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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Last Week's Theatre Re-cap - Much Ado about Dracula on an Ordinary Day!

Last week I managed to take in three shows!  That's with rehearsing and having to go to Red Deer for an APN Board Retreat!  I feel like a rock star for getting to three shows!  So, I am also very tired...

Anyhow, I took in Opening Night of Dracula at Walterdale.  I am not a big horror fan, so it's not the kind of piece I expect to connect with, but I did appreciate the gusto and expertise with which everything was attacked.  Everything looked and sounded perfect so I am sure for those Vampire Aficionados it hit the spot.  The tech/designer in me was fairly blown away by the detail in all the designs.  From the pitch perfect costumes to the Special FX and props, to the sound, to the make-up and the blood, oh the blood - you could see that hours upon hours were put into the show.  The set design was elegant and supported by a fabulous lighting design so that the multiple locations were clear and functional.  Well done! It's selling terrifically well so I would advise getting tickets early to avoid disappointment.

I spent the week rehearsing for Proof and then was off to my APN Board Retreat on Saturday in Red Deer.  It was a great day and I think we really got a lot of work done towards directing the organization into the future.  It was also really great to meet in person with the board as we primarily have phone meetings and it is so good to actually see who you are talking to.

And then I drove home quickly (but not too quickly) and did so well that I managed to make it back into town early enough to catch Three Form Theatre's Ordinary Days.  I was very excited to be able to catch this as I had intended to see it the night before but an hitherto unplanned volleyball game for my 12 year old pre-empted my going.  I am glad Red Deer was not farther away and the roads were clear.  The show was delightful.  It's a song cycle, but unlike many of those, the songs were clear and told a story with real characters.  I was unfamiliar with it, but I liked the music - it wasn't easy but the four singer/actors (played by Adrianne Salmon, Kristin Johnston, Mark Sinongco, and Brian McDougall) handled it well and they were all very strong singers.  It was simply staged and they all made us care about each of the characters  and I even teared up a little bit. I'm excited to see what this little company does next.  I think they are smart in the choices they are making.  Small cast shows that they can stage simply and really do a good job of.

The next day, Sunday, I was back to rehearsing for Proof and then rushed off to the U of A to catch a slightly truncated Much Ado About Nothing in the Media room.  It was so good. I was worried because I have seen much Ado a lot recently, but it remains my favorite Shakespeare of the moment. This production was fun and light and was staged beautifully.  Everyone was up to the challenge of the language and it was delightfully physical and modern without being present day.  The cuts were judicious and worked well and made for a brisk show where you got everything you needed and they could leave you wanting more.  Favorite moments include text exchanges, the funeral scene that redeemed Claudio (Scott Shpeley) and made me believe Hero (Sophie Gareau-Brenna) would take him back, Benedict (Kris Joseph) hiding in the audience, Beatrice (Alana Hawley) explaining why men without beards and with beards are not for her, and Margaret's (Mary Hulbert) ability to make everything saucy. But really, everyone was up to the challenge and Director Megan Watson did a fine job staging this.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Theatre Yes - The National Elevator Project

Theatre Yes presents the National Elevator Project

What can happen in an elevator? Absolutely anything!

OCTOBER 16 - 27, 2013
At Various Downtown Edmonton Locations
Starting @ Tix on the Square, Sir Winston Churchill Square, 9930 – 102 Ave

Theatre Yes’s National Elevator Project features short plays written for and performed in working elevators.

Theatre Yes has arranged commissions for noted Canadian Playwrights from across the country to write very short plays (5 minutes and under) that explore the ritual of the elevator ride. The plays require audiences to enter elevators with the actors for one-of-a-kind, unforgettable performance experiences.

Theatres and Arts Organizations involved: Eastern Front Theatre (NS), Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland (NL), Mulgrave Road Theatre (NS), Playwright’s Atlantic Resource Centre (NS), Magnetic North Theatre Festival (ON), Imago Theatre (QC), Nightswimming Theatre (ON), Persephone Theatre (SK), L’Unith√©√Ętre (AB), Ghost River Theatre (AB), Workshop West Theatre (AB), The Canadian Centre for Theatre Creation (AB), Shadow Theatre (AB), Rumble Productions (BC).

