Goodnight Desdemona, Hello LLT!

This month the tiny but talented theatre company, Lindsay Little Theatre, will be performing the award-winning Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet).

The main cast of  Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) . Photo credit: Shannon Peters Bain.

The main cast of Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet). Photo credit: Shannon Peters Bain.

The play was written by Ann-Marie MacDonald, a Canadian playwright, actor, novelist and broadcast host. MacDonald is perhaps most widely known for Fall on Your Knees, which was selected for Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club in 2002. Not bad for a first novel. As an actor, MacDonald has won a Gemini Award and earned a Genie nomination. Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) won a Canadian Authors Association Award, the Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award, and the Governor General’s Award for Drama. Not bad for a first play.

Fall on Your Knees is a sweeping epic story that spans five generations of one family’s drama, secrets and betrayals. Oprah Winfrey described her reading experience as: “Many times during the reading of Fall on Your Knees, I would say, 'How can that be happening now?' And then I'd say, 'It's a book. It's a book. It's a book.'“

Here, the play’s the thing, and Goodnight Desdemona is a comedy and nothing like Fall on Your Knees. Or is it? MacDonald’s favoured themes of terrible secrets, attempted murder, and forbidden love are woven through the play, although for MacDonald fans this is no surprise as MacDonald draws material from another of her favourites, whose works share these themes: Shakespeare.

Rebecca Anne Bloom as Constance

Rebecca Anne Bloom as Constance

Goodnight Desdemona tells the story of a young English professor at Queen’s University, who ends up falling into her subconscious and confronting her own inner secrets. Constance Ledbelly’s doctoral dissertation postulates that both Romeo and Juliet and Othello were originally comedies, which could be proven if only she can decode a manuscript written by an alchemist. Her supervisor and crush, Professor Claude Night, tells her he’s leaving for Oxford University, throwing her into a crisis. She becomes depressed, and begins to throw out her things, when she suddenly falls into the wastebasket and begins a journey into her own subconscious.

Constance finds herself inside of Othello. She prevents Othello from killing his wife Desdemona, and then reveals Iago’s trickery. In the ensuing and unpreventable fall-out, Constance wins Desdemona’s help in her search for the “wise fool”, the missing Shakespearean character who secures the happy ending for a comedy.

Tyrnan O’Driscoll as Iago, and Andre Canivet as Othello

Tyrnan O’Driscoll as Iago, and Andre Canivet as Othello

Next, Constance finds herself inside Romeo and Juliet. She breaks up the fight between Mercutio and Tybalt before Tybalt can fatefully stab Mercutio. Romeo mistakes Constance for a boy and quickly falls in love with “Constantine.” Again Constance searches for the missing “wise fool” character, and unwittingly ends up winning Juliet’s affections, as well. Mix-up and hilarity ensue.

You won’t want to miss LLT’s production. The play has been well cast with actors who were meant for Shakespeare. One of the actors, Tyrnan O’Driscoll starred this summer in Boy Wonders performed for the Toronto Fringe Festival. He gives both fun and memorable performances as both Iago and Romeo.

For Andrew Bain, this is his first acting performance for the stage, but as you will discover he has a voice that was meant to spout Shakespeare. (Don’t miss our feature about Andrew Bain’s previous appearance at LLT as the opening act for Constellations.)

Rebecca Anne Bloom has appeared on stage for several LLT productions over the past couple of years, but here she takes on the lead role of Constance, bringing an authenticity to the part as the young professor learns to find her inner fire.

Goodnight Desdemona is an exceptionally enjoyable comedy with undercurrents of more serious topics of gender, sexuality, and feminism. It is a big play, but well-handled by first-time director, Shannon Peters Bain.

