Community Theatre Festival 2018 - Mi'kmaq Heritage Actors 2018

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

A Theatrical Smorgasbord

PEI Community Theatre Festival 2019

  PEI will mark the 58th celebration of World Theatre Day on the afternoon of Saturday, March 30th, at the Carrefour in Charlottetown.  It’s the annual Community Theatre Festival.  And it’s sure to be fun.
  Eight short plays (30 minutes or less) will run every three-quarters of an hour or so throughout the afternoon.  It’s a smorgasbord of provocative drama, legends-telling, adaptations from Homeric epic and the Tower of Babel, on-the-edge stand-up and improv, and plenty of belly-laugh comedy for all ages.
  PEI is full of theatre.  There are several dozen local drama groups, and literally hundreds of amateur actors and backstage workers who make plays happen.  It’s an important part of the fabric of the Island’s community life.  And the Community Theatre Festival is a great chance for participants to strut their stuff and get good feedback.
  This year performers will get that feedback from Adam Brazier, the highly respected Artistic Director of the Charlottetown Festival.
  It’s great for the audience, too.  People drop in for a particular play or two, or stay for the whole afternoon.  It’s good-fun entertainment ... and it’s a bargain: pay-what-you-will admission to help defray the costs.  There’s a social time with refreshments in-between performances.
  This year’s Festival has a fine array of participants.
• For ever-reliable belly-laugh humour, the Tracadie Players’ skit will pose what a person would do if they did “Rrrrrrrroll up the Rim” and actually won!
• The Mi’kmaq Heritage Actors will drum and dance through new tellings of colourful First-Nation legends handed down through the generations.
• The Malcolm Murray Group will present a comic-absurdist piece, “Chop Wood, Carry Water”, by the UPEI philosophy professor — with gripping highlights such as the moving of a wood-pile!
• The Side Hustle improv crew will offer a half-hour of spontaneously hilarious long-form drama.
• The Shamrock Players’ play is “Babel Rap”, in which two people working high up on the biblical Tower of Babel comically contemplate life, work and the hereafter.
• There’ll be stand-up comedy — original solo routines by humorists from Charlottetown ALL Comedy Open Mic.
• A band of Birchwood Intermediate students called 9-F Theatre Troupe have themselves written and developed a drama, “The Tipping Point”, which follows a teenager hounded by her anxiety as she goes through her school day to a gripping crisis.
• “Homeward” is a play by Louise Burley which is an imaginative set of episodes from the Homeric epic The Odyssey.  We’ll see a staged reading of scenes of the nymph Calypso and her captive lover Odysseus, with the goddess Athena looking on.
  A schedule of the plays in order, with roughly specific times, will later be available on ACT’s website and Facebook page.
  The annual Festival is backed by ACT (a community theatre) and sponsored by several community businesses which have a commitment to the arts — The Buzz, Bluefield Realty, and a well-known dental clinic — and support (for refreshments) also comes from Sobeys, Superstore and Foodland .  As well, the Watermark Theatre, Victoria Playhouse and Spotlight School of Arts have all donated tickets to be raffled.
  The Carrefour’s doors open at 12:30 on Saturday, March 30th; the plays begin at 1:00 and run till about 5:30.  There’ll be a 15-minute break between plays to provide for Adam Brazier’s adjudication and set-up of the next play ... and also to give the audience a chance to socialize, get raffle tickets and sample the refreshments.
For information: Rob Thomson - robthomson @ pei.sympatico.ca, 628-6778.

Posted by RobAdmin on 02/19 at 11:02 AM
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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Another ‘Angry Women’ Juror

Robyn MacDougald is Juror #12

  Anne of Green Gables she’s not … but she has been!  Robyn may be recognized by many of us: for half-a-dozen summers she was indeed Anne Shirley at Avonlea Village in Cavendish.

  She is a very different person in 12 Angry Women: her Juror #12, she says, is a materialistic woman who is driven by her work, even self-defined by it.  She has little time for anything else — let alone a murder trial — and wants everyone else to know that.  Quite unlike the real Robyn, she sees little value in human connection and friendships, and often comes across as sarcastic and snobbish.  Seeing herself as an analytical decision-maker, Juror #12 absolutely knows what the verdict should be.

