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Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society lends a laugh with Merry Wives of Windsor online

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Shakespeare performed in a pandemic, so The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society plans to  perform  during the Covid 19 crisis— one way or the other.
 As Covid safety protocols have been lessened, The 12 actors had their first read through on Thursday of John Poulsen’s reader’s theatre version of the farce the Merry Wives of Windsor, for an online presentation of the production on July 3 at 7 p.m., to be filmed at the Gate.

Chelsea Fitzsimons returns to play Slender in Merry Wives of Windsor. Photo by Richard Amery
“Thursday was an unmitigated disaster, wasn’t it,” asked Poulsen asking for confirmation from a few of the actors trickling into the Gate for rehearsal.
“But Friday was a lot better. So it was a mitigated disaster because we learned a lot. Though everyone left feeling kind of bummed. All 12 actors stayed. They were willing to experiment,” he continued.


The first read through was also a test of whether they would be able to use Zoom to broadcast, but ran into a few technical issues, so they tried an alternate approach during Friday’s rehearsal and moved to a two camera strategy for Saturday’s rehearsal.


 The end result is there will be broadcasts on Youtube as well as the Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society Facebook page on July 3, 11 and 17 most likely from the Gate Church with a limited audience of 50. There may be future broadcasts added this summer including possibly at Galt Gardens.


 They also have a couple of performances scheduled for the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens, though the official date is to be announced.


“Shakespeare performed during a pandemic (the bubonic plague in 1603-1613, during which London playhouses were shut down 60 per cent of the time) and he went on the road with his troupe and wrote plays. I think he rewrote Romeo and Juliet during it,” Poulsen said.

“This could change the way we do things in the future,” Poulsen said.

Poulsen has written several reader’s theatre adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays including Merry Wives of Windsor.


“Part of my job at the university is research and I found 50 per cent of kids really hate Shakespeare and the other 50 per cent love Shakespeare. So I wrote a 25 minute reader’s theatre designed to fit in a high school class and a 45 minute version.

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Good Times bringing back the funny with live comedy Tuesdays through Saturdays

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If there was ever a time to laugh it is during  a pandemic. So with that in mind, Good Times has re-opened  their venue and stage to showcase local comics and to provide a few yuks.Good Times has re-opened. Photo  by Richard Amery
 “It‘s not about making a lot of money right now, it’s about getting our name back out there. So We’re excited to bring the funny,” said Good Times co owner John Pogorzelzki.


 Good Times had their grand re-opening last night, May 26.


 They will be having nightly shows  for the rest of the week in up to and including Saturday at 7 p.m. each night and are planning for next week as well. There are also 9:30 shows on Friday and Saturday.
“ Last night was  the grand re-opening and we had about 20 people, which wasn’t the sell out we expected. Hopefully it will get better,” said Pogorzelski, who was one of the featured comics performing.


“It was great to be back on stage again. It felt like the first time I got on stage, but better,” he said, adding they are fortunate to have a strong stable of local comedians to draw from.


“It will be similar, but it won’t be exactly the same show each night,” he continued, noting they aren’t ready to bring in out of town comedians yet. So  ticket prices are five dollars a show. So we’re not charging top dollar for comedians you can see any day of the week,” he said.
“Usually tickets are $10 or $15 but that’s for out of town comedians.

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New West Theatre cautiously optimistic their next season will go on

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Kathy Zaborsky was part of New West's production of Dear Johnny Deere. Photo by Richard AmeryNew West Theatre, like everybody else, is on hiatus until  the Covid 19 panic passes. However they  are ready to go as soon as people are able to support live entertainment in the communities.
“ We‘re reasonably optimistic though we are on edge,” observed New West Theatre Artistic Director Kelly Reay.


 “ But we had to cancel the last few shows of Dear Johnny Deere. We’re reasonably optimistic life will return to normal by a reasonable time,” he continued.

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Theatre Outré broadcasting new season of Gommorah online

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Theatre Outré is experimenting with technology to get their work out to the world.Theatre Outre Artistic Director Jay Whitehead. Photo by Richard Amery
“ Last week we did our drunk  improv show live online (on March 21) on the Theatre Outré Facebook page, but now we don’t even feel comfortable doing that,” said Theatre Outré artistic director Jay Whitehead.


This weekend, Saturday, March 28 they are embracing technology again for the first episode of their new improvised sop opera Gommorah inspired by reality television shows like Big Brother through the Zoom app, which will,once again, be broadcasted on their Facebook page.


“We’ll be self isolating and playing a variety of crazy characters from our own laptops, computers and even phones,” Whitehead continued, agreeing it is a good fit, considering Big Brother uses a lot of cameras on the just the individual characters.


“ We’re experimenting, We’ll see of it works. I’ve been getting familiar with Zoom because I’ve been using it for teleconferencing at work. We have to experiment to do what we love to do,” he said.
 He said they will keep the show to 45 minutes.
“There is a lot going on on social media competing for people’s attention,” he continued.

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