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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.

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