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For The Pleasure of Seeing Her Again an homage to mothers

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If you recognize actor Marek  Czuma as  the lead bad guy in local action film Hoodoo Voodoo, playing at the University of Lethbridge this week, you might be surprised to see his more tender side in New West Theatre’s new two person production of Michel Tremblay’s comedy “For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again” which runs at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, Sept. 30-Oct. 9.

Marek Czuma and Karen  Johnson-Diamond rehearse. Photo by Richard Amery

 

“I get to play a good guy in this one,” said Czuma who is no stranger to New West Theatre as he was in last year’s production of “Sitting  On Paradise.”

 

“It (For The Pleasure of Seeing Her Again) is about an artist, an autobiography of author Michel Tremblay who wanted to bring his mother back from the grave because she was his biggest inspiration and supporter when he was trying to become a playwrite,” described, who earned his MFA from the University of British Columbia and has been acting for the past 20 years in a variety of projects on the West Coast.

 

“She was a wonderful person and a great storyteller. It’s a very heartwarming photo album of events in his life,” he continued adding he is glad to be back with New West Theatre.

 

“I love the folks here. I like working with New West. They are very warm and kind people. And there’s no pressure,” he continued.

Director Grahame Renyk, who is usually  the witty and affable MC of New West’s summer music/ comedy revues, took the Fall off from his day job, as a drama professor at Queen’s University in Kingston to direct “For The Pleasure of Seeing Her Again.”

“It’s been a delightful experience because these are two really great parts for actors,” Renyk said.

 

“It’s been lovely to shift genres and work on a different kind of theatre,” Renyk enthused adding he has enjoyed working with experienced actors Marek Czuma and  “Nana” Karen Johnson-Diamond.

 

Karen Johnson-Diamond. Photo by Richard Amery

“This is an excellent role. It’s the role of a lifetime for a woman,” Johnson-Diamond said, who makes her stage debut with New West theatre, though she has worked with New West Theatre general manager Jeremy Mason many times in Calgary and has acted  with most  of the theatre companies in Calgary and some in Edmonton, since being in the first graduating class at Red Deer College’s Theatre Arts diploma program, 20-odd years ago.

 

“Nana is very, very strong minded woman. She’s the opinionated every-woman. She reminds me of my mother and her mother and her mother. And my son will tell you she is very much like me,” Johnson-Diamond continued adding  Nana uses her words “most effectively.”

 

“Every person will see their own mother in Nana. He wrote this play as an homage to his own mother,” she continued adding working with New West” has been “fantastic.”

 

“Today there were flowers and treats in my dressing room. That has never happened in my 20 years of acting.

 

“Jeremy and Nicolas  (Hanson, artistic director) brag about the audiences here. They love them and talk about them all the time. So I’m looking forward to performing for the people Jeremy and Nicholas are so excited about,” she continued.

The play runs at 8 p.m. Sept. 30-Oct 2 at 8 p.m. each night  including a matinee at 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. It also runs Oct 6-9 at 8 p.m. each night including a 1 p.m. matinee on Oct. 9.

 

If you want two free passes to “For The Pleasure of Seeing Her Again,” be the first to e-mail me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with the name of the movie Marek  Czuma appears in.

For more information and ticket prices, go to http://www.newwesttheatre.com

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

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