Monday, March 29, 2010
World Theatre Day on PEI - What a Festival!
Saturday, March 27th—World Theatre Day ... and did PEI ever have a good celebration of it! At the Playhouse in Victoria-by-the-Sea, it was standing-room-only—literally. Well, almost literally: actually people had to sit on the floor in the aisles. Besides the 30 or so players and back-stagers, 175 people packed the cozy theatre. They had a fine time.
First the Bonshaw Young Players—a cast of sixteen youngsters including cats and a parrot!—presented “Heir Repair”, written and directed and narrated by 16-year-old Rachel Horrocks. It wasn’t just cute—it was good ... and the players were rewarded with a lot of audience chuckles and adjudicator praise.
With “The Worker” by Walter Wykes, Sheep for Wheat Productions startled the house. There was laughter at some of the delightful absurdities ... but dark-theme moments of man/woman relationship and corporate wickedness had people holding their breath. Ben Rayner and Rebecca Ford delivered superb acting.
Relief from that tension came with the belly-laughs the Harbourfront Theatre Company gave us with their half-hour segment of Norm Foster’s “Opening Night”. Imagine a sort of triptych spread across the stage: in the centre the wonderfully bad acting of a silly play; on one side the frustrated director and his carping wife; on the other side as audience, a would-be sophisticate and her bored paint-store-manager husband—the often double-entendre repartee hopped back-and-forth.
Between the mini-shows adjudicator Wade Lynch interacted with the actors and their directors, and even the audience, to give compliments and helpful observations. He presented an award to each group. At the second break the audience trouped out into the lobby for refreshments (highlight: decadent cinnamon rolls) served up by the Bonshaw Women’s Institute.
ACT (a community theatre) can feel very pleased and proud for having made this Festival night happen.
World Theatre Day has been celebrated in plays, workshops and happenings around the globe for 49 years now. A scan of the Web shows 2010 events in places like Vancouver, Ghana, Indonesia, New York, Mexico, Argentina, India, Mongolia ... and now, in Victoria-by-the-Sea, Prince Edward Island. This year’s official WTD message came from Dame Judi Dench; among other things she said this:
“Theatre has the ability to make us smile, to make us cry, but should also make us think and reflect. All it needs is a space and an audience.” We certainly had all those things in the 2010 PEI Community Theatre Festival.
To see photos, click on Gallery (top-right of this page) and choose ‘Productions ... Community Theatre Festival’
ACT Productions • Community Theatre Festival 2010 • Permalink
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Community Theatre Festival a Success!!
There was a wonderfully enthusistic, turn-away crowd in Victoria last night for PEI’s Community Theatre Festival and they weren’t disappointed. The three shows on the bill had something for everyone. Bravo. What a treat to see such a wide selection of ages participating in and/or attending the performances. Congatulations to everyone involved in the Festival, on stage and off. I am looking forward to next year!!!!
ACT Productions • Community Theatre Festival 2010 • Permalink
Saturday, March 06, 2010
PEI COMMUNITY THEATRE FESTIVAL
ACT is sponsoring the PEI Community Theatre Festival - on World Theatre Day, 2010
People around the world will be celebrating UNESCO’s World Theatre Day on March 27th, and here on the Island that Saturday evening is the occasion for the PEI Community Theatre Festival. The place is the Playhouse in Victoria, and the curtain goes up at 7:00 pm.
It’s an evening of short plays presented by some of the Island’s most dynamic amateur theatre groups. This is a showcase for true community theatre—a time when for-the-fun-of-it actors and back-stage production crew get to perform beyond their usual home audience, to rub shoulders and learn from one another and get constructive feedback.
Popular theatre-man Wade Lynch will be the adjudicator, providing observations and tips. The participants will have the opportunity to socialize and discuss their experiences. Each acting group will go home with a Community Theatre Festival award.
The Festival play-bill has comedy in common, but the participating groups and their stage-works are delightfully varied.
• Sheep for Wheat Productions has a ‘dark comedy’ with an absurdist touch—“The Worker” by Walter Wykes. A young woman fashions a pretend child to cope with her loneliness; her husband is furious, and perhaps with good reason—what does this mean for his life ... literally?! The show offers the bonuses of original music and a recreation of the painting which inspired the writing of the play. With their playful name from a card-trading board game, Sheep for Wheat is a fresh and enthusiastic group—known for their all-participant collaborative approach in bringing to life the provocative drama of the mid-20th century, such as Harold Pinter’s “The Dumb Waiter” and Eugene Ionesco’s “The Lesson”.
• The Bonshaw Young Players have been honing their skills in a fun way with Ruth Lacey for four years now—learning Improv, doing workshops with professional actors, writing, directing, and presenting their own material. Their ages range from 5 to 16; interestingly, half of them are home-schooled. Their play is “Heir Repair”, written and directed by one of their members, Rachel Horrocks. It entangles an elderly spinster in a series of hilarious misunderstandings.
• The Harbourfront Theatre Company offers a half-hour excerpt from a typical Norm Foster comedy, “Opening Night”. How do you celebrate the 25th anniversary of a now-stale marriage? ... by going to the theatre, of course! Here’s a play-within-a-play, and it’s a toss-up as to which one causes more laughter. Islanders know this troupe from their days as the Jubilee Players, which they became on their move from Kensington. They have almost two decades of comedy experience.
This is an evening of live, and lively, theatre. The public is welcome for the fun of the performances and for refreshments served up by the Bonshaw Women’s Institute. Admission (to somewhat defray the costs) is by donation.
The Community Theatre Festival—previously a successful project of Theatre PEI—is being mounted this year with the sponsorship and support of ACT (a community theatre).
The contact for further information is jshields932 @ gmail.com, 675-3672.