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The Two Gentlemen of Verona : by William Shakespeare (circa 1592 -3)

Synopsis by The Oxford Companion to English Literature

The two gentlemen of Verona are the friends Valentine and Proteus. Proteus in love with Julia, who returns his affection, Valentine leaves Verona for Milan ‘to see the wonders of the world abroad’, and there falls in love with Silvia, the duke of Milan’s daughter. Presently Proteus is sent also on his travels, and exchanges vows of constancy with Julia before starting. But arriving in Milan, Proteus is at once captivated by Silvia, and, betraying both his friend and former love, reveals to the duke the intention of Valentine to carry off Silvia. Valentine is banished and becomes a captain of outlaws and Proteus continues his courting of Silvia. Meanwhile Julia, pining for Proteus, comes to Milan dressed as a boy and takes service as Proteus’ page, unrecognised by him. Silvia, to escape marriage with Thurio, her father’s choice, leaves Milan to rejoin Valentine, is captured by outlaws and rescued from them by Proteus. Proteus is violently pressing his suit on Silvia when Valentine comes on the scene. Proteus is struck with remorse, and his contrition is such that Valentine is impelled to surrender Silvia to him, to the dismay of Proteus’ page, the disguised Julia. She swoons, and is then recognised by Proteus, and the discovery of her constancy wins back his love. The duke and Thurio arrive. Thurio shows cowardice in face of Valentine’s determined attitude, and the duke, approving Valentine’s spirit, accords him Silvia and pardons the outlaws. Launce, the clownish servant of Proteus, and his dog Crab, ‘the sourest-natured dog that lives’, provide much humour.

Here is a description of the 1985-86 season of the Goes Without Saying Theatre company (Théâtre Il Va Sans Dire) translated from their archives :

Julie Castonguay joins the company. The young students from the National School and the University of Ottawa are unloaded in Quebec : Roy Dupuis, Élise Guilbault, Fernand Rainville (who directed with François Dussault), Stéphanie Roy (who designed a cardboard floor that was to fall apart from the dress rehearsal!), Sylvie Dufour (future director of the TNO).

Quebecois adaptation of Shakespeare’s play by Dominic Champagne (guided by Michel Garneau). Music by cousin Pierre and a furious performance by the Thessalonika Jazz band, predecessors of the Happy Troubadours.

We saw the inevitable relocation of the company to Montreal. Existentialist crisis and dissension within the company. François Dussault takes his final bow. It’s the parting of the ways.

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