Have we got a treat for you!

As many of you know, the Bard family is large and comprised of many people – one such member is Terence Strachan (pen name T.G. Barker), a night watchman at Bard and a very talented cartoonist.

Terence has been wokring at Bard since 2002 and since 2004, he has been creating a comic series entitled ‘Guard on the Beach’.

Over the next month, we’ll be posting Terence’s newest story, Measure For Leisure, based on Measure For Measure, which played on the Studio Stage this past summer. For a summary of the play to get you up to speed on the plot for the comic, click here.

Below is a little Q & A with Terence to get a little insight into GOTB.

You can follow Terence and the epic stories of Guard on the Beach on Twitter.

What was the impetus to start making the comics?

Initially, the idea for the comic came from the play on words—since we were security for ‘Bard’ on the Beach, naturally we were the ‘Guard’ on the Beach.  I thought, hey, that would make a great name for a funny comic loosely based on the trials and tribulations of security in an outdoor theatre setting. I figured that Bard’s company and crew might find some amusement in seeing the Bard reflected and interpreted from a different perspective than they usually experience. 

What are the stories you’ve told?

Most of the past comics were either single-frame sight gags or short strips. I’ve often tried to incorporate Shakespeare quotations into the dialogue and even flirted with writing the comic in rhyming iambic pentameter. In the past few years I’ve moved towards direct Shakespeare adaptations of such plays as Richard II (aka ‘Roy II’) and King John (aka ‘King Roy’). I’ve done smaller partial take-offs of Hamlet and Henry V, and of course this year’s Measure For Leisure.

Tell me a little about yourself – did you go to school for animation?

I’ve been creating comics since childhood. Garfield was a huge inspiration for me and I was also a big fan of Marvel Comics like Spider-man, G.I. Joe, Critical Mass, and other books in the super-hero genre. I count a Certificate in Animation among my many degrees and diplomas, which really helped me when I was a multi-media developer and Instructional Designer. Not content with the office life, I traded in the desk for a pair of gardening shears and steel-toed boots for my current career as a landscaper. Writing and drawing are still passions of mine and I try to do a little bit here and there when I’m not busy.

What inspires you?

Like all cartoonists, I draw from real life experiences. The very first Guard on the Beach comics (‘Return of Ralph’ and ‘The Bardish Open’, which featured a cameo by Bard’s Artistic Director Christopher Gaze) were based on Security’s experiences dealing with park animals and managing leisure time. 

The two main protagonists, Roy and Terence, are loosely based on the Bard’s stalwart Security Supervisor Roy Clarke and myself, respectively.  As the strip developed I realized the need to incorporate a host of recurring characters to accommodate the Shakespearian themes. Securedog, for instance, is obviously fictional, while Securebot is based in real life. However, we had to let him go recently as he was spending all his shifts drawing power from the main transformer rather than patrolling the grounds as he was programmed. 

What do you see as the future for GOTB?

2014 will mark the 10th anniversary of my creation of Guard on the Beach.  Future plans include more detailed adaptations and perhaps a full-length comic book.  Since there are nearly 40 Shakespearian plays, I’ve still got lots of opportunities for playful interpretations!