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Hatrix Theatre celebrates Halloween with Little Shop of Horrors

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Just in time for Halloween, Hatrix Theatre is bringing Little Shop of Horrors to life at the Moose Hall,Oct. 26-28 and Oct. 31-Nov. 4.

 Audrey (Victoria Nestrowicz)  fights with Audrey 2 during rehearsals for Hatrix Theatre’s production of Little Shop of Horrors, Oct. 26-28 and Oct. 31-Nov. 4 at the Moose Hall. photo by Richard Amery
 The cast and crew are excited to bring the quirky Alan Menken and Howard Ashman penned 1960 musical horror comedy about shy, poor flower shop worker Seymour and his crush Audrey’s adventures with a mysterious alien man eating plant to the stage. Most people know it from the 1986 movie staring Rick Moranis and Steve Martin.
“But the musical and stage play ends very differently than the movie,” observed director Brian Quinn.

Victoria Nestorowicz, who was also in last year’s production of the 25th Annual  Putnam County Spelling Bee,  is excited to return to the Hatrix Theatre stage.
“I’d seen the movie but never saw the musical, though I went to school for theatre, so we studied  the script there,” said Nestorowicz, who plays Audrey.
She is joined by cast mates Terri Browning (Ronnette); Aaron Brozat ( Audrey 2 voice, Wino 2); Brent Devos ( Audrey 2 Puppeteer); Evan Herbert (Seymour ); Christian Johnson (Orin); Cassandra Pollock ( Chiffon); Dave Ranson ( Wino); Derek Taylor ( Mr. Mushnik); Sheri-Lynn Taylor (Crystal) and  Aaron Tyslau ( Bernstein, Skip Snip).

“It’s been a lot of fun. She’s a lower class gal living on Skid Row,” she said, adding Audrey is dating an abusive, sadistic dentist.

“When she meets Seymour, it’s like a breath of fresh air because Seymour is nice to her. So there’s that little love story but it’s about a florist who brings in a new species of plant from a Chinese market and from there the plant becomes so popular and grows bigger because Seymour keeps feeding it blood,” she said, noting as the plant takes over, things take a turn for the worse.

Her favourite part of the show has been working on the choreography with Miss Candy Chiselle -Williams.

“It’s been a really great experience. She’s really been nice to work with,” she said, noting she is looking forward to performing the show in front of an audience.
“I’m looking forward to hearing people laughing and having a good time,” she said.


Shane Koyczan to combine poetry with comedy and stories

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Penticton , B.C. spoken word artist Shane Koyczan returns to Lethbridge with a unique show at the Chinook High School theatre for the Geomatic Attic, Oct. 29.Shane Koyczan to return to Lethbridge this week. Photo submitted
“I  don’t like to call myself a poet, because people have very specific ideas about what poetry is,” said Koyczan, recovering from a cold in Penticton.

“So my show is part poetry, part stand up comedy and part storytelling,” Koyczan continued, noting while he often  performs with  a backing band “Short Story Long,” this show will be solo.

“It’s expensive to bring a band along on tour,” he observed, adding when he does  perform with the band, he looks at it the same way as scoring a film.
“Music helps enhance the story,” he observed.

“ A lot of audiences really like it  because of that,” he continued.

“A lot of people get dragged into the story because of the music,” he added.

Koyczan speaks about a variety of personal issues including growing up, figuring out what to do with your life, depression, friendship, trolls and  numerous observations of society as well as touches on  political issues.
“There is so much to talk about with politics today,” he said, he said noting he hopes his performances will spark intelligent discourse.


Playgoers of Lethbridge’s Savannah Sipping Society is all about friendship

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Director Lee Prindle is excited to present his third Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten penned dinner theatre for Playgoers of Lethbridge. The Savannnah Sipping Society runs at the Country Kitchen, underneath the Keg, Oct. 17-21. The $55 tickets are already selling quickly.

Linda Johnson  returns to the stage with the Savannah Sipping Society, running Oct. 17-21 at Country Kitchen. Photo by Richard Amery
“I didn’t even know it was out yet,” Prindle said noting as soon as he learned the 2016 play was out, he leaped at the chance to direct it for Playgoers of Lethbridge.
 The show features an experienced cast of four talented ladies— Linda Johnson, Shelly David, Elaine Jagielski and Jane Meaker.
“I’m very pleased with how it has gone. I’ve worked with them all before, so I know what they can do,” he said adding having the talented cast and an experienced crew, makes his job as director an easy one.

“They’re all really talented and accomplished,” he continued.

 The play takes place over a six month period during which three women undergoing their own life challenges meet after a hot yoga class and decide to have a glass of wine together.

“It is a comedy. Three women decide to go for a glass of wine after an hot yoga class on Miranda’s Veranda. One woman’s husband just died, one’s husband ran off with another woman and another woman just lost her job, so they all meet and a fourth woman joins them and becomes their life coach. So it’s all about friendship,” Prindle summarized adding because it only takes place over six months, costume changes and set design is really simple.

“But each of them does a monologue, and we have a pin light on them while they are doing it. The others are changing costumes then. So that’s different. So there are a lot of complicated light cues,” he said.

Shelly David is excited to have been in all three of Prindle’s Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten penned productions.

“I play Jinx Jenkins. That’s a humdinger of a name for a humdinger of a gal,” David described, quoting one of the lines from the play.

“All of the women are going through big life changes. My character is investigating a side business,” she noted, adding she ends up befriending the other three women and becoming their life coach.
“And in helping these women, she realizes she’s fragile and really wants to help herself,” she said.
“It’s the third show I’ve done written by these three playwrights,” she said adding she enjoys their dialogue.


U of L's Ubu Roi satirizes politics

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The University of Lethbridge opens their drama season with a nineteenth century French play “Ubu Roi,” running Oct. 3-7 in University Theatre.

Shea Heatherington and Corey Ariss rehearse a scene from Ubu Roi. Photo by Richard Amery
“It’s about a narcisstic woman who convinces her husband to overthrow the king of Poland so he can be the sole ruler and he ends up being a terrible leader,” said director Jay Whitehead.

 “Ubu Roi”was written by Alfred Jarry in 1896 and translated into English by Barbara Wright.
Père Ubu was a mediocre and unqualified leader, doing and saying what it took to keep power in his greedy hands. The play, which takes place in Poland, or nowhere, deals with the cruelty of oppressors and the stupidity of the human condition. Sometimes described as an absurdist parody of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Ubu Roi has been called one of the most excessive political satires of all theatre history. The play ranks among the most original and powerful burlesques of all time.

There are 18 students involved in the production.
“It’s a very physical play. We’ve stripped everything down to the  bare essentials. There’s bare minimum stage and minimal lighting. it’s a very immersive experience, Whitehead continued, noting  while the subject matter is unsettling relevant to events happening today, it is very funny.

“It’s a very funny play. It’s very absurdist. When it premiered in the 1800s, it created a stir and caused a riot on opening night,” he continued.

“ “It’s very satirical and  critical of political leaders. One of the reasons I wanted to do it is  because of it’s relevance to events today. We live in a time when we have leaders who are arguably unqualified to do the job and make poor decisions,” he continued.
“ But I love this play because it is fun. Sometimes the plays we do are more serious in nature,” Whitehead continued.

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