Community Theatre Festival 2017 - Kings Players - Pygmalion

Friday, March 22, 2019

Angry Woman #4

Juror #4 is Barbara Rhodenhizer

  “This is exciting … and maybe a bit terrifying,” says Barbara Rhodenhizer, as she thinks about playing in-the-round at four different venues.  “A dozen characters all on stage for the entire play, with literally no place to hide — exposed to your audience from every angle.  You can’t let your character wander, even for a second.”

  Barbara’s character, Juror #4, is an intelligent, confident, no-nonsense realist who is often frustrated by the more malleable and less decisive  jurors.  Memories and interpretations of what was heard in the trial zig-zag back and forth.  “How the jurors form and then modify their views should give us all pause about our personal assessments of ‘the facts’ in our own lives.  This play prods us to look beyond the superficial and the easy answer.”

  Barbara’s theatre passion dates back (centuries!) to her early teens and the Charlottetown Festival’s Circus Tent Theatre for Children.  She was a founding member of ACT, and she has appeared in more than a dozen of our productions over the 24 years.  Some favourites: Wit, Doubt, Noises Off, School for Scandal, Blue Castle, The Dining Room, Coward In Two Keys, and both the original and reprise of Our Town.  Behind the curtain she has been properties mistress, costumer, design consultant, set painter, box-office coordinator and Theatre Festival volunteer.  Beyond ACT there have been Confederation Centre Christmas shows — A Christmas Carol, Miracle on 34th Street, It’s A Wonderful Life, and A Gift To Last.  She performed the one-woman show I Remain,Jane Austen, and last year appeared in Raised on TV2.  She’s also been in some short films.

  Her beyond-the-theatre energies go into needlework, reading, antiquing, thrifting and caring for two cats … and her writer/editor husband Doug Gallant.

Posted by RobAdmin on 03/22 at 01:14 PM
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Thursday, March 14, 2019

2019 Community Theatre Festival - Schedule

March 30th - the Line-up

Here’s the line-up for Saturday afternoon, March 30th, at The Carrefour.
  There is a 15-minute break between plays, for adjudication, changing the stage, and refreshments.  The times cannot be exact — there’s bound to be some variation, but we’ll try to keep on track.

1:00 - The Shamrock Players - Babel Rap
Comedy: two workers are high up on the biblical Tower of Babel — contemplating life, work and the hereafter.

1:40 - Side Hustle - Improv
Creative spontaneity: in short- and long-form games, the seven performers create on-the-spot entertainment, prompted by suggestions from the audience.

2:15 - 9-F Theatre Troupe (Birchwood Intermediate) - The Tipping Point
Drama: a teenager is hounded by her anxiety, following her every step through her day … rising to a crisis.

2:45 - Charlottetown ALL Comedy Open Mic
Stand-up comedy: three performers take turns at the microphone with their just-for-laughs patter.

3:20 - The Tracadie Players - Rrrrrrrrrrroll up the Rim to Win
Comedy skit: ’tis the season at Tim’s, prompting the age-old question … ‘What would you do if you actually won?’

4:00 - Malcolm Murray Group - Chop Wood, Carry Water
Absurdist comedy: a man is moving a pile of wood … along comes the woodlot-owner’s daughter.  Zen saying: “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water … After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

4:35 - Mi’kmaq Heritage Actors - Legends from the Past
Dramatic story-telling with drum and dance: stepping back in time to experience the rich cultural traditions of the Island’s First-Nations people.

5:10 - ‘Nobody’ - Homeward
Dramatic reading: an excerpt from a play based on imagined episodes from the Homeric epic Odyssey — the interaction between the nymph Calypso and her captive lover, the wily adventurer Odysseus … with his patron goddess Athena looking on.

