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Theatre Outré explores models in 1920's Paris in Montparnasse

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Theatre Outré continues this season’s celebration of the human body with Erin Shields, Maev Beaty and Andrea Donaldson’s play Montparnasse, which runs at Club Didi, Nov, 16-20.

Carolyn Ruether and Kathy Zaborsky rehearse a scene from Theatre Outré’s presentation of MontParnasse, which runs at Club Didi, Nov. 16-20. Photo by Richard Amery“It is about two lifelong friends from Canada in the 1920s who reunite in Paris, France. One is an artist and the other is an artist’s model. Together they navigate world of an artist in Paris as nude art models,” described director Jay Whitehead.

 Montparnasse stars Kathy Zaborsky as the model Mags and Carolyn Ruether as the artist Amelia and Nick Bohle, who plays  several smaller roles as well as provides musical accompaniment on guitar, accordion and cello. All three play multiple characters.

 The nudity doesn’t perturb the actresses.
“I’ve actually been an artist’s model for the past 15 years,“ said Kathy Zaborsky.

“This will be the first time I’ve appeared on stage as a nude female in a while, though I have appeared as a nude male in Castrati,” she continued.

 “My best friend in the world, Erin Shields,  wrote the play. She’s moved to Montreal and I miss her, so it makes me feel closer to her  to be able to say her words,” she continued.

Carolyn Ruether wanted to be part of the production after reading the script.

“It’s simple yet complex. There’s only two main characters in it, but there’s so many layers to it,” she said.
 Whitehead noted Montparnasse fits in with Theatre Outré’s mandate.

“We‘re excited to help present a body positive and sex positive play about the female body,” Whitehead said.


New West explores their more adult side in Nightlife

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 If you ever suspected New West Theatre was holding back during their family friendly music/ comedy revues, then get ready to see some of you familiar cast members unshackled and uninhibited during “Nightlife,” a special cabaret night at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, Nov. 4-5. Tickets are already selling quickly for the three shows, 7:30 a Nov. 4 and 5 and a special 10 p.m. encore presentation Nov. 5.Erica Hunt and Kathy Zaborsky are familiar performers with New West Theatre. Photo by Richard Amery
 The core cast for the 18 plus show include Erica Hunt, Kathy Zaborsky, Scott Carpenter and David Barrus plus special guests including a burlesque act.
 The show will be a ribald evening of songs, stories and lots of comedy.

“It has very much a cabaret feel. Part of the concept is let’s push the boundaries with material that is a little too risqué for the big show. So a lot of the comedy is a little risqué and we swear and have the freedom to say things we wouldn’t usually say in a show,”said New West Theatre general manager Derek Stevenson.

“It will be definitely above what you’ve seen New West do before. You just wouldn’t see this in a music comedy revue,” he added.
It is also a new model, as some of the extravagancies have been stripped away from the show and after covering basic expenses like the rental of the Sterndale -Bennett Theatre, most of the ticket price goes directly to the performers.
“It’s very Fringesque like that,” he said, noting Fringe festivals use a similar model of tickets prices going to the artist.
“And it’s very up close and personal. Scott and Erica and Kathy and David are all up close,” he said adding there will be a bar as well.
“So you can get up and have a drink during the show, which is really different for New West,” he continued.

 Musical numbers include pop hits and darker fare like John Prine’s “In Spite of Ourselves,” plus comedic songs.
Scott Carpenter is excited to be able to push the boundaries of what people expect from a New West show.


Club Didi has busy fall full of activities

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Club Didi is well into a busy fall season of  fun activities.

Erica Barr and David Gabert are among the cast of Gammorah High. Photo by Richard Amery
Last week they had a Halloween themed horror improv “Tales from the Haus.”

“ It’s a trio of improvised horror stories. The closest comparison is the Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror,” said Club Didi’s David Gabert.
Last weekend they also hosted the YO Mamma Comedy battle.

In addition to  regular dances and lip synch events they have also partnered with community members for a regular open mic night  on the third Tuesday of every month, which has been a  success.
 But they have a couple big events winding down October and kicking off November.

The Halloween Panti Raid party was Oct. 28 at 10 p.m.  After the Panti Raid,  the third installment of the improvised soap opera Gammorah High, will be happening at 10 p.m., Nov. 4, which featured a talented cast of familiar face playing a cornucopia of high school archetypes.

“Everyone is embracing their characters of the bully,  jock, the nerd, the student  counsellor, the foreign exchange student. All of those people you went to high school with,” Gabert said.

 He is excited to have Jay Whitehead return to Lethbridge after spending several weeks working in Halifax.

 Whitehead will be directing the play “Mont Parnasse,” Nov. 17-20.

“ It is about two women in Paris in the 1920s,” Gabert said.
 December will include the fourth instalment of Gamorrah High as well as Club Didi helping out Aids outreach group ARCHES.

 —By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Beggar’s Opera crosses boundaries of usual opera

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The Beggar’s Opera isn’t your grandma’s opera. The U of L opera society present the John Gay penned 1728 fun little opera in The David Spinks Theatre,  Oct. 28 and Oct. 29.
“It’s a revolutionary piece that split from all other operatic conventions,” described director Dr. Blaine Hendsbee.

Emily Fletcher, Dan Hall and Hannah Nickel are part of the Beggar’s Opera, Oct. 28 and 29 at the David Spinks Theatre. Photo by Richard Amery
“It’s sung in English and it is about the common people— the underbelly of society — highway men and tavern women and people loved it, ” Hendsbee continued.
“It is about a love triangle between a highwayman, MacHeath and Pauline who is rather sweet and demure and Lucy, a tavern woman who is a little more straight-forward and she’s pregnant by MacHeath,” he said.

“It largely surprised theatre audience because it ‘borrowed’ in air quotes operatic music and replaced it with songs that people would have known and able to recognize,” he said.
“In the past 300 years it has been resurrected. Originally it was four hours long but we had to trim it to two hours including the intermission,” he said, adding it has a large cast of 35 people, which has been double cast.

“It’s brisk, fun and lively,” he said.

“It has period costumes designed by Leslie Robison- Greene and professor Douglas MacArthur is in the cast, which is fun,” he said adding they have always wanted to do an opera in the David Spinks Theatre instead of the Recital Hall.
“Usually they are performing in a proscenium arch, but this time it is a three corner stage, which has been a great learning experience for them,” he said adding the concert is already two thirds sold out.
“So we hope people will pick up tickets to avoid being disappointed.”

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