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Drowning Girls opens U of L mainstage theatre season

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 The University of Lethbridge opens up their new main-stage season, Oct. 18-22 in the David Spinks Theatre with a thought provoking, Alberta play “the Drowning Girls.”

 Shea Heatherington, Maddie Taylor Gregg and Shelby Wilson rehearse a scene from the Drowning Girls, running in the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, Oct. 18-22. photos by Richard Amery
University of Alberta students Beth Graham and Charlie Tomlinson and professor Daniela Vlaskalic penned the The 70 minute play in 1999 for the Edmonton Fringe Festival, basing it on the true story of George Joseph Smith who was hanged in 1915 for drowning his three wives in the early twentieth century.


“It’s the story of the experiences of a man who manipulates three women into marrying him and then kills them at different times,” said Madeleine Taylor-Gregg, who plays Margaret. She is joined by cast mates Shelby Wilson and  Shea Heatherington.


“They all meet in the future, though it is up to the audience’s own judgement to determine if it is in the afterlife,” she continued. After the three women meet they discuss how they met this man, their relationship to him and what happened to them.


“Margaret is the oldest of the three and is only married to him for one day before she is murdered,” she said.
“I think it’s a very well told and interesting story,” she said.
Director Gail Hanrahan is excited to present a popular Alberta penned play as the first production of the season.


“ It‘s a very short play, only 70minutes long, based on the story “Brides of the Bath,” Hanrahan continued, noting the play has been relocated to the east coast of Canada rather than England where the original story took place.
 She noted it is  a pretty popular play.

 “The play is performed a lot. I think Vertigo theatre in Calgary is also doing it,” Hanrahan said.

 


She said it is an interesting story which combines drama with a little bit of comedy.

 Shea Heatherington, Maddie Taylor Gregg and Shelby Wilson rehearse a scene from the Drowning Girls, running in the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, Oct. 18-22. photos by Richard Amery
“It jumps from one to another. A lot of Canadian plays are written that way. It’s a drama but there are comedic elements to it,”  she said adding the production itself looks amazing. The set is an actual pool of water on stage, where the three actresses are dunked and rise.


“It looks pretty spectacular. And it’s a really small cast. Most main stage productions have much larger casts. I generally direct much larger casts. But this is just three women and it gives them a lot of opportunity to dig in a bit,” she continued.


“This is a real ensemble piece. Not one of the characters is more important than the other. The characters connect with each other though they didn’t know each other in life,” she added, noting she is excited to direct an Alberta penned production.


The rest of the season features a diverse line-up.
“ We’re also doing ‘Boy’s Own Jedi Handbook’ which will make a connection with people. The next one will be the Importance of Being Earnest in November and the last one is the Duchess of Malfi, which is a period piece as well,” she said.
The Drowning Girls runs Oct. 18 – 22, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. nightly. Tickets for The Drowning Girls are available at the U of L Box Office, Monday – Friday (12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.) or by calling (403) 329-2616. Tickets are also available online: ulethbridge.ca/tickets.
Ticket prices are $18 regular, $13 senior/alumni, $12 students.

A version of this story appears in the Oct. 19, 2016 Edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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