  This is a very different role from a couple of the major roles Robyn has had previously in ACT productions: Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors (2016), and Magenta in The Rocky Horror Show (2009).

  In real life Robyn is a teacher … and in even realer life she is “a proud new momma to my gorgeous daughter, Freya.”  It was quite a decision to get involved in this play, and she feels appreciative toward her husband, in-laws, family and friends for their willingness to help with child-care so as to make it possible for her to take part.

  Robyn finds a current relevance in 12 Angry Women: it’s set in the 1950s, but she senses an assertive power in this diverse group of women which fits well in our era of #metoo.  “A not-to-be-missed theatre experience,” she says.

  That experience will start on April 26th-28th at The Carriage House in Charlottetown ... and will also be presented at the Watermark in North Rustico (May 2), Eptek Gallery in Summerside (May 4), and Kings Playhouse in Georgetown (May 10).

Posted by RobAdmin on 02/17 at 02:16 PM
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Friday, February 08, 2019

Wake in the West - Upcoming production in March!

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the Benevolent Irish Society (BIS) and ACT ! Attend an Irish play at the Edward Whelan Irish Cultural Center at 582 North River Road.

This year’s play, Wake in the West, written by Michael J. Ginnelly and directed by Paul Whelan, is set on the West Coast of Ireland in a country house on the outskirts of a small town. Tom Healy has recently passed on, and his unusual last requests have the entire neighbourhood up in arms! Come attend Tom’s wake and see what shenanigans occur. The Benevolent Irish Society is producing this play in partnership with ACT. Performances are March 7, 8, 9 and March 12, 13, 14 at 7:30 pm. A light lunch will be served. Tickets are 20$ ($17 for ACT and BIS members), and are available on-line at www.eventbrite.ca ( just search for Wake in the West).

The talented cast includes Gordon Cobb, Shelley Tamtom, Avalon Dennis, Mateo Blacquiere, Patrick Fitzgerald, Marti Hopson, Veronica Jendrick, Sam MacDonald, and Ian Byrne. Samantha Bruce is Stage Manager.

Posted by Marti Hopson on 02/08 at 10:54 PM
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Wake in the West - Upcoming production in March!

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the Benevolent Irish Society (BIS) and ACT ! Attend an Irish play at the Edward Whelan Irish Cultural Center at 582 North River Road.

This year’s play, Wake in the West, written by Michael J. Ginnelly and directed by Paul Whelan, is set on the West Coast of Ireland in a country house on the outskirts of a small town. Tom Healy has recently passed on, and his unusual last requests have the entire neighbourhood up in arms! Come attend Tom’s wake and see what shenanigans occur. The Benevolent Irish Society is producing this play in partnership with ACT. Performances are March 7, 8, 9 and March 12, 13, 14 at 7:30 pm. A light lunch will be served. Tickets are 20$ ($17 for ACT and BIS members), and are available on-line at www.eventbrite.ca ( just search for Wake in the West).

The talented cast includes Gordon Cobb, Shelley Tamtom, Avalon Dennis, Mateo Blacquiere, Patrick Fitzgerald, Marti Hopson, Veronica Jendrick, Sam MacDonald, and Ian Byrne. Samantha Bruce is Stage Manager.

Posted by Marti Hopson on 02/08 at 10:54 PM
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Wake in the West - Upcoming production in March!

image

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the Benevolent Irish Society (BIS) and ACT ! Attend an Irish play at the Edward Whelan Irish Cultural Center at 582 North River Road.

This year’s play, Wake in the West, written by Michael J. Ginnelly and directed by Paul Whelan, is set on the West Coast of Ireland in a country house on the outskirts of a small town. Tom Healy has recently passed on, and his unusual last requests have the entire neighbourhood up in arms! Come attend Tom’s wake and see what shenanigans occur. The Benevolent Irish Society is producing this play in partnership with ACT. Performances are March 7, 8, 9 and March 12, 13, 14 at 7:30 pm. A light lunch will be served. Tickets are 20$ ($17 for ACT and BIS members), and are available on-line at www.eventbrite.ca ( just search for Wake in the West).

