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Blank Space closed as A Gin Game and A Christmas Carol cancelled

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Bad news everybody. While local performers, arts groups and theatrical groups were really looking forward to being able to utilize the Blank Space theatre (located at Unit 3 1416 2 Ave S) for upcoming performances, especially after getting an advance peek at the place at the opening gala, Nov 1, the space has been put on hold due to obstacles arising with the City of Lethbridge.The Blank Space has closed after cancelling two upcoming shows. Photo by Richard Amery
 Two important fundraising shows have been cancelled as Black Space looks for a new location. Volunteers spent Sunday dismantling the space.
 The Gin Game, set to run Nov. 13-18 and Nov. 20-24 was the first to be cancelled. And unfortunately, they have also had to cancel an innovative production of A Christmas Carol, originally scheduled for the first two weeks of December, which would have had six actors playing all of the roles in the beloved Christmas story in front of a minimal set and utilizing music and  props to convey the different characters.

 A Christmas Carol Director Juanita DeVos is “gutted” by the news.
“We are now forced to do what we and every other small performance in Lethbridge has had to do for years: rent space in a venue that is not designed or zoned for the purposes of gathering people and equipment together for a performance... because we are not allowed to use our space which is not (yet) designed or zoned for the purposes of gathering people together for a performance,” she wrote on the group’s Facebook page.


Blank Space opens for local performers with A Gin Game as first show

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To paraphrase the opening of the’80s TV show the A Team “If you’re an dramatic group, dance troupe, musician or an artist and have no place to perform rehearse or display your work, maybe you can hire — the Blank Space (located at Unit 3 1416 2 Ave S).Vicki Gibson and Dave Ranson perform a  scene from the Gin Game at the Blank Space opening gala, Nov. 1. Photo by Richard Amery
The new artistic venue opened its doors, Nov. 1 with live music and a scene from their first production of Hatrix Theatre’s upcoming presentation of the The Gin Game, Nov. 13-18 and Nov. 20-24.
 The 1976 Donald L Coburn penned Pulitzer prize winning production, which won the 1978 Pulitzer for drama, stars two experienced actors Vicki Gibson and Dave Ranson.
“It’s a two hander, so it’s two people on stage for two acts,” described director Brian Quinn.
“I did it once before in 1981 or 82. I wanted to do it again because it is a good play, a funny play and  it’s even more relevant now to  me as a baby boomer and a lot of people of the baby boomer age,” Quinn described.

“It’s about two people, Weller Martin and Fonsia Dorsey who meet in a nursing home and talk about their lives before and at the nursing home, it‘s a very funny play. it‘s very well written and witty too, he said, adding he had trouble casting actors for the parts.
“The first time I did it , I had to age my actors who were in their late 20s and early 30s, with latex and makeup. We’ll have to age these actors a little,” he said adding the play requires a lot from the actors, if only because of the number of lines to remember.

“In community theatre, they have to balance work and finding time to learn lines. I’ve had actors who read lines in the bath tub because that’s the only time they have to do it or else right before bed. They have to create the characters on top of that,” he said.
 They have both been involved in other Hatrix  productions as Ranson was also in Little Shop of Horrors and several LMT shows. Gibson was in 12 Angry Jurors and was in Les Miserables.
“It’s reflective of what happens as people age,” he noted, the two irascible seniors end up bonding over the game of gin rummy.

 Quinn has been looking for a space like  the Blank Space for several years, as, like many local groups, finding places to perform and rehearse can be a challenge, not to mention expensive.
“But it isn’t just a Hatrix space, it is for any group  who want to use the space,” noted Quinn, who started really looking for a space after  overcoming the the challenges of  trying to stage Spamalot at the Yates in 2014 as they had to work around other organizations and schools who had priority  at the Yates like Lethbridge Musical Theatre.

 Finding a space became all the more important as a long standing relationship with the Moose Hall deteriorated at the end of last year.
 So Vittorio Oliverio and  his investors group  found the old Faith Electronics Building.
“As soon as I saw it I saw the potential of it,” Quinn said.


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.
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