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U of L’s Identuality mainstage production is an online exploration of identity

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The University of Lethbridge Drama department has been forced to adapt to Covid , like all other arts groups, so their first mainstage production of the year will be a Zoom experience, which runs Nov. 17-21 online.
 Sixteen performers from all over the country have explored the idea of identity for the show, entitled Identuality.
“We’ve been working on a really interesting and dynamic piece of devised virtual theatre,” said director Jay Whitehead, noting devised theatre meant the cast and crew built the show from scratch.

The U of L's production of Identuality runs. Nov. 17-21. Photo Submitted
“ The whole show takes place over Zoom. It’s basically a collage of different reflections on different types of identity. Some are solo pieces, and some are group pieces. But ultimately its a reflection on a theme. And we go deep into these ideas and thoughts. The cast is very brave in sharing their stories.  And I think that people will find that though it’s being watched  via Zoom it through Zoom that it still feels like live theatre because  there is that connection to you through the camera  But and I thing people will be shocked and surprised by that,” Whitehead said.

“We didn’t start with a script as we typically would in theatre. We actually used the stories of the 16 cast members we’ve assembled to explore themes of identity and sexuality. So the piece contains everything from monologues, to original poetry and music. Really it is just an exploration of identity in all its various forms,“ Whitehead continued, noting despite the distance, the cast dug deep and bared their souls.

“When you’re talking about issues of identity, these are the things you hold really close to our hearts,” Whitehead said.
“We really delved into each cast member’s story and how they identify. As far as each cast member was willing to share. The process became very personal and personal stories that were shared around identity sexuality, gender, religious, racial, all kinds of identities,” he said adding he went into the process with a little bit  of trepidation about how to to create a theatrical production out of their stories.

 Whitehead was impressed with how close the cast congealed despite not being together.
“ The cast was able to become an ensemble just as if we were in the same room though we were scattered  scattered across two provinces and a territory,” he said.

Actor Kacie Hall enjoyed hearing the other cast members’ stories.


Sin is in in Theatre Outré’s “Confessional”

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The Seven Deadly sins can keep you up at night, even just remembering what they are.Confessional has been extended until Nov. 1 at Didi’s Playhaus. Photo by Richard Amery

 So Theatre Outré explores lust, wrath, sloth, gluttony, pride, greed and envy, with a special one on one theatrical experience, Confessional which sold out almost immediately, but has now been extended to Nov. 1. I got the last ticket on Sunday. They announced the extended run earlier this week.

 Confessional is a spooky experience, so it’s very cool that it has been extended into Halloween, because it is ideal for the season.

The show is really seven separate shows performed live by Kathy Zaborsky who covers lust and gluttony; Anastasia Siceac, who covers sloth and envy  and Jay Whitehead, who’s pieces are the strangest examinations of wrath and pride, I’ve ever experience.
 Greed is covered by a multi-media  production incorporating images of money, and fancy cars and houses.
 Only one person , or two if they are in the same cohort, enter  “Didi’s Playhaus” #210 517a 4th ave. S for the show.

 Upon entry, you fill out a quick questionaire including  questions like “ What makes you angry?” “What is your favourite food?” and “What do you  have too much of,” which are then submitted to the cast who incorporate your answers into their performances resulting in a personalized theatrical experience. More so if you answer honestly. I was stumped by a couple of them.

 After you’ve answered the questions, an actor  in a bird-like plague mask guides you into the darkened room and gestures you to stand in a taped off box on the floor, while ensuring you don’t remove your own mask.
And you stand before a plexiglass box. The curtain opens revealing the actor performing each particular piece.


Theatre Outré involving audience in Confessional

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Theatre Outré is going one on one with  their audience for their new production “Confessional,” happening Oct. 2-11.

Anastasia Siceac, Mia van Leeuwen, Deonie Hudson and Lee Burckes perform Confessional, Oct. 2-11. Photo by Richard Amery
“ We’ve turned  Didi’s Playhaus into a funhouse of the subconscious. It’s half art, half play, ” said co director Kathy Zaborsky, being a little cagey on the actual details of the show, noting  it explores the seven deadly sins, but not wanting to spoil it and further.

Confessional includes elements of movement, choreography, improv, video and ASMR.

“There’s a lot of performance art,” added co-director Jay Whitehead, noting the immersive show is slightly different for each audience members, as they have the option of filling out a “fun” questionnaire, so the performers Anastasia Siceac, Mia van Leeuwen, Deonie Hudson and Lee Burckes can tailor the show to each individual.

The performers created the show together with Zaborsky and Whitehead.


Impromptou ready to make you laugh with improvised soap operas and more

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It’s all aboard the HMS Gommorrah as local improv troupe  Impromptu cruises in to fall with a variety of new projects ready to launch on Sept. 5 with their sixth improvDavid Gabert is excited about new ImpromptOu projects this fall. Photo by Richard Ameryised soap opera the Gomorrah Love Boat.

They have a strong stable of 15 cast members who will be participating in a variety of different shows throughout September and October.

“We have a great group of local performers who are looking forward to bringing improv comedy back to local people,” said ImpromptOu Co-Ordinator and Theatre Outré General manager David Gabert, noting, he was inspired by seeing how The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society and New West Theatre handled shows in a post Covid world.

“So most of our shows will be outside as weather permits,” he said, adding tickets will not be sold at the door. Instead they must be purchased online or by contacting  the troupe in advance. On the day of the show, ticket buyers will be given the address of the show.

 Gabert is excited about the next improvised soap opera.
“We‘ve been doing  improvised soap operas for six years. We set the first one in Taber. This year though we can’t actually go on a cruise ship we though you could come and cruise with us,” he said.

 They have also set the soaps in high school, in a gothic setting and in a Downton Abbey setting.
“We have a stellar cast who will be participating in the three arms of ImpromptOu,” Gabert said.


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