The talented cast includes Gordon Cobb, Shelley Tamtom, Avalon Dennis, Mateo Blacquiere, Patrick Fitzgerald, Marti Hopson, Veronica Jendrick, Sam MacDonald, and Ian Byrne. Samantha Bruce is Stage Manager.

Posted by Marti Hopson on 02/08 at 10:54 PM
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Tuesday, February 05, 2019

A very angry woman

Laura Stapleton - Juror #3

  Laura Stapleton got her early theatre experience on another island — Cape Breton.  She saw her mother acting with, and wearing most other hats for, The Mira Players … and after a few years she joined the group herself.  Here on PEI — largely by way of a romantic connection!* — she got involved with ACT, and has been in such productions as Our Town and Little Shop of Horrors.
* Ah yes, the romantic connection: it’s her theatre-loving and ever-supportive husband Greg.  They (and their 3 dogs) live in Cornwall.

  It’s going to be fascinating to watch a really nice person (who Laura certainly is) fashion herself into the most negative, antagonistic character in this play, the angriest of the 12 angry women.  We get glimpses of how Juror #3’s life has embittered her, why she has determined that this is an “open and shut” case, and why she is so irritated by her fellow jurors and the world.

  “This play, and indeed this particular role, have captivated me,” Laura says, explaining that she was introduced to 12 Angry Men by her grade 10 English teacher.  “I hope that the audience will come away with an understanding of the harm that comes when we allow our personal and societal biases to overtake rational thinking.”

  A footnote … Juror #3 spends the entire play crocheting.  We wonder: will Laura have to learn how to wield a crochet needle?!

Posted by RobAdmin on 02/05 at 02:59 PM
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Sunday, February 03, 2019

Another ‘Angry Women’ Juror

Margaret Brady - Juror #10

  Consider two strands in Margaret’s ‘pedigree’ — one genealogical, and another one theatrical.

  She has strong Island roots: her father’s family is from the Morell area, and she spent many happy summer vacations here.  She moved to PEI two years ago, and lives in Murray Harbour — “a lovely place,” she feels, where she has cultivated new hobbies such as rug braiding and knitting.  She has been encouraging family and friends to visit and learn to love the Island as much as she does.

  Theatrically, Margaret has extensive experience, both on-stage and off, with a number of Ontario theatre groups — the Milton Players, Georgetown Little Theatre, Acton Old Town Hall Dinner Theatre, and Blackhorse Theatre.  Favourite roles have been Aunt Annie in Foxfire, Lottie in Enchanted April, and Ruth in Calendar Girls.  She got connected with ACT by working backstage for Rainbow Valley.  Bit again by the theatre bug, and excited by ACT’s choice of 12 Angry Women, she lined up an audition.  She is enthusiastic about acting ‘in-the-round’ at the four venues where the play will be performed.

  Margaret will be playing Juror #10.  “She’s not a very nice person,” Margaret admits, “but I love the challenge of conveying her anger and, frankly, her bigotry.”  What theme will she want the audience to take away?  “One need not follow the crowd.  We’ve all got to think for ourselves — sometimes outside the box.”

Posted by RobAdmin on 02/03 at 09:13 PM
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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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Monday, December 03, 2018

Reminder: Auditions for 12 Angry Women

Good opportunity for women actors

ACT (a community theatre) will stage 12 Angry Women in the round at four Island venues April 26–May 10.  Rehearsals will begin in mid-February.  The play is an adaptation for an all-female cast by Reginald Rose and Sherman Sergel of Rose’s famous 12 Angry Men, set in a grubby, hot jury-room in New York in the 1950’s.  Adult women of all ages are required.  Auditions are Dec. 29, 10am-1pm, 2-4pm; Dec. 30, 2-5pm, 6-8pm.   For  audition expectations and a 20-minute time-slot, contact the producer, Richard Haines (12angrywomenact @ gmail.com).  For production information or a special audition before the holidays, contact the director, Terry Pratt (675-3672; tpratt @ upei.ca).