Lindsay Little Theatre

November 16, 17, 23 @ 8 PM; 25 @ 2 PM

http://www.lindsaylittletheatre.com/tickets/

Adults $20 | Students $15


Written By: Ann-Marie MacDonald

Directed By: Shannon Peters Bain


STARRING:

Rebecca Anne Bloom…..….Constance Ledbelly

Ce’Nedra Goswell…..….Student ’Julie, uh Jill’ / Juliet

Sidney Worden…..….Ramona / Desdemona

Andre Canivet…..….Othello / Tybalt

Tyrnan O’Driscoll…..….Iago / Romeo

Andrew Bain…..….Professor Claude Night / Ghost

Katisha Shaw…..….Chorus

Collin Dusome…..….Mercutio

Colette Marshall Schroter…..….Juliet’s Nurse

Logan Gerzymisch…..….Servant / A Soldier of Cyprus

Holly Warren…..….understudy, Constance Ledbelly


Read more: http://www.oprah.com/book/fall-on-your-knees-by-ann-marie-macdonald#ixzz5WU4dnlTj



FROM THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR: Behind the scenes at LLT

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Proof centres around Catherine (Anwen O’Driscoll), whose father Robert (Anthony Jackson), a brilliant mathematics professor, has recently passed away, and her struggle with math genius and mental illness. Her father’s former student, Hal (David Draper) discovers a proof that changes everything, while her sister Claire (Ellen Giddings) tries to force Catherine to move on with her life. Proof was written in 2000 by David Auburn and appeared on Broadway with stars Mary Louise Parker and Neil Patrick Harris. It was adapted for film in 2005, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins, and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Altaire Gural, director

Altaire Gural, director

Altaire Gural is directing Proof for the Lindsay Little Theatre as their entry for the Eastern Ontario Drama League’s Full-Length Festival, and she’s pulling out all the stops. One of her former actors, Kylie Alora, now a recording artist for Radar Love Records, is lending her new single “At My Worst” for the play’s theme song. The set will be decorated with windows from the former office of University of Toronto’s professor Marshall Mcluhan, noted for “the medium is the message.”

Gural made her directing debut in 2012 with LLT’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In 2014, she directed the original play she wrote, Forgotten, which was performed at the Academy Theatre and since has been mounted world-wide from the United Kingdom to Australia. In 2015, she adapted the movie The Breakfast Club for the LLT stage. Local actors who have worked with Altaire Gural have seen success on both the big and small screen, including O’Driscoll, who can be seen on Burden of Truth (CBC/CW), and Draper, in the Discovery Channel’s See No Evil. Other former students include Ehren Kassam, who starred on Degrassi: The Next Generation and Degrassi: Next Class, and Star Slade, who also stars on Burden of Truth and Frontier with Jason Momoa.

What is Gural’s formula for success? We went to a rehearsal for Proof to find out.

Anwen O’Driscoll as Catherine

Anwen O’Driscoll as Catherine

The rehearsal appears like any other: actors joking, consuming caffeine, complaining about the temperature. Gural advises they will be running through the first act that night, but warns she will stop them. As they move to position, they snort with derision, but only half-heartedly. Scripts clutched in hands, the actors are not entirely “off-book” yet, and three-weeks to opening night, the pressure is exponential. Typically an LLT performance has 8 to 10 weeks of rehearsals, but O’Driscoll has only just returned from wrapping up filming the second season of Burden of Truth, and while the other actors have been learning lines and working with each other, they now have to learn to work with O’Driscoll.

Gural is true to her word and immediately stops Jackson to tell him to pause after the lights come up and before entering the scene. They begin again. And so the process goes: actors run their lines and Gural sends out corrections. Don’t hide behind the chair. You’re sighing with every line, stop it. Too much eyebrow action. If the comments feel harsh, the actors don’t appear to notice. They nod and try again. Praise follows. Better. Beautiful.

Anthony Jackson as Robert

Anthony Jackson as Robert

“Do you feel the difference?” Gural asks. They take a moment to discuss. Jackson is a 15-year veteran of LLT and also a playwright. This is his first time playing a major role for Gural. He describes her direction as “telling us what not to do.” Gural edits away the actors’ bad habits-- sighing, moving too much, looking at the wrong place-- with lightning speed, stopping the action as it’s happening. Foibles put the actors into a “comfort zone”, and the performance might be good-- hitting the emotion, nailing the lines, moving with precision timing-- but it won’t be great.

