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L.A. Beat

One Act Play Festival set for Sterndale Bennett on Saturday

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 The Chinook Regional One Act Play Festival is set to entertain you all with five excellent plays, April 8 at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre.

Donna  and Robyn Kalau and Cole Fetting rehearse Clarity for the One Act Play Festival. Photo by Richard Amery
The evening, presented by Playgoers of Lethbridge and  ADