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’