Doors open at 12:30.  Drop in for a play or two, or the whole afternoon.
Admission: what-you-will donation (think $5 or $10 or so)
Information: 902-628-6778, robthomson @ pei.sympatico.ca

Posted by RobAdmin on 03/14 at 02:47 PM
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Here’s another juror

Kate Martin - Juror #9

  Kate is a former teacher, a specialist in both theatre and English as a second or alternative language; she has taught in places as diverse as Toronto, Northern Ontario … all the way to Mozambique and Tanzania.

  She has contributed to ACT in many ways over the years.  For the Board of Directors she has been Director of Theatre and taken responsibility for the Beach House.  Occasionally she has acted — for instance, in Tennessee Williams’ Lord Byron’s Love Letter.  But she has been part of a host of other shows, though unseen by the audience … dressed in blacks in the key backstage roles of working props, stage management, stage crew — and whatever else is needed to ensure that a show runs smoothly.  For years she has been the co-organizer of the PEI Community Theatre Festival which is held each year in late March to celebrate World Theatre Day.  And for years she worked on making the Sears Festival and its successor event for high-school drama happen on PEI.

  Back on-stage now in 12 Angry Women, Kate says “It will be fun to appear in front of the curtain.”  She loves the prospect of working with Director Terry Pratt, and of playing in-the-round and on-the-road at four different venues.

  Kate is Juror #9.  She’s a quiet woman … but she stands up strongly against bigotry and for respect.  Like Kate herself, she’s a thoughtful person who is willing to listen with an open mind — which is a challenge in the play’s steamy jury room.  She has a line which might be one of the key themes: “It takes a great deal of courage to stand alone.”

Posted by RobAdmin on 03/14 at 08:26 AM
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Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Yr. Obedient Servant

SAMUEL JOHNSON RETURNS ... to Watermark

The English-speaking world’s most famous talker, dictionary-maker, and curmudgeon, Dr. Samuel Johnson, will make one final, public appearance on the Island this winter. Watermark Theatre hosts Yr. Obedient Servant: An Evening of Chamber Theatre with Samuel Johnson on Friday, March 8, at 7:30 p.m.  Your free-will offering will support the theatre. This one-man, full-length play by Kay Eldredge features actor and ACT life member Terry Pratt in a slice of 18th-century literary life.  This performance is a snow date for Watermark.  With 20 minutes to go before curtain on a wild night in November, organizers pulled the plug to get themselves and the few, brave audience members home to safety. Pratt/Johnson did go on to successful appearances at the Haviland Club and UPEI.  Private performances will continue, since Yr. Obedient Servant is available free of charge to any appropriate chamber, for fundraising, education, or simply entertainment.

Posted by RobAdmin on 03/05 at 03:43 PM
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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Another ‘Angry Women’ profile

Justeann Hansen is Juror #2

  Justeann Hansen is a seasoned performer.  She got into ballet when she was 4, and started theatre lessons at age 6.  That had her taking part in some plays and musicals, and got her into community theatre productions (like Peter Pan and The Ugly Duckling) when she was about 10.  “I just love it,” she says, “and that love brought me to the School of Performing Arts at Holland College.”  After graduating there, she got her nursing degree at UPEI, and is now about to write her licensing exam.

  Nursing studies didn’t stop her from being involved in theatre and the arts here on the Island.  “I audition for most everything,” she admits, “for the Fringe Festival, Summerside’s Harbourfront Players, and ACT”.  She has been in shows at the Confederation Centre, and had a very interesting role in ACT’s production of Little Shop of Horrors — besides singing, she operated the man-eating puppet!

  Justeann thought auditioning for 12 Angry Women “would be fun.”  Well, maybe the excitement of auditioning … but the play itself and Justeann’s role in it are hardly what you’d call ‘fun’.  She is Juror #2.  This is a quiet, somewhat naive and insecure character who has been thrown into the task of deciding on a man’s life or death.  As impressionable Juror #2 leans one way, then another, Justeann imagines the audience’s feelings, and wonders: “Maybe they’ll be able to figure it out before the jury does!”

Posted by RobAdmin on 02/27 at 11:57 AM
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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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