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Celebrate Christmas with Shakespeare in The Park’s Shakespeare meets Dickens

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The second annual Shakespeare meets Dickens returns to  Casa, Dec. 12.Stephanie Savage is excited to sing with Bryson Brown, pianist Jillian Bracken, Lyle Boswall and Cole Fetting in Shakespeare meets Dickens, taking place at Casa, Dec. 12.. Photo by Richard Amery
“ It’s our second annual fundraiser for the Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society,” said Shakespeare in the Park president Kate Connolly, noting this coming summer’s production of  the Tempest, directed by DJ Gellatly, will be the local Shakespeare  group’s seventh summer production in Galt Gardens.


“Shakespeare Meets Dickens was extremely successful last year, so we’re doing it for a second time,” Connolly said.


“It’s a combinations of Victorian era Shakespeare poems and Christmas pieces under the direction of our fabulous music director and pianist Jillian Bracken,” she enthused.
“ The first half of the of the evening is a reader’s theatre  of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol created by Richard Epp, a retired professor of the U of L theatre department,” she continued, noted there will be several familiar faces on stage including ShCole Fetting bones up on his Shakespeare with pianist Jillian Bracken during rehearsals for Shakespeare meets Dickens, taking place at Casa, Dec. 12.. Photo by Richard Ameryakespeare in the Park actors and directors,  and actors and board members of Playgoers of Lethbridge and Hatrix Theatre, plus university of Lethbridge students.

Some familiar faces include Cole Fetting, who was in this summer‘s production of A Comedy of Errors, Chris Peterson who was in last summer’s production of Romeo and Juliet, Shelly David, who was on stage with Hatrix Theatre’s  12 Angry Jurors as well as Playgoers of Lethbridge’s “Savannah Sipping Society,” Lyle Boswall who was in Hatrix’s  production of  “Spamalot”, Bryson Brown and many more.
“The second half will be Shakespeare songs and songs from Shakespeare inspired musicals like ‘West Side Story’ and ‘Kiss Me Kate.There will also be six or seven well known Christmas carols,” Connolly continued, adding there will also be Victorian and Tudor era inspired food and drink.


“The food and drink is free and Victorian and Tudor in flavour, so there will be Victorian sandwiches and shortbreads and mince pies. And we have a liquor license, so we will be selling wine and local beer,” she said.
Rita Peterson is a familiar face behind the scenes and on stage with Playgoers of Lethbridge.


 She is excited tobe part of her first Shakespeare Meets Dickens performance.
“Kate asked me to be part of it and I love working with her, so I said yes,” Peterson said.

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Playgoers of Lethbridge holding auditions for British Comedy “ Beyond a Joke”

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If you are looking to meet some interesting  people and enjoy a fun winter project, Playgoers of Lethbridge is holding auditions for their winter production of  Derek Benfield‘s 1980 British comedy, “Beyond a Joke.”
Auditions for the play are Nov. 28 and 29 at 7 p.m. at Casa.  Because the Yates Centre  is closed for renovations, Playgoers of Lethbridge has decided to do a dinner theatre at the Italian Canadian Club, Feb. 6-10.
 Director Elaine Jagielski is revisiting the play, which Playgoers of Lethbridge performed around 15 years ago.
“It’s about a couple who live in a house where unfortunate things keep happening. People  are dying. When their daughter’s boyfriend Geoff  comes in, he suspects they are murders,” said Jagielski, noting the play is a comedy.


“Jane and Andrew's pleasant country house is accident prone. Six people have already died there in unfortunate and embarrassing accidents. When daughter Sally's young man Geoff arrives for the weekend unaware of the house's reputation, he mistakenly deduces from conversational confusion that the deaths were due to sinister circumstances. A body is discovered in the cupboard and a visiting vicar passes peacefully away in the garden just as Geoff's parents call unexpectedly.

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The Debaters to discuss Alberta and Christmas in Lethbridge

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Three Canadian comedians debate the most important issues of the day—  ‘Is Alberta The Greatest Province in the Country’ and ‘Which is Better? Fake Christmas Trees or real Christmas Trees.’Steve Patterson hosts the Debaters in Lethbridge this week. Photo submitted
 As comedian Scott Patterson brings The Debaters to the Enmax Centre, Nov. 24.


 Patterson, host of the popular CBC radio show, the Debaters will be joined by Albertan raised comedians and actors Howie Miller and Ryan Belleville.
Patterson noted the tour includes comedians from the provinces they are touring in to ensure the show is tailored to the audience.


“One of our comedians is an Albertan, and the other is from Calgary, but moved to Toronto,” said Patterson, from “lovely Trail B.C.” He has worked with the comedians many times before.
 Patterson noted each comedian performs an individual stand-up comedy set, then will engage in the two debates.


“They get a month to prepare for the debate. Even I don’t get to see what they came up with until the show so I can have a genuine reaction,” Patterson said, adding the live performance runs  the same way and ends up being an extended version of the broadcast, though this show won’t be broadcasted.


“Comedy isn’t like  music in that people don’t tune in to hear their favourite jokes.  So every show is a really unique experience,” he said, noting  there are only three Alberta dates— Red Deer,  and Banff in addition to Lethbridge.


“So we‘ll probably do the ‘Is Alberta the best province’ debate at all of them and we might  do the Christmas Trees debate,” he said.

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New West Theatre and Theatre Outré explore the lighter side of death with Vigil

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New West Theatre has a busy month with three productions taking place all over the city in the next two months.

Erica Hunt and Jay Whitehead star in New West Theatre/ Theatre Outré’s production of  Vigil, Nov. 18-25 at the Trianon Gallery. Photo By Richard Amery
 First up is a “dark comedy with heart,” as New West Theatre  and Theatre Outré bring Calgary playwright Morris Panych’s “ Vigil” to life at the Trianon (104 5th Street South), Nov. 15-25.
“It’s a bucket list role for Jay. And Erica gets to play the old woman we all know and love,” observed director Kathy Zaborsky, who has worked with cast members Jay Whitehead and Erica Hunt with both Theatre Outré and New West Theatre productions.


“It’s my first time directing a straight  ahead play rather than a musical comedy revue,” Zaborsky said.


“Vigil is a classic Canadian play, It has been produced all over the place over the past 20 years,” she said.


 Vigil is about a young man who comes to visit his dying aunt in her attic, but the visit lasts a lot longer than he expected to because she continues to survive.


“ It’s a dark comedy about caregiving for an elderly relative. So anybody who has ever been a caregiver will be able to identify with it,” she continued.


“This play has a lot of comedy, but it also has a lot of heart,” she added.
 “I absolutely love this play,” she said.
Jay Whitehead, who plays the young man, Kemp, is enjoying being part of the production.

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