And for the EODL adjudication, the performance must be better than good.

Ellen Giddings as Claire

Ellen Giddings as Claire

As the actors peel away their habits, an edge is revealed. The character comes more sharply into focus. This is more than bringing emotion into a facial expression; the feelings have to be truthful. Gural is no different in what she demands from the pros and stage vets than from Giddings in her first performance, and Giddings fits in comfortably with the others. The rehearsal atmosphere is without fear. Gural’s direction is not about control, but about bringing out the best of each actor. She says everyone has the potential to be a great actor, but not everyone is willing to be brave enough to go to the vulnerable places.

Gural gives homework: “Find your agenda for each scene.” She says every scene is there for a reason. Find that reason. She pushes the actors to dial into their characters’ motivations. “There’s meaning behind every word.” In early rehearsals, the actors sat knee-to-knee and ran their lines while looking into each other’s eyes. Gural went over the myriad ways to play a character-- bring out his jealousy, his charm, his loyalty?-- with each actor. They plotted an emotional course through the play, one that should provide the best experience for the audience. Jackson says a director has to know more than the actors on stage. And he’s right; the director must also know their audience and how to deliver a story to meet that audience’s expectations. It’s more than having a vision; it’s all about eliciting emotion in the audience.

David Draper as Hal

David Draper as Hal

Not only are these actors not shy about lashing out in anger or breaking down in tears, but they are willing to come back for more. No one minds the late nights of rehearsals. No one reminds repeating a line until it’s right. “She makes acting exciting,” O’Driscoll says. Draper explains, “It’s exciting to feel yourself becoming better.” And not just as an actor, he says, but as a person.

“I think they’re awesome,” Gural says. “I absolutely love this.”

Performances takes place at Lindsay Little Theatre

55 George Street, Lindsay, ON

October 12 & 13 and 19 & 20

Tickets can be purchased at the Academy Theatre.







Fenelon Marquee Lights Up!

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Community event organized to commemorate the official unveiling and lighting up of the Fenelon Theatre Marquee and to celebrate the years long adventure to restore and relocate this historic landmark of Fenelon Falls, Ontario.

The journey from Colborne to Oak Street for the Fenelon Theatre Marquee was not a leisurely stroll down Francis and May Streets to its new location outside the Chamber of Commerce Tourism and Visitors Centre. To help guide the way a group of volunteers, craftsmen, supporters, visionaries and believers from the community of Fenelon Falls and surrounding Kawartha Lakes area, embarked on the task to restore the sign that had been donated back to the community by property owner Steve Gibson when the Fenelon Theatre was demolished in November 2016.

The official unveiling and lighting up ceremony of the newly restored Fenelon Theatre Marquee will be held on Saturday SEPTEMBER 29th at 7:30pm. The lights will be turned on shortly after dusk. There will be a reception following the ceremony at the Maryboro Lodge (the Fenelon Museum), which will be open for this special evening event. In the spirit of the movies that once flicked by the falls, we invite everyone to come dressed up as a glamorous version of themselves or their favourite movie star and to really get into glitzy mood of the evening. Plan to celebrate with good cheer, a silent auction and many stories and recollections of days gone by. Refreshments will be served and all the exhibits of the Museum will be open to peruse, including the original projector from the old theatre.

The Theatre Marquee Restoration Group officially formed in the fall of 2016. Many businesses and individuals came together to make this project a success. Funding came from the Legacy C.H.E.S.T. Fund, Powerlinks, the 50/50 Community Project Capital Funding Initiative and the Kawartha Lakes Community Futures Development Corporation’s (CFDC) / FedDev Ontario’s Eastern Ontario Development Program (EODP) and many personal donations from the community. There was an overwhelming response to the group’s fundraising efforts from both the community and local businesses and organizations such as the Fenelon Museum, Fenelon Falls & District Chamber of Commerce and Kawartha Lakes Film Circuit/Films by the Falls.

While the brick building may be gone, Fenelon Theatre Marquee will once again light up the town whose name it bears bright. Join in celebrating the official switch of the lights to ON! and help to welcome an old landmark to a new landscape.

