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One Act Play festival brings female perspectives to stage

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A sold out One Act play festival at Casa, April 6 had a strongly female perspective.Helen won Playgoers of Lethbridge’s  One Act play competition at Casa, April 6. Photo by Richard Amery
 So much so that there was only one male actor in a minor role in the whole evening.

In addition to being all female actors, the evening featured all original scripts as well.
 The first and longest play, “Helen” by University of Lethbridge student and playwright Megan Couch explored the Sack of Troy from a female perspective.

Love‘s Best By at the one Act Play Festival. Photo by Richard Amery
The actors all played multiple roles, both male and females utilizing masks and various hand props. They also featured the one male actor, making a jarring entrance at the end as Agamemnon looking for his wife “Helen” who had disfigured herself to avoid being recognized after telling her story and trying to defend herself against a group of angry residents blaming her for the attack.

The result was equally moving, disturbing and thought provoking, and ended up winning best script and best play with good reason.
It will be eligible to compete in the Provincial competition on Fort McMurray in May.

Playgoers of Lethbridge, who host the annual event, brought their entry next.
 Elaine Jagielski penned her the script “Love’s Best By” exploring a  group of friends meeting over a glass of wine to discuss their lives and focusing on their friend , Cathy, played by Jocelyn Steinborn, who made the tough decision of telling her friends about dating a younger man, who had once baby sat her children. It played like an episode of the Golden Girls on stage. There were a lot of heartwarming moments and lots of humour which the audience really appreciated after the heaviness of the first play. Steinborn ended up winning the best actress award for this year.
The festival ended on another sad and disturbing note.

Madeline Smith in If there’s one Thing I Know is True. Photo by Richard Amery
“If There’s One Thing I Know is True” was the one woman show about a young university student negotiating the perils of young adulthood including room mates, depression, frenemies, frats and eventually a date rape.

 Madeline Smith, who I barely recognized since I last saw her in last year’s Shakespeare in the Park’s production of A Comedy of Errors, did an outstanding job exploring a numerous facets of her character, not to mention learning all of her lines. Though, I like  adjudicator Greg McArthur, had a little trouble determining the meaning of voice over dialogue.

— By Richard Amery, L.a. Beat Editor


LIFS brings local film makers together

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Horror is in the blood for local film maker Charlie Christensen.
 Last April, Christensen and director /writer Thorsten Nesch entered the Straight 8 film competition, with a three minute some short called Scarlett Gloves based on a Sir William Scott short story.Charlie Christensen and Thorsten Nesch with a photo of the actors from #partytime. Photo by Richard Amery
“It is an 8 mm film competition. So you have to shoot it all on one roll of film. There are no edits. That’s part of the challenge. The deadline was last April. I couldn’t go, because I’m broke, but just to make the cut was impressive,” Christensen said, adding the winners of that were screened at the Cannes Film Festival.

 They didn’t even get to see the final product as they had to send the film undeveloped.

Local composer Nick Bohl, who worked on Christensen’s full length horror feature the Harvestman, in 2009. They synchronized the music with the film without seeing it as well.
“It’s about a man who becomes so engrossed in a story that it becomes real,” Christensen said.

The duo are part of a new Lethbridge not-for profit independent film collective called LIFS (Lethbridge Independent Film Society) featuring film makers, writers, directors and producers.
They meet every month to talk about films, film making, strategies, skills, grant application and work together on each other‘s projects. The group, which formed a year ago, currently has 20 members.
“We’ve had two events to screen each other‘s projects— one in November and the other in April, Christensen said.

“It’s great, there is so much talent here,” said Nesch, who is a best selling and award winning author and playwright in Germany.
He moved to Canada with his wife and settled in Victoria  and then Calgary before finding Lethbridge was not only cheaper to live, but also discovering how much talent there is here.
“I was really amazed by how much talent there is in this city of 100,000,” Nesch said.

“I have published 14 novels in Germany in all different genres. I’m a publisher’s nightmare. They want me to  write the same thing over again, but I don’t want to do that. I write horror, adventure and even humour. I can be funny even though I’m German,” he laughed.


One Act Drama Festival features more original works this year

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Come to Casa, April 6 for a great night of mostly original plays during the annual One Act Drama Festival.Rita Peterson and Kate Connolly are excited for this year’s One Act Play Festival at Casa, April 6. photo by Richard Amery
Organizers received three plays right on the March 16 deadline.

“It will be an action packed feast of theatre, enthused organizer Kate Connolly, noting sponsors Playgoers of Lethbridge are excited to present the event.
 All entries will be adjudicated. There will be awards for best original script, best play, best actor and best actress. The winner can go to Fort McMurray to compete in the provincial One Act Play festival, May 25 and 26.

 ADFA (Alberta Drama Festival Association) covers some mileage and accommodations expenses for the winner.
There will be familiar faces from Playgoers of Lethbridge, Shakespeare In The Park and the University of Lethbridge including Cole Fetting, who is in Edward Albee‘s 1958 play Zoo story about two men sitting on a bench  talking about their lives in a material world and reasons for visiting the zoo.


Auditions for Nunsense 2 on Monday

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Nunsense was lots of fun two years ago, so expect twice the fun with the same nuns as  Lethbridge Musical theatre present Nunsense 2 at McNally School, June 13-16.Chris Peterson Rehearsoing for Nunsense two years ago. photo by Richard Amery
 Auditions for the sequel to the  popular comedy are Monday, March 26 at the LSCO at 7 p.m.

“ It’s the sequel to Nunsense. It’s a thank you concert that takes place six weeks after the original concert, ” said director Rita Peterson, who is excited to perform at McNally School.
“ It’s a great space. It really suits this play which takes place in a Hoboken nunnery,” she said.

“They’re excited to have us  and there  could be future collaborations,” she said.

“The last production of Nunsense was a success. So we wanted to do the sequel,” Peterson continued.

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