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Lots of original works at Chinook One Act Play Festival

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 Playgoers of Lethbridge featured two big nights of mostly original drama at the Chinook Regional One Act Play Festival, Quinn Larder and Brent Clark in At the Mercy of the Waves. Photo by Richard AmeryMarch 29 and  30. I missed day two which featured, eventual winner , Playgoers of Lethbridge’s submission of Edward Albee’s Zoo story directed by first time director Mary-Lynn Muhly and performed by Cole Fetting and Josh Hammerstedt which took home  best play and moves on the the provincial One act Play competition in High River in May. 

But the first day featured all of the original scripts, which were well done and drew  great praise from adjudicator  Richard O’ Brien.Tracy Wyman won best female actress for her performance in   Falling Through Time at the One Act Play Festival, March 29-30 at the Sterndale bennett Theatre. Photo by Richard Amery
 O’Brien really was taken by  the first play,the epic  “At the Mercy of the Waves, written by Jordy Wiens, about two homeless people fearing armageddon, surrounded by an assortment of trash and being driven crazy by the sound of the waves. Brent Clark won best Male Actor for his performance of Perry, a homeless man, who makes a  tin foil hat and draws the awe of his friend Myra, played by  Quinn Larder, who was charming in his innocence, trying to bond with Perry and who can’t figure out how to make a hat of his own. The script won best original script, which was accepted by director Tahnia Getson.

“Falling Through Time,” an original script written  by Tracy Wyman, who also won best female actor, joined by  Jocelyn Steinborn and Haley Gray, was three poignant monologues by three different women remembering harvest time, family members, tea time, photographs and memories of them both.

 The third play was amazing. Kayla Turnbull  penned a film noire styled script about a hit woman, Constance, played by Matya Mikuliak and her serial killer minion Sal, Jesse Thibert and his new girlfriend  Brea, played by Mariah  Jakob, who slowly becomes more obsessed with Constance and increasingly jealous of Sal and Constance’s relationship.

 It became increasingly unsettling and sinister as the story progressed.

Jesse Thibert played evil especially well as Sal, matching to the cold dispassion of his boss Constance, Mataya Mikulak. Mariah Jakob was equallMataya Mikuliak and Jesse Thibert in She Is Buried at the one Act Play Festival. Photo by Richard Ameryy impressive as Sal’s obsessive new beau and last murder victim Brea.

Adjudicator O’ Brien was  a little confused by the  movements of the “network” aka Sal's other victims “ Trevor Loman, Hannah Sawatzky, Cora Moorhead, Chelsea Fitzsimmons and  Rachel Nibogie. who danced  and moved in the background while hissing dialogue as a gGreek chorus and  Sal and Brea’s inner conscience and darkest thoughts.

 O’Brien talked for a good half hour after the performance, offering suggestions and criticisms about each script.
“The Zoo Story” goes to the finals in High River, May 3 and 4.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Windy Castle Medieval Faire plans bloody fun at Murder Under the Big Top fundraiser

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You can help solve a murder under the big top, unless you’re the murderer.Curtis Jestin, John Hedinghan, MIchelle Couper,  Stephanie Snider and Donedin Jackson prepare to kill clown Juanita DeVos in preparation for The Murder Under the Big Top. Photo by Richard Amery
 The Windy Castle Medieval Faire is excited to present their third interactive murder mystery at the Westminster Community Centre (411 16 St. North) by No Frills, Saturday, April 13.

“There’s no excuse not to come. After all, who doesn’t want to run away with the  circus,” chuckled organizer Juanita  DeVos, dressed in her home made killer clown costume.
 Organizers are pulling out all the stops, bringing in a mini-midway, circus treats, clowns and acrobats.

 Everybody who joins the fun gets to play a character. You can choose which as well as how big of a role you want to play in the production.
“There are 80 different characters up for grabs,” said organizer Michelle Couper, noting they range from all manner of circus folks to various circus animals.
Couper is excited about the games.
“ There will be eight or nine games like duck hunt, balloon pop, fishing, skee ball, ring toss and fish bowls,” she listed.

“ We have four garbage  bags full of stuffed animals to give away as prizes. And there will be midway food, popcorn, corn dogs,  cotton candy. We’re even making gluten free hotdogs on a stick,” Couper continued.