You will start at Tix on the Square, Sir Winston Churchill Square (9930 – 102 Ave), where you will be given a map and directions to each elevator. From there you will make your way to the location of each play in your own time. Plays are approximately five minutes in length and will be available on demand during each 2-hour performance window.


Oct 16 (Preview)
Oct 17th -27th Shows available between nightly 7:30-9:30 pm.
Matinees Oct 19, 20, 26 and 27 at 2PM-4 pm
No Show on Monday Oct 21


Available at Tix on the Square or At The Door (Cash Only)

Preview $15.00 (Everyone)
Adult $25.00
Student/Senior/Artist $17.00
Pass $35.00
—See the plays over three performance times of your choice during the run
Pay-What-You-Can @ The Door Tuesday Oct 22
— Does not include three night passes


Directed by Heather Inglis
Co-curated by Melissa Thingelstad
Designed by Brian Bast


Mark Anderako, Candace Berlinguette, Lora Brovold Lee Boyes, Patricia Cerra Jason Chinn, Ellen Chorley, Murray Cullen, Eva Foote, David Horak, Lana Hughes, Cole Humeny, Sharla Matkin, Nancy McAlear, Troy O’Donnell, Niko Ouellette, Andrew Ritchie, Isabelle Rousseau, Morgan Smith, Ben Stevens, Caley Suliak, Melissa Thingelstad, Fred Zbryski

Stage Managed by Betty Hushlak
Assistant Stage Manager Joan Wyatt
Assistant Director/Producer Brooke Leifso

Call for Volunteers:
Additionally - Theatre Yes is seeking volunteers to help with the FOH for this project. The tasks are very easy: Opening doors for people with tickets and Asking people to wait a few minutes if they arrive at the elevator and we are mid-show. 

If you are interested in volunteering contact Joan Wyatt at

They have shifts from 7-9:30 Wed –Sun AND 1:30-4:00PM on Saturday and Sunday.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Playworks Ink... A Writing Retreat in the Mountains...

A few weekends ago I spent the weekend in Banff at the Banff Centre for the Arts participating in Playworks Ink.  It was glorious.  Playworks Ink is offered every two years in the fall in coordinated by Theatre Alberta and Alberta Playwright's Network.  It is similar to Dramaworks, which is held in alternate years in the summer.  Playworks Ink, however, has a little more focus on play writing with staged readings and more play writing based workshops.  I took Facing the Re-Write with Robert O'Hara which I felt would be a good fit since I have so many scripts on the go in various drafts. I decided to bring a scene from Little Monsters, which I started two years previously at Playworks Ink in a session facilitated by Daniel MacIvor.  I had been feeling a little stalled with it, so I thought this would be a chance to kick it into gear. To some degree, it was the right workshop.  I was exhausted, however, after my long and busy September so what this weekend actually did for me was point out where I need to go and why I was stalled.  So while I didn't get a terrific about of writing done, I got some important writing done.  I also got a list of about 20 things I can do to jump start the process if I am stuck.  I can also use these with other people when I am helping them.  Some fabulous tools

I wish I had been able to write more, but that's okay.  I did feel that the move to Banff was perfect.  There were also so many other things that made the weekend work well.  With all of us in the same place, we didn't all scatter at night to go for supper with just those people we knew.  We all ate together and my roomie AM and I made an effort to sit with different people at different tables for each meal so that we would meet more people. That was pretty cool.  There was a real feeling of us all being at the same level, so while the people stretched from Newbie to Professional, there were no lines. It was also the best food.  I could probably write a whole blog post about the bacon... It was also beautiful and I love that mountain air!  Other events were great for us to share in - We got two experiences with Christopher Plummer (my new boyfriend) - one was a smaller group interview about his life and career and the other was a Gala evening with him doing Shakespeare off set by an orchestra playing music that had been inspired by Shakespeare.  They were both wonderful events, but I was so happy for the interview as I felt we really got to meet Mr. Plummer and he even seemed to be flirting with us a little. Another terrific event was a Trivia Contest and I had so much fun with that.  It was theatre based with a special focus on Alberta and Canadian theatre with a chunk of musical theatre thrown in.  How could I not love that? Our team came in second and I am good with that, although I think other people on my team felt we should've won.  It was all for fun so it is alright with me.

I really hope that Playworks Ink returns to Banff.  It felt ideal and I would love to go back with a calmer brain and a little more rested.  I could see me writing a lot there!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Stage Struck 2014 - Entries Now being accepted!

It's time to think about Stage Struck, the Annual Adult One-Act Festival.  This is your opportunity o test-fly a new work, produce that short play you always wanted to, and meet others in the community who are doing the same. There is also the opportunity for Adjudication to offer feedback so you can develop your play and grow in your artistic endeavors.

Edmonton Zone 
Stage Struck! 2014
Edmonton’s winter drama festival
What:     A regional adult one-act play festival
When:     February 21 & 22, 2014
Where:   Walterdale Theatre

Is there a one-act play you always wanted to produce?  Need an outlet for your own new play?  Would you like a first run of your Fringe show?  We’ll provide the venue, the audience and the adjudication, you provide the talent!

Winning play goes to the provincials in Grande Prairie
 May 2 & 3, 2014.

 Entrants must be based in the City of Edmonton. Any scripted play, previously published or new, between 10 to 60 minutes in length, is eligible for production.

Entry fee $50

For more information or to request a registration package, contact Mary-Ellen Perley at 780-481-3716 or email at

 Entries being accepted now.  Only 9 spaces available!

Submission deadline is December 15, 2013

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Want to Win a Piano? I do, but I can't enter...

So there is this fabulous contest in conjunction with 2 Pianos 4 Hands at the Citadel.  You can win a piano.  Check it out.  Enter. I can't because I work here, but if you win and you are my friend it will make me happy.

A Little Delay in Posting due to my Crazy Busy Life... But it's ALL GOOD...

So the past week and a half has been C-R-A-Z-Y busy and C-R-A-Z-Y good so I have not had a chance to write.  I am going to tell you about some things (like Long Days Journey Into Night and some work stuff) now and some other stuff (like Playworks Ink and my trip to Banff) later!

So last week we opened Long Day's Journey Into Night at the Citadel.  Opening nights are a big part of my job.  Although my work was not perfect, the 2 errors I made I was able to fix up quickly and the 3 arising issues were similarly solved with relative ease.  Whew!  I really like the people that I work with at the Citadel.  The box office was fabulous in helping me deal with my ticketing errors, the rest of the marketing people that were there were awesome making sure it ran smoothly and the whole energy was just so good. I am feeling good that I only made two mistakes and that I could handle the other issues on the fly without too much stress.

I knew that I would be too brain buzzed from work to focus on the play on Opening, so I took my mother to the show on the Wednesday night Preview.  I had been impressed at the Invited Dress rehearsal the week before, but was even more so the second time around.  My mom was similarly impressed, saying to me at intermission "Wow!  She's something else!" referring to Brenda Bazinet who plays the unstable mother, Mary Tyrone.  It's definitely not just Brenda, but the whole cast, that works so well creating a tight, yet broken family.  I can't say enough about Tom Wood (James Tyrone Sr.), John Ullyatt (Jamie Tyrone) and David Patrick Flemming (Edmund Tyrone) who make up the rest of the addicted family who clearly love each other but who rail against the years of picking at each other's flaws and faults amidst the destructive addictions they all suffer and deny. Lisa Norton, as the servant Cathleen, contrasts the family with her crackling energy; her relaxed tone showing even more how much tension lives in the house.  The set is gorgeous and has so much depth, and the fog creeps in as the day wears on scored by increasingly fractured music.  It was wonderful to see this, one of my favorite plays of all time, created so well in all ways.

I could go on... But instead I encourage you to see it yourself so we can talk about it.  It's a polarizing piece, which to me says that it's so relevant.  It's the kind of play you react strongly to - a true sign of what theatre is for.