Bard in the Backcountry
About This Episode
From first read through to final performance, Bard in the Backcountry is a behind-the-scenes look at a summer of Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, chronicling a season with a cast of young actors as they journey more than 6,500 miles to perform Shakespeare in rural towns. As these actors travel every day to set up their stage, don their costumes and perform their roles, they learn about the discipline of a traveling company, the generosity of spirit needed to become part of a team, and the sheer magnitude of the terrain found across Montana.
The landscape itself is a primary force in the players' experience as they perform each night in a new location. The tour leads them into the lives of residents in these communities, some as small as 14 people. Many of the people encountered are loyal fans who have seen Shakespeare rendered every summer for 40 years. At the heart of the story is a sense of transformation for the players and for the residents of Montana whose lives have been touched by this beloved company.
The film reveals the mutual impact the traveling tour has on these young actors and the people who put in the effort to bring Shakespeare to town. The journey also provides a glimpse of the relevance that classic Shakespearean theater still holds for the townspeople across the region.