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Great summer for A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society

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The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society revisits A  MIdSummer Night’s Dream this summer for their tenth anniversary.

 Their season opens this weekend with a sold out performance at the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens, Friday, July 9 and a performance at Casa, July 10

 Andrew Legg  directed the local theatre group’s inaugural performance of A MidSummer Night’s Dream 10 years ago and is back  to direct  the play again this year.

 

Titania (Megan Fennell) and Oberon (Cole Fetting) are ready for A MidSummer Night’s Dream. Photo By Richard Amery

“The great thing about it is it’s the perfect play. It‘s Shakespeare’s best comedy and I would say it’s Shakespeare’s best play,” Legg said.

 

“So whatever happens the words are always going to be great,” he said, noting putting on  the first play came with it’s own set of challenges as did putting on this one coming out of a pandemic.

 

“When we did it in 2012, there were a lot of what ifs like what if a grant doesn’t come through and what if there isn’t an audience. For this one, there were what ifs like  ‘what if we can’t rehearse’ or ‘what if we have to rehearse over Zoom ’like we had to and ‘what if we don’t have an audience.’ There were a lot of X factors in both of them,” he said, adding luckily restrictions were lifted in time to have full cast rehearsals in the Kinsman Park and book shows at different locations in the city.

 

“It’s been a testament to how well the cast and crew have worked together,” he continued, adding working over  Zoom meant he could work with the cast on character  development and motivations.

“The first Zoom rehearsals weren’t very good, but after  restrictions were lifted we could work together in rehearsals,” he said adding he had to keep the cast numbers down due to Covid and had to double cast a few parts as a result.

 

 He estimated three quarters of the 15 member cast are new faces, though there are several very familiar faces.

 

Cole Fetting, who has been in  six Lethbridge Shakespeare performance Society  productions including last year’s reader’s theatre version of Merry Wives of Windsor, Macbeth, The Tempest, A Comedy of Errors and several others, 

 This year he returns as Oberon, king of the Fairies.

“It‘s been quite an experience,” said Fetting, who graduates from the U of Lethbridge drama program this year.

“ We got to do a lot of character development work. We had to rehearse over Zoom, which was hard to translate into blocking on stage when we could meet. But it’s come together really well,” he said.

“Audiences are going to love it,” he promised, noting he has enjoyed playing Oberon.

“Oberon is a very jealous husband. He decides to play a trick on his wife so he asks Puck to get a flower and that leads to  hilarity and miscommunication and  an excellent farce,” he said.

 

 Megan Fennell, who made her Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society debut in Macbeth as one of the witches, is excited to be part of a MidSummer Night’s dream.

“I gave Merry Wives of Windsor  a miss  because of Covid last year, but s soon as I found they were doing a MidSummer Night’s dream, I wasn’t going to miss it. It’s my favourite Shakespeare play. It was the first play I read in school,” she said, adding she is excited to play Oberon”s wife Titiana.

“I actually auditioned to play Puck, but was delighted to get cast as Titiana,” she said.

“She’s fierce. She’s a force of nature,” she said adding she enjoys the contrast of Titiana. The flower Oberon sent Puck to fetch makes the subject fall in love with the next creature human or animal he or she sees. Oberon’s trick is to get Titiana to fall in love with the next animal she sees, which ends up being a community theatre actor named Bottom, who is turned into a donkey.

“So I get to fight with Cole (Oberon) then become smitten with Trevor (Loman, who plays Bottom).”

 

 Chris Kyle Peterson is another familiar face with the Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society who usually plays more serious characters in in Macbeth, The Tempest and Romeo and Juliet to name just a few.

 She gets to flex her comedic muscles as Puck in A MidSummer Night’s Dream as Puck.

“ Puck likes to play. Puck likes to have his hands in everything. he likes to mess with people and  enjoys watching the results of his meddling,” she said, noting this will be her fifth Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society production.

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Hootenanny plays with dogs, puppets and nosy neighbours to brighten up downtown

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Have a hoot downtown as local thespians brighten up the day with Hootenanny’s new production “The Risky, Yet Rewarding Adventure of Pearl and Dot.

 The Nicola Elson and Julia Wasilewski penned play is about two  elderly neighbours who find friendship and adventure when they both win dogs in a contest, but which run away on an adventure on their own.

 

Ahona Sanyal plays Dot and Anastasia Siceac plays Pearl in the new Hootenanny play. Photo by Richard Amery

The half hour play takes place Wednesday through Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. until July 31

“The play is about Pearl and Dot who are neighbours but not friends. Pearl used to fly airplanes back in the day and Dot used to sail  ships. But now they putter around their homes and gardens. They give each other sideways glances. They’re lonely, but they both have a dream of owning a dog,” described Elson.