Posted by RobAdmin on 12/03 at 08:30 PM
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Friday, November 23, 2018

AUDITION NOTICE

9 roles for “Wake in the West” - Auditions Dec. 1

  The Benevolent Irish Society in partnership with ACT (a community theatre) is producing an Irish comedy, Wake in the West, on March 7-9th and March 12-14th, 2019.
The play will be staged at the Irish Hall on North River Road.
Auditions will be held on Saturday, December 1st from 1-4 PM at the Irish Hall.
  Please contact director, Paul Whelan, for an audition spot at 902-218-2391 or whelanp2013@gmail.com
  The play is set on the West Coast of Ireland in a country house on the outskirts of a small town. The play is a comedy that revolves around the will of Tom Healy, which has some unusual requests.
List of Characters
1. Tom Healy- Dead man in bed
2. Dr. John- Local doctor
3. Mary- Daughter of dead man- early 40’s
4. Joan- Next door neighbor- early 20’s
5. Margaret- Near neighbor- in her 50’s
6. Rose- An old woman- in her 80’s
7. Martin- Dead man’s son- in his 20’s
8. Barney- Margaret’s husband- late 50’s
9. Fr. Cassidy- Local priest
The BIS is hoping to revive the tradition of producing Irish plays as part of St. Patrick’s Week activities

Posted by RobAdmin on 11/23 at 10:42 AM
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Sunday, November 11, 2018

PLAY READING

Informal inter-active read-through of 12 Angry Women

Monday, 19 November at 6:30 pm - at Piatto Pizzeria + Enoteca, 45 Queen Street in Charlottetown
Round-the-table reading of the play which will be staged by ACT (a community theatre) next spring.  It was a hugely popular film and stage production, and then was adapted from ‘Angry Men’ into ‘Angry Women’, which creates a fresh dynamic.  This is gripping jury-room drama about the ordinary people who must come to a life-or-death decision.  The reading is a good chance to get a preview and think about auditioning, but it’s of general interest and open to all who enjoy drama.
Information: Terry Pratt (675-3672; tpratt @ upei.ca)

Posted by RobAdmin on 11/11 at 03:17 PM
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Opportunity for Women Actors

Late-December Auditions for 12 Angry Women

  When was the last time you saw a play with a dozen women players? (… and we’re not talking about a chorus-line of leggy dancers).  Come spring we’ll be seeing ACT’s staging of 12 Angry Women — which will actually feature thirteen female roles.
  The play is an adaptation by Reginald Rose and Sherman Sergel of Rose’s famous 12 Angry Men, which was a hugely popular film and stage production.  It is gripping jury-room drama — set in a grubby and steamy courthouse in New York in the 1950’s — about the ordinary people who together must come to a life-or-death decision.
  This is a fine opportunity for women who, Director Terry Pratt regrets, have too often not been chosen after a fine audition, simply because so many pieces of classic theatre favour male roles.
  “What wonderful variety 12 Angry Women offers,” says Pratt.  There are three larger roles, five medium, and a few fairly undemanding ones — but all of the actors are on stage working their characters throughout the entire play.
  There is wide scope for different character types.  In fact the authors purposefully set the jury up to reflect the diversity of our society — in terms of age, ethnic background, socio-economic and educational class, political leanings and so on.  And while one can’t confidently generalize, this play seems suited to demonstrate that these women express anger, aggression, and disagreement differently, and often more subtly, than ‘12 angry men’ might do.
  The drama will play over the two weeks of April 26 to May 10 at four Island venues — in intimate spaces in Summerside, North Rustico, Charlottetown and Georgetown.  “This is ideal for theatre-in-the-round,” says Director Terry Pratt:  “The jurors sit and move around a central table, and so, surrounded by the audience, there is a cockpit or sports-arena effect that heightens the intensity of the drama.”
  Rehearsals begin in mid-February.  There will be three a week, but they are carefully planned so that typically most players will not have to be at every rehearsal until the late stages of preparation.
  Auditions are during the Christmas holiday week: December 29th from 10am to 1pm and 2 till 4pm; December 30th from 2 to 5pm and 6 till 8pm.  For audition expectations and a 20-minute time-slot, contact the producer, Richard Haines at 12angrywomenact @ gmail.com.  Arrangements can be made, if necessary, for special audition timing before the holidays.

Posted by RobAdmin on 11/11 at 03:15 PM
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