Event Details:

Saturday, September 29, 2018

7:30 pm Ceremony at Fenelon Marquee, 15 Oak St., Fenelon Falls, Ontario

Reception to follow at Fenelon Museum, 50 Oak St., Fenelon Falls, Ontario

Facebook Event Link: www.facebook.com/events/302933533597168/

"My Heart's A Suitcase" - powerful performances not to be missed

by Clare McIntyre; directed by Rebecca Anne Bloom

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“My Heart’s A Suitcase” opens this weekend at the Lindsay Little Theatre. Written in 1990 by Clare McIntyre, the play won awards for most promising playwright.

Fear and materialistic longing inform this play about an angrily impoverished waitress and a philosophical ceramics teacher in the early stages of multiple sclerosis who share a seaside apartment for the weekend.

Chris, the waitress, is looking to escape for the weekend-- in particular, to hide from a recent traumatic event. She’s frustrated with not being where she wants in life, and seems to be dealing with depression. Hannah, the ceramics teacher, also desires a holiday weekend but ends up facing an unexpected situation of her own when she encounters Elliot, a drunken misfit in the apartment. The holiday is interrupted when Tunis, the wife of the apartment owner, shows up to continue decorating the place, and Chris’s peace of mind is further broken by Luggage, a character there to remind Chris she has to carry her own burden, and Pest, the memory of the moment Chris is trying to forget.

The part of Chris is a heavy character to perform, but Anwen O’Driscoll gives a beautiful performance and adds complexity and depth to the character. O’Driscoll expertly takes the character through depression and disconnect to fear and frustration. Her flawless performance vibrates through the theatre and yet, the emotion is understated enough that you forget you’re watching a theatrical performance and feel like you’re watching a real person. O’Driscoll is currently starring in CBC’s Burden of Truth.

Hannah is portrayed by Ilan O’Driscoll, Anwen’s sister and last minute addition to the cast. Her performance is natural, as Chris and Hannah have a sister-like friendship, but Ilan also brings a quiet contrast to Anwen with a softer delivery and sharp comedic timing. (In some shows, Hannah will be portrayed by Mackenzie Kruyf, who also contrasts Anwen’s performance, but in her own way with a sing-song voice and breezy delivery.)

The play is the first acting appearance for both Andre Canivet, as Elliot the drunken misfit, and Tori O’Neil as Tunis the apartment owner’s wife. But you would never know it. Both actors bring their characters to life. O’Neil makes Tunis familiar as that uncomfortable friend we all seem to have, but there’s a sense of loneliness behind her biting exterior. Canivet goes beyond making Elliot sympathetic and brings a vulnerability to the stumbling alcoholic.

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Veteran actors of the stage round out the cast, portraying the two obvious imaginary characters-- Vasco Silva as Pest, the memory of the man who traumatized Chris, and Katisha Shaw as Luggage, who reminds the characters she cannot carry their burdens for them. While Shaw appears to see directly into the souls of the other characters, Silva delivers violence and tension that swallows the theatre.

Behind the scenes, Rebecca Anne Bloom makes her directorial debut, Dylan Robichaud is co-director, and Kathryn Woolridge-Condon is producer. The same trio recently directed/produced “Murder at the Howard Johnson’s.” David Draper composed original music that enhanced the show. Sound and lighting was by Jeff Gutteridge, and the stage was managed by Nat Copeland and Logan Gerzymisch.

At first glance the play seems to be missing a beginning, middle and end, and seems to be about several people arriving at this apartment, trying to convince themselves that they are relevant, earnestly spouting into the void in search of validation of their existence-- typical thinking for the late 80s, early 90s, and not unlike TV’s Seinfeld or Friends. No one really listens to one another, and no one leaves the weekend a changed person.

But on deeper examination, maybe this play is about Chris facing her own demons and all the other characters are facets of her psyche-- with Hannah being the person Chris aspires to be. Perhaps Chris is dealing with her own addictions to money and alcohol as means of escape from her meaningless life-- personified by Tunis and Elliot-- while confronting the inner darkness brought on by the traumatic event. In this context, she’s brought to the apartment by a desire to become a better person and she leaves once she’s confronted and chased off those parts of herself that she carries packed into her heart, for her heart is a suitcase.

