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Rick Mercer examines what it means to be Canadian

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To quote fellow comedic road warriors the Arrogant Worms “Canada is really big” as fellow comedic road warrior Rick Mercer will attest.
 Mercer will convey his perspective on what it means to be Canadian at the Enmax Centre, April 29.

Rick Mercer talks about what it means to be Canadian at the Enmax Centre this week. Photo by Jon Sturge, Mercer Report
It isn’t a stand -up comedy show, but is rather a celebration of Canada which is appropriate for Canada’s 150th birthday.


“It isn’t a stand up comedy show, though I do that. I talk about what it means to be Canadian,” said Mercer, who has visited every nook and cranny of Canada talking to everybody from politicians, all the living prime ministers to farmers and oyster fishermen during 15 seasons of his CBC television series “The Rick Mercer Report” and another eight seasons of “This Hour Has 22 Minutes.”


“I have a map of Canada in my office with red pins showing all the places I’ve been over the past 15 years. And I can barely see the map anymore. I’m very proud of that map,” Mercer observed, noting there are still a lot of places he still wants to visit.
“Very few people get the opportunity to do what I’ve done, but there’s still plenty of places to go,” he said.


“This is what I’ve been doing for the past 15 years, so a show like this is totally within my scope,” he said.


He noted he won’t be filming anything for the show on this tour.


“I’ve had the same crew for the past 15 years, three at first, now four. But they aren’t coming with me. It will just be me,” he said.
Rick Mercer’s rants are a highlight of the Rick Mercer Report. He never has any difficulty coming up with them.
“I usually have six or seven  things I want to talk about every week though they don’t necessarily have to be funny,” he said.
“I write all of them myself on Thursday night and they air on Friday in front of the studio audience, though we don’t do them live,” he said.

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Auditions for 12 Angry Jurors this week

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Hatrix Theatre is holding auditions for An October production of 12 Angry jurors this week.


 The Reginald Rose  penned play, inspired by a 1954 teleplay is about the trial of a young man accused of murder of his father. The jury must decide his guilt or innocence. One juror stands alone against a unanimous guilty vote.
Can he/she compel the jury to listen to more argument or will he be persuaded to "pull the switch" and send the boy to his death.


“It’s as relevant now as when it was written in the ’50s,” said director Karolyn Harker, who plans to put on the  play at the Nord Bridge Senior’s Centre the week after Thanksgiving, Oct. 11-14.

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One Act Play Festival set for Sterndale Bennett on Saturday

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 The Chinook Regional One Act Play Festival is set to entertain you all with five excellent plays, April 8 at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre.

Donna  and Robyn Kalau and Cole Fetting rehearse Clarity for the One Act Play Festival. Photo by Richard Amery
The evening, presented by Playgoers of Lethbridge and  ADFA (Alberta Drama Festivals Association),  begins at 6:30 p.m. to accommodate all five plays without the evening go too late.
“It also includes free refreshments at intermission,” said organizer Kate Connolly, who is always excited to see the plays presented.


“Four of the entries will be adjudicated and we have an entry from Medicine Hat who will be hosting the provincial festival, May 26-27,” Connolly said, adding Medicine Hat is part of the Cypress Region, which didn’t have enough entries for their own festival this year, however, Lethbridge welcomes them because they must participate in a regional competition to compete in the provincials.


“They’re the same group that won the festival last year and won the provincials last year,” she said.


 Awards will be given for best original script, best male actor, best female actor, best director and best play.
The best play winner goes to Medicine Hat for the provincials.


“The plays vary in length from 15 to 30 minutes and three of them are original scripts,” Connolly enthused, noting they have entries from Playgoers of Lethbridge members, the Taber Players, University of Lethbridge students and stand up comedian Connor Christmas.


“The theme this year is relationships,” Connolly observed.
U of L student Alexa Long presents “Portraits Post Drowning,” which won the Terry Whitehead competition this year.


Taber Players presents a comedy “Two Fools Who Gained a Measure of  Wisdom,” is a play based on an Anton Chekov story described as “a hilarious romp about a young husband who takes his new wife to visit his eccentric aunt.
”Connor Christmas’s play is “What Did You Do?,” described as a “collective creation piece about life changing events.”


Long time Playgoers of Lethbridge member Rita Peterson presents her original play “Clarity,” about two estranged sisters reconciling.
“It’s about two sisters who have been estranged for a number of years who return home over a family event,” said Peterson who brought it to a Playgoers of Lethbridge workshop hosted by Ron Chambers earlier this year for feedback.
“What happened to them in the past will determine their future,” she said.
“They have to learn from the past and continue,” she continued, noting “Clarity” is her first entry in the one Act Play Festival.

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U of L presents dark Shakespeare-era drama Duchess of Malfi

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The University of Lethbridge’s production of Shakespearian era drama, The Duchess of Malfi is not for the faint of heart. The 1613 John Webster penned drama runs March 21-25 in the University Theatre.


“It’s a mix of Game of Thrones and the Matrix,” described third year drama student Austin Halarewich, who plays Antonio, the lover of the widowed duchess, played by Madeline Smith.
“It’s like the Game of ThronAustin Halarewich and Madeline Smith rehearse a scene from the Duchess of Malfi. Photo by Richard Ameryes because it is so gritty and dark, and it is like the Matrix because of the costumes and the soundscape which is very eerie and doesn’t fit into any specific time period and has a tribal feel. It isn’t designed for a specific time period,” Halarewich observed, adding he loves period pieces, though Chambers set this play in an indeterminate time.


 The play, though written in 1613, has been placed in an alternate reality according to director Ron Chambers.
“But he wrote it so it takes place in the 1500s. I also edited it down to about two hours from three hours by taking out things that people would just not get,” Chambers said, adding the cast includes 14 student actors, two children and a baby which isn’t real, who play the Duchess’ s doomed children.


The story begins with the recently widowed Duchess falling in love with her butler Antonio. Her two brothers, Ferdinand and the Cardinal, hungry for power and fortune, issue a decree that she must never marry. As she and Antonio plot to elope and flee her brothers’ treacherous claws, they are quickly deceived by Ferdinand’s spy, and their plans are interrupted by the brothers. As the plot descends into chaos, and Ferdinand and the Cardinal descend into lunacy, the Duchess and Antonio remain resolute despite the uncertainty of their fates.


“He’s (Antonio) her butler, but he’s content where he is. He’s not interested in power, but the more he falls in love with her, the more he becomes dependent on her and enjoys the life. They have to conceal their love for each other from her brothers,” Halarewich said.
 “I love period pieces. It’s a Shakespearean era play, ” he said, adding it also explores timeless themes like forbidden love.


“The play is very dark, so people will really appreciate those lighthearted moments when they happen,” he continued.


Second year drama student Madeline Smith , who plays the Duchess, never expected to be cast in the play, let alone as the leads.


“I decided to audition for the experience, I didn’t expect to get in. But when I got the callback, I cried. I’ve never played royalty in anything. So it’s a privilege,” Smith said.
“Ron is an excellent director. Everything is such a learning experience,” she said.
 She is enjoying playing the headstrong Duchess, who would have been an anomaly for the time.

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