit to luxurious rounds of golf, evenings of binge-watching terrific programming, and following our favourite teams through the playoffs and beyond, participating in this is not beyond any of us in either endurance or fortitude.

 In fact, I delight in knowing the audience will be preparing in a similar way to the actors and theatre makers presenting the play.

You will consider the play days in advance of attending. You will ensure you get a good night’s sleep and eat the kind of breakfast your Olympian avatar would eat on performance day. And with everyone gathered in the theatre, you will collectively participate in this most Herculean adventure together.

Consider spending the morning and afternoon with us, downloading something extraordinary into your most precious device – you.

Kimberley Rampersad is the intern artistic director at the Shaw Festival.

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