Action & Shakespeare Week 4

Professional Shakespeare Company

Common Sense Rating 16+
Language, Drinking, Comic sexual situations.

SLINGS and ARROWS, a witty, sophisticated Canadian ensemble comedy, stars Geoffrey Tennant (Paul Gross) as a gifted but somewhat emotionally imbalanced stage actor who proudly holds on to his belief in the artistry of the theater and refuses to sell out to corporate sponsors.

This brilliant and comedic series is modeled after a Shakespearean play, mixing irony and drama while weaving multiple storylines together -- each of the show's seasons is divided into six episodes or "acts," and its title is taken from Act I, Scene 3 of Hamlet in the middle of his "To be or not to be" speech.


To be, or not to be, that is the Question:

Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer

The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,

Or to take Armes against a Sea of troubles,

And by opposing end them:


This makes Slings and Arrows an intelligent combination of irony and art that celebrates a love for the theater while simultaneously poking fun at those who are a part of that culture.  This is something all of you are going to encounter as you enter this brave, new world.  This show gives you an excellent sense of the chaos of creation and the tension that exists between art and commerce.  


In between the humor are moments that demonstrate the true beauty of Shakespeare and the talent that goes into performing his works. 

While grounded in comedy and satire, Slings & Arrows is also a clever vehicle for cultural commentary and broad critique of theatre culture, arts funding, and national identity.


When former friend/washed-out actor Oliver Welles (Stephen Ouimette) -- creative director for the declining New Burbage Festival of Shakespearean Theatre -- is killed, Geoffrey agrees to take over his position in hopes of reviving it.


Once he's there, Geoffrey finds himself confronting former girlfriend/aging festival diva Ellen Fanshaw (Martha Burns), dueling with eccentric director/former college nemesis Darren Nichols (Don McKellar), and fighting the corporate pressures presented by festival general manager Curtis Smith-Jones (Mark McKinney).


Geoffrey's life is further complicated when Oliver begins to visit him from the grave, serving as his artistic conscience. The lives of the festival's actors, which include young ingénue Kate McNab (Rachel McAdams), action-movie-hunk-turned-stage-actor Jack Crew (Luke Kirby), and no-talent hacks like Claire Donner (Sabrina Grdevich), are interwoven with the behind-the-scenes drama that unfolds as the group attempts to bring Shakespeare to life in a way that's both inspiring and financially successful.

Slings and Arrows

Season 1, Episode 1

ASSIGNMENT:  Watch Episode One of Slings and Arrows

and then answer the feedback questions below.