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University of Lethbridge play ‘She Kills Monsters’ explores D & D as bonding

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Dungeons and Dragons is an adventure into your imagination, but it can be much more than that in The University of Lethbridge main stage production of Qui Nguyen’s “She Kills Monsters,” which runs Nov. 6-10 in the University Theatre.Kayla Turnbull, Katie Boyes and Rachel Cucheron are excited about the U of L's new play She Kills Monsters. Photo by Richard Amery
“It’s the story of an older sister  who bonds with her younger sister through playing Dungeons & Dragons,” said director Lindsay Zess, who graduated from the University of Lethbridge in 2007 and returned to direct the play, in part because she has a personal subject matter.

 The play is described as a comedic romp into the world of fantasy role-playing games,“She Kills Monsters” is the story of Agnes Evans as she leaves her childhood home in Ohio following the death of her teenage sister, Tilly. When Agnes finds Tilly's Dungeons & Dragons notebook, however, she stumbles into a journey of discovery and action-packed adventure in the imaginary world that was Tilly's refuge.

“It’s really personal story to me because I played D & D to get closer to my brother when he got sick,” Zess said, adding you don’t have to know anything about Dungeons and Dragons to enjoy the story. So she leaped at the chance to direct the play.

The 10 member cast have been rehearsing the play since Oct, 1, but  have been learning fight choreography since September.
‘There is a lot of choreography,” said Katie Boyes, who plays Tilly and a Paladin in the play.

“She’s a human girl who plays Dungeons & Dragons. He can do magic and heal and a fighter,” she said.
Some of the cast members got involved with the project as part of a course requirement, other joined because it sounded like a lot of fun ti do.
“It sounded like a lot of fun to do,” Boyes said.


Learn about Blank Space at opening gala

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There is a new theatre space in town. Members of the local theatre community  and  investor’s group  spearheaded by  Vittorio Oliverio have been working  hard to open the Blank Space theatre for the Nov. 1 opening gala.Gabe Thaine plays  the Blank Space gand opening gala , Nov. 1. photo by Richard Amery
 “Blank Space,   (located at Unit 3 1416 2 Ave S) is exactly what it sounds like— it’s a blank space available to local theatre groups, arts groups and artists who need a place to rehearse and perform in,” said  Blank Space  board member Karolyn Harker, who is  organizing the gala.
 There will be a 50 50 draw and a silent auction and live entertainment.

Theatre Outré opens season with object theatre presentation of Sapientia

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Theatre Outré opens their season with Sapientia, Oct. 30-Nov. 3 at Club Didi.
“It’s perfect for Halloween,” said producer Jay Whitehead who performs in the play, written in the tenth century by Roswitha of Gandersheim.Jordan Payne and Jay Whitehead perform in Theatre Outré’s production of Sapientia at Club Didi, Oct. 30-Nov.3. photo by Richard Amery
 Director Mia Van Leeuwen uses object theatre to tell the story of a woman who goes to Rome, preaching Christianity with her three daughters.

“The Emperor Hadrian tells her to stop, but she doesn’t so they torture and kill her daughters,” said Van Leeuwen, noting she has done the show in Edmonton in 2014, Winnipeg in 2015 and in Montreal this past summer.

She noted the objects she used in the performances have  changed over the course of the performances.
“If you were to do this in a film or in stage form, it would be something like Game of Thrones,” said Theatre Outré producer Jay Whitehead, who plays Hadrian. So while actors Whitehead, Jordan Payne, Kathy Zaborsky and Erica Barr perform the lines,  a mirror, espresso maker, flashlight and tea cups are the actual characters.
“ It‘s like puppetry, except we make no secret of the fact that the actors are manipulating the puppets,” Whitehead said.
“It’s very dark, but we’ve also found a lot of humour in it,” he continued.

“ But because we’re using objects, it makes the subject matter a little more palatable,” Whitehead said.
“ But it’s still very disturbing,” he added.

“It deals with religious extremism, ” said Van Leeuwen, noting the subject matter has become even more relevant today.
“I can’t imagine martyring a daughter or dying for a cause,” she said, adding she brought the play to fellow U of L drama prof Whitehead for consideration for Theatre Outré because she like the theme, the idea of doing it as object theatre and letting people know about the playwright who is the first known female playwright.


Titanic undertaking to help LSCO programming this week at the Yates

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 If you’ll pardon the easy pun, putting on the musical version of the Peter Stone penned / Maury Yeston composed Tony Award Winning musical of the Titanic, is a “Titanic” undertaking.Director Fran Rude works with actors Jessica Ens and Aaron Tyslan during rehearsals for the Titanic. Photo by Richard Amery
 The LSCO fundraising presentation happens at the newly renovated Yates Centre, Oct. 18-20.

Including crew, there are over 120 people involved in the production from all walks of life and of varying theatrical experience from people who are brand new to the stage to people to whom the stage is like a second home.

There are familiar faces from Hatrix, Shakespeare in the Park, Playgoers of Lethbridge LMT and the U of L and even New West Theatre veterans, plus people who have never on stage before and people who haven’t been on stage for a while.
“Ken Rogers and I won’t put on any musical that isn’t outside the box,” said director Fran Rude who is directing a cast of 39 plus working with Rogers to organize an orchestra of 21 and  a chorus of 42.

“Go big or go home,” she said.
“It isn’t anything like the movie, emphasized Rude, who is excited to piece the entire show together during “Hell Week.”

 Instead it is based on the book “ A Night to Remember,” by Walter Lord and Robert Ballard, who discovered the wreck.

“That‘s important because it is based on interviews with the survivors and their descendants,” Rude said.

 She is excited to welcome James Robinson back to the stage as E.J Captain Smith.
“As soon as I decided to do this, I had James in mind for the captain. We haven’t been on the stage together for 30 years when we were in South Pacific together,” she said.
“I wanted to be involved because wanted to work with Fran,” said Robinson.

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