2008 - Gift of the Magi
Photographer -

Doug Gallant

Saturday, January 26, 2019

12 Angry Women - Actor profile

Not-so-angry Juror #6

  Jennifer Shields has a long-and-strong connection with theatre, particularly with ACT.  There have been acting and singing roles, but most of her contribution has been off-stage — as producer, for instance, and on the Board of Directors.  And then there’s being married to the Director, Terry Pratt!  As she says, “I’ve lived with many a play, most recently with Terry’s Dr. Johnson solo show.  I’ve lent much of our household to furnish the stage — all kinds of props, our dining-room table, even my favourite arm chair.”

  Jennifer is now trying to ‘get into’ her Angry Woman role as Juror #6 who,  she thinks, is perhaps less angry than the others.  She imagines herself as a typical lower-middle-class housewife.  She wants a quick verdict, the trial done, so she can be home with her children, especially the one with mumps.  She’s inclined to be swayed by the crowd’s view.  But she does believe in fairness and doing her duty as a juror, and she’s appalled at the antics of some of her fellow jurors.

  Jennifer herself is a retired specialist teacher, who loves choral singing, painting and gardening, and is strongly involved in a number of social-action causes.  The themes of justice and other principles in 12 Angry Women — as well as the opportunity to be involved with Terry in a joint activity — prompted her to audition.

  She thinks audiences will be engaged by the passionate interplay among the jurors, and will be challenged by the portrayal of stereotypes from the 1950’s — which, as Jennifer observes, “are still alive and flourishing in some places today.”

Posted by RobAdmin on 01/26 at 04:51 PM
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Monday, January 21, 2019

12 Angry Women - Actor profiles

The first in a series of pieces to introduce the cast

Nancy MacNevin - Juror #11

  Nancy MacNevin saw the movie “12 Angry Men” on TV many years ago.  She was struck by the raw emotions, the back-and-forth of conflicting opinions, and the variety of characters as a reflection of a diverse society.  “That’s why I wanted to audition for 12 Angry Women,” she says.

  Nancy downplays her theatrical experience, but she is hardly a novice.  A high-school teacher in the Philippines got her to compete in the annual declamation contest.  She took first place with an emotional piece about a blind girl lamenting her family’s suffering under the Japanese occupation.  She won again next year, and twice more at university.  Then, cast in a play as an old maid, she was chosen Best Supporting Actress and given an Honorary Award in a Supporting role.  Fast forward to 2016 here on PEI: she got into ACT as the Chinese lady vendor and chorus singer in “Little Shop of Horrors”.

  Nancy’s home life includes TV drama (“to enrich my acting — accents, for instance”); the Bible (“for the inner me”); some knitting … “and the summer months are spent on the golf course.”
  Juror #11 stands out from the other members in being an immigrant.  She comes, it seems, from a repressive Asian regime, and so takes her juror’s role in a democratic justice system as a responsibility and an honour.  Nancy hopes that the audience will take a lesson from this play about being judgemental: that prejudice, generalization and narrow personal experience should not warp decision-making, especially in the judicial setting.

Posted by RobAdmin on 01/21 at 02:40 PM
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Friday, January 18, 2019

Community Theatre Festival

Looks like a fine line-up for March 30

  Preparations for the 2019 Community Theatre Festival have shifted into a higher gear.  At least a half-a-dozen groups have indicated their intent to participate, and we know that several are already rehearsing.

  Finalization of the line-up will come later, but as of mid-January it looks like we’ll have:
• More Mi’kmaq Legends
• A stand-up comedy revue
• A belly-laugh satiric skit
• A absurdist philosophical comedy
• Staged reading of a tale based on Homer’s Odyssey
• Mischievous improv
• An original comedy set atop the Tower of Babel

  And here’s one we’ve already previewed.  Students in Frances Squire’s class at Birchwood Intermediate School have themselves written and blocked a play about the pressures of teen life.  Kate Martin and Rob Thomson recently visited the school for a sort of workshopping of the piece, and gave some mentoring advice.  They found that even in its developing stages, it is quite dramatic.

  The short (½ hour or less) plays will run on the big stage of The Carrefour throughout the afternoon of Saturday, March 30th.
Information:  robthomson @ pei.sympatico.ca

Posted by RobAdmin on 01/18 at 04:02 PM
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Thursday, January 17, 2019

12 Angry Women (plus one not-so-angry)

The jury has been chosen …

  The dozen parts in 12 Angry Women have been cast.  Auditions were held at the very end of December.  Almost thirty strong actors came out, and Director Terry Pratt, along with Producer Richard Haines and Stage Manager Sharon MacDonald, found it very challenging to make the selections.  The choices had to be made not only on the basis of acting ability, but with a view to presenting a broad range of character types — appearances of age, socio-economic background and such.  Tough as the casting was, the result is impressive, and it promises a great show.
  Here is the line-up, the twelve women who will be locked in the pressure-cooker of a 1950s New York City jury room:
Foreman: Pamela Rowe
Juror #2: Justeann Hansen
Juror #3: Laura Stapleton
Juror #4: Barbara Rhodenhizer
Juror #5: Tamara Steele
Juror #6: Jennifer Shields
Juror #7: t b a
Juror #8: Catherine MacDonald
Juror #9: Kate Martin
Juror #10: Margaret Brady
Juror #11: Nancy MacNevin
Juror #12: Robyn MacDougald
  Oh … about that ‘not-so-angry one’:  that’s the court Guard, and she will be played by the versatile Stage Manager, Sharon MacDonald.
  Notice that the play doesn’t give these people names — only numbers.  Without a conventional name-tag, they must create their identities by developing their character through dialogue and pure acting prowess.
  ACT’s production of 12 Angry Women will be staged in late April/early May in Charlottetown, North Rustico, Summerside and Georgetown.
Information: follow ACT’s website or Facebook page, or get in touch with Publicist Rob Thomson (robthomson @ pei.sympatico.ca)

Posted by RobAdmin on 01/17 at 03:19 PM
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