This is a show not to be missed. The cast transcends the scriptwriting and fills the theatre with performances that will take your breath away.

“Everyone has his burden. What counts is how you carry it.” -- Merle Miller

Performances at Lindsay Little Theatre

 Friday May 18th at 8 p.m.

Saturday May 19th at 8 p.m.

Friday May 25th at 8 p.m.

Saturday May 26th at 8 p.m. 

Sunday May 27th at 2 p.m.

55 George Street West., Lindsay, Ontario, K9V 4V6

General Admission $20

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"Murder at the Howard Johnson's" - light-hearted dark comedy

By Ron Clark and Sam Bobrick, Directed by Kathryn Wooldridge-Condon

Opening this weekend at the Lindsay Little Theatre is “Murder at the Howard Johnson’s,” the 1979 play that postulates an interpretation of the question that’s been on everyone’s mind since 1993, “What is love?”

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This light-hearted comedy revolves around a love triangle between a married couple and a dentist. Arlene has decided to end things with Paul, but divorce just won’t do, so she’s convinced Mitchell, the dentist, they must kill her husband in a room at the Howard Johnson’s Inn. Neither are very effective killers and much hilarity ensues, bringing new (yet old) meaning to Haddaway’s lyrics, “Baby don’t hurt me, no more.”

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The set is well designed, making excellent use of the Theatre’s small space. This is key because the set is integral to much of the physical comedy of the play. Kudos to the actors for throwing themselves into their roles and embracing the antics of this screwball comedy.

Holly English plays the conniving Arlene. A graduate of Humber College’s “Comedy: Writing & Performing” program, English has performed stand up and sketch comedy at Yuk Yuk’s and Second City training stage.

Seamus McCann performs the role of the whiny husband, Paul. Eastern Ontario Drama League’s drama festival award-winner, McMann has been a member of LLT since 2007 as both performer and director.

Ben Whyte makes his performance debut as the philandering dentist, holding his own alongside the other veteran actors.

Although the subject is murder, the play never takes itself too seriously, making for an enjoyable evening of unending laughs.

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Performances at Lindsay Little Theatre

 Friday April 20th at 8 p.m.

Saturday April 21st at 8 p.m.

Friday April 27th at 8 p.m.

Saturday April 28th at 8 p.m. 

55 George Street West., Lindsay, Ontario, K9V 4V6

General Admission $20

Don't miss this time-lapse video of the set construction: 

"Old Love" - a light-hearted romantic comedy

by Norm Foster, directed by Pamela Brohm

Lindsay Little Theatre

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Can you put an expiry date on love? There's an answer in Lindsay Little Theatre's newest performance-- a perfect treat for Valentine's Day. 

"Old Love" stars real-life couple Margaret and Don Hughes as Molly Graham and Bud Mitchell. Molly and Bud met years ago when they were newly married to other people. Bud is smitten with Molly immediately, but he's also incredibly moral, so he doesn't pursue his love, but tries to befriend her. Molly is already bitter about her marriage and barely notices the charming Bud-- if she even remembers his name. They meet again several times over the years-- Molly, always bitter, and Bud, always optimistically smitten. Their most notable meeting happens shortly after Molly becomes a widow, long after Bud's marriage has ended. Can a couple of old-timers fall in love? Should they, now that they know the realities of being in a relationship? 

There are plenty laughs along the way. Norm Foster, considered to be Canada's pre-eminent comic playwright, writes witty situations and the actors deliver wonderful one-liners. The acting from the Lindsay Little Theatre is professional, believable, emotional. Worthy of much bigger audiences and grander stages. 

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Rounding out the cast are Michael Chapman and Natalie Kristel as the spouses, along with Dylan Robichaud and, in her debut performance, Kathryn Wooldrige-Condon, as Molly's son and daughter-in-law. 

You're in for a night of warm-hearted fun and laughter. A perfect date-night performance.