Slings & Arrows - Season 2
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The complete second season of the TV series Slings & Arrows.
Its amazing what can happen in the theatre. Dramas unfold, epic stories and indelible characters are formed, battles are fought, lovers wooed and spurned, and every once in a while, a play is actually performed. And so Geoffrey Tennant (Paul Gross) is back as the Artistic Director of the New Burbage Theatre Festival for a second season of the backstage machinations and on stage drama that is Slings and Arrows. After a triumphant first season that revolved around the staging of Hamlet, season two uses Macbeth, one of Shakespeares most difficult and cursed plays, as the central device for this seasons plots lines. Things begin close to where they left off in season one. As the last performance of Hamlet winds up a mysterious old woman, in witch-like fashion, practically dares Geoffrey to undertake Macbeth, and her ominous tone makes it clear it wont be easy. The lead actor (Geraint Wyn Davies) engages Geoffrey in a titanic clash of egos, with the ghost of Oliver (Steven Ouimette) continuing to weigh in from beyond the grave. The rest of last seasons stellar cast returns including Rachel McAdams, leading woman Ellen (Martha Burns), and the excellent Mark McKinney as scheming/bumbling CEO Richard Smith-Jones. The return of guest director Darren Nichols (Don McKellar) to stage a post post-modern Romeo and Juliet provides many of this seasons best moments, and shows the hilarious side of what happens when artistic imagination and exuberance outpace artistic ability.
Slings and Arrows was conceived as a set of three seasons. Where Season 1 focused on disillusioned youth, Season 2 "tackles the conflicts of middle age and rebranding," said executive producer Niv Fichman. The success of the first season afforded the show a larger budget, and so the original cast returned and a bevy of strong newcomers (including Wyn Davies, Colm Feore, and Diane DAquila) along with enhanced production values, were added. The result is a season that builds upon the high standard set in the first one. The writing continues to be some of the best on television; the characters are intriguing without being precious, and the dialog continues to snap with the kind of wit that ordinary sit-coms painfully lack. You dont have to have been in the theatre to get drawn into this world, but if you happen to have been an actor or ever worked on the stage, these characters will be familiar some of them probably a little too familiar. Its good to see that a strong debut has led to an even stronger continuation. --Daniel VanciniSee all Editorial Reviews
- Cast interviews
- Deleted and extended scenes
- Photo gallery
- Lyrics to "Mackers" and "Call To The Understudy"
- Production notes
- Cast filmographies
- All six episodes from the 2005 season on two discs
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The entire season is about the financial and artistic travails of bringing three plays to the stage in an annual Shakespeare festival. That the characters arrive at this common goal seems as much by luck as by their efforts. The festival's artistic director may or may not be certifiably insane, the leading lady is never on time, and the guest lead actor has lost his edge. The financial director must not only grub for money, but he must find a way to attract a younger audience to the festival or the curtains will go down permanently. To say that at this point that "complications ensue" would be to trivialize the efforts of these characters, each of whom are shrewdly drawn and well-acted.
This is neither a melodrama nor an uproarious send-up of theatrical egos, but an engaging and lively examination of how plays are produced by real people. Best of all, this show sneaks in a master class on Macbeth without the tedium of having to wade through Elizabethan vocabulary. It's one of those rare shows that not only entertains but also edifies. I hope that doesn't make it sound like something you SHOULD watch because it's good for you. This is a smart show for people who enjoy nuanced entertainment.