Local acrobatic troupe Le Cirque Venteaux, including Donedin Jackson, Curtis Jestin, Stephanie Snider and John Hedinghan will be performing at the  Murder Under the Bigtop to give a preview of their performance at the Faire this summer.Juanita DeVos is excited  for The Murder under the Big Top, April 13 at  Westminster Community Centre.  Photo by Richard Amery

 For the murder mystery portion of the evening, participants are invited to create their own costumes for the event.

“You can choose a character with less of a spotlight role,” she continued, adding they also need volunteer “carnies” to operate the games and food vendors.

The event is a fundraiser for this year’s third annual Windy Castle Medieval Faire, July 20 and 21 at their new location  on Highway 4 and Township Road 74.
“The goal of the Windy Castle Medieval Faire has always been to provide a family friendly event to get people  out of their homes and to have some fun. And who doesn’t love a circus,” added co-organizer Juanita DeVos, adding this fundraiser is an important event for the Faire as the proceeds pay for some of the Faire’s most fun activities including jousters.


One Act Play Festival features two nights of original scripts and classics

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The One Act Play festival returns to the newly renovated Sterndale Bennett Theatre, March 29 and 30.
To date five plays have been submitted including  submissions from Shakespeare in the Park, Two from University of Lethbridge Student’s and a couple from other community groups. Jocelyn Steinborn (centre) performing in the one Act Play Festival last year. Photo by Richard Amery

“So we’ll be going both Friday and Saturday as we currently have three long plays and a shorter one.  Could possibly do them in one night if we start early enough,” observed organizer Rita Peterson, in an e-mail.
 The festival was at Casa last year and was so popular that they had to turn people away at the door. This year, they are excited to be back in the newly renovated Sterndale Bennett Theatre for at least one day.

 The One Act Play Festival has been an important part of long standing theatre troupe Playgoers of Lethbridge’s mandate to develop actors and up and coming directors since the early ’70s
 All entries will be adjudicated by  adjudicator Richard O”Brien, who among his many accomplishments founded Red Deer college’s drama program.
“He’s been working in drama for most of his adult life,” Peterson said. There will be awards for best original script, best play, best actor and best actress. The winner can go to High River to compete in the provincial One Act Play festival May 3 and 4.

“Playgoers  of Lethbridge has been involved with the One Act Play Festival for at least 40 years,” summarized Peterson, who has participated in the festival as an actor in director many times.
 ADFA (Alberta Drama Festival Association) covers some mileage and accommodations expenses for the winner to participate in the provincial festival.
University student Tracy Wyman who has submitted an original script  called “Falling Through Time” which she will perform with Jocelyn Steinborn and Halley Gray.

“It is a series of three monologues by three women  talking about their memories and their lives,” Peterson described.
Shakespeare in the Park’s production of Edward Albee’s Zoo Story features Josh Hammerstedt and Cole Fetting, and several familiar faces from backstage including first time director Mary-Lynne  Muhly.

“They needed a director and I’ve been involved backstage with enough plays, so I volunteered,” chuckled Muhly, holding a rehearsal at her home.
 Fetting and Hammerstedt planned to perform Zoo story for last year’s  One Act Play Festival, but weren’t able to get it ready in time.

“Zoo Story is about a guy sitting on a park bench who encounters this interesting character and they have an interesting conversation,” said Fetting, a familiar face with Shakespeare in the Park and with several University of Lethbridge productions, who plays Jerry, who encounters Peter, played by Josh Hammerstedt.


U of L explore Dadaism in new production

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 University of Lethbridge students go through the looking glass a little on their last mainActors rehearse sound poem in DADA Does Not Mean Anything: An Avant-garde Cabaret . Photo by Richard Amery-stage production of the season, DADA Does Not Mean Anything: An Avant-garde Cabaret happening March 12-16 in the David Spinks Theatre.

“There are 11 different pieces. They began in my class in October,” said faculty administrator Justin Blum, he said, adding the pieces were inspired by the  DADA art movement of the early twentieth century.

“A lot of it was a reaction to World War 1,” he said.

“ We have a sound poem by Hugo  Ball,” he continued, adding  other pieces push the boundaries of space, lighting and  the theatre itself, so the production takes the audience into a dream state.
“ There are 14 people in the cast including six students who were in the class,” he said adding some of them are in multiple pieces.

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