When the Chimera Theatre Society was asked to create a special production for Sun Peaks resort’s summer season, Andrew Cooper knew he wanted to bring something special to the mountain community.
“I thought, if I were at a resort and on vacation, what would I want to see?” said the author of the troupe’s latest production, Knights of the Sun. “And the answer for me was sword fighting.”
Billing itself as Medieval Tournament Theatre, Knights of the Sun is sure to scratch that particular itch. All told, the two-hour show features six full sword fights — the centrepiece of the tournament that will run almost every weekend until Aug. 28.
The show, co-created by Cooper and Taylor McCallum and loosely based on the Hundred Years’ War between France and Britain, tells the story of two knights, both hoping to be crowned the Champion of the Sun at a summer tournament. Along the way, they’ll encounter all the trappings of a medieval day out, from royals and romances to courtly intrigues.
To kick off the evening, audience members meet at the Tourism Sun Peaks office before heading off with the cast to the tournament grounds to take in the kind of entertainment that would have surrounded a tournament, from puppet shows and song to arm wrestling and fortune telling.
Once the plot is in motion and the stakes are set, the tournament begins. Cooper said setting up the show’s climactic battles was one of the production’s greatest challenges.
“Real sword fighting doesn’t look anything like it does in the movies or even in theatre,” he said. “Real sword fighting is quick and effective — you’re trying to be a killing machine — and movie sword fights are sometimes over-the-top spectacle.
“We tried to find a middle ground. We wanted people to think that it’s being realistic, but also have it be exciting.”
Knights of the Sun runs Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays starting tonight through Aug. 28, excluding the weekends of July 8 and Aug. 12 and 19, when the resort holds its summer concert series. On Fridays and Saturdays, the shows run at 6 p.m., while Sundays tournaments begin at 11 a.m. For ticket information, visitsunpeaksresort.com or call Tourism Sun Peaks at 250-578-5542 or 1-800-807-3257.