Hot Goblin Summer: Bard on the Beach’s Macbeth Gets Weird in Vancouver

Three witches weren’t enough: this summer, Shakespeare’s famous play-that-must-not-be-named is bringing goblins to the Vancouver stage.

Shakespeare with a twist is a tradition at Bard on the Beach. Case in point: this season includes Julius Caesar thrust into 2023 (do you think Brutus would go viral on TikTok?) and a jukebox musical version of As You Like It set to the sweet tunes of The Beatles. But even for the boundary-pushing Bard, this year’s production of Macbeth is twisted.

Stage manager Lili Beaudoin puts it best: “The goblins are goblinizing it.” The Calgary-born Goblin: Macbeth (created by Spontaneous Theatre Company) tells the story of three mischievous, wrinkly creatures who discover a copy of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Predictably, they decide to put on a play—but in a wildly unpredictable fashion.

Lili Beaudoin plays the stage manager in Bard on the Beach’s upcoming goblinified Macbeth.

“The goblins add a really fun element of misbehaviour,” says Beaudoin. The Vancouver-based actor and improvisor is both stage managing the actual production and playing the stage manager of the goblin’s play-within-a-play, so her role is marked with both behind-the-scenes responsibility and improvised mischief.

Photo: Terry Manzo Image Design: Emily Cooper

The goblins themselves wear striking, Hollywood-grade masks—“They are so realistic, it’s very freaky: I can’t take my eyes off of them,” says Beaudoin. It’s a sinister look that audiences will experience up close as the goblins mingle around in the lobby pre-show. The creepy (but endearing) creatures make their own creative edits to the text, resulting in a delightfully unique experience for viewers. “I don’t think it’s going to be like anything they’ve ever seen,” says Beaudoin.

Goblin: Macbeth
Dates: August 19 to September 17
Venue: Bard on the Beach’s Howard Family Stage
Cost: From $30

This story was originally published in the July/August 2023 print issue of Vancouver Magazinefind the digital issue here.