 

“But their dogs run away together so Dot and Pearl go around the world trying to find the dogs and spoiler, they become friends,“ Elson continued, keeping an eye on her own brand new puppy before the show’s debut, Wednesday, July 7.

 

“We‘ve been on the waiting list for a dog for a while, so I guess dogs were on my own mind when I wrote the play,” she said, noting she and  Wasilewski starting building the skeleton of the play last year.

 

“It’s a devised  theatre piece, so we fleshed out the details with the actors.”

 

 They cast Ahona Sanyal as Dot and Anastasia Siceac as Pearl, then recruited Serena Lemire as stage manager and  Carla Traughber Simon and Georgia Jeffery to design the set, props and puppy puppets.

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Upside Downtown concert series to activate Rotary Square every Thursday

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The Alllied Arts Council is excited to “activate” downtown with a new after work Thursday concert series.

Shaela Miller opens the Upside Downtown  Concert Series at Rotary Sqaure, Thursday, July 29. Photo by Richard Amery

Every Thursday through to September, Upside Downtown features local musicians playing on Rotary Square from 5-7 p.m. next to Casa, beginning this Thursday with Shaela Miller.

 

“I’m excited to help activate downtown,” said Allied Arts Council  communications director Kelaine Devine.

 

“ Musicians haven’t been able to play live for the past year. And these are some of my favourite musicians performing. Not only are they  great performers, but they give back to the community,” she continued, adding the Allied Arts Councils is working with the City of Lethbridge and received a grant to help fund this concert series.

 

“We’ve been planning this series for a long time. We were waiting for health restrictions to be lifted and to get a grant,” she said.

 

Up and coming funk band Lemba, who usually go by Lemba and the New Testaments performs next Thursday, Aug. 5, Dave McCann plays a solo show Aug. 12, Biloxi Parish is on the square, Aug. 19.

Singer songwriters Wendy Colby and Karen Romanchuk are on deck, Aug. 26, Bailey Kate plays Sept. 2 and Fawns and the Owl Acoustic Lounge owner Steven Foord  wind things down, Sept. 9.

 

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Something for everyone every day this week

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Rock and roll every night and party every day this week if you like, because there is something big happening every day this week.

Things begin tonight, Tuesday, July 27 with the Owl Acoustic Lounge open mic.

Poetry open mics return to the Owl Acoustic Lounge on Wednesday night, July 28.

 

 Centric Music Festival has their third concert Wednesday at 7 p.m. with pianist Gabriel Kastelic and viola player Gabriel Kastelic.

 There will be limited seating at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, but the event is also online. Admission is a $10 donation.

 

 The Geomatic Attic takes over Wednesday with an unusual roof top concert at the Park n Ride

 Wide Skies Reimagined begins at 6 p.m. with a beer gardens and food trucks in the Bowman  Arts Centre parking lot.

 Unfortunately the event is at full capacity. The main show beginning with Leeroy Stagger at 8 p.m. followed by MonkeyJunk. Though the event is free, you needed to book in advance to reserve  a spot due to limited capacity. All 400 seats have been spoken for. If you are one of the lucky ones, Skinny Dyck and Evan Eushenko perform from 6-8 p.m.  If you got a seat, you can access the roof top at 7:30  p.m. through the  south doors on fifth Ave.

 Leeroy Stagger and Rebeltone sound are on at 8:15 p.m.. Monkeyjunk start at 9:30 p.m. The show ends at 11 p.m. and everybody must exit the building by 11:15 p.m. There will be water stations, so bring your own bottle but alcohol is prohibited.

 

Jolene Draper and the Inquisitive Few will be at Henderson Lake Park for arts in the park on Saturday. Photo by Richard Amery

 The Allied Arts Council kicks off a new Thursday after work concert series on July 29 at Casa in Rotary Square. The Upside Downtown concert series features performances every Thursday from 5-7 p.m. Shaela Miller is the first performer. 

 After that, wander across the street where Ontario folk/ punk musician Eamon McGrath will be playing a special patio show at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, July 29 at 7 p.m.

 

And if you are still in the mood for live music, check out the Slice’s regular Thursday night open mic after that.

Friday features Honkers Pub’s usual Friday night open mic. Honker’s Pub has their usual Saturday afternoon open mic as well at 4 p.m.

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About L.A. Beat


L.A. Beat is Lethbridge, Alberta's only online arts and entertainment magazine.

It is designed to support music, art, drama and other cultural endeavours in and around the city.

It will start out as an online presence and then evolve into a print edition which will be distributed at numerous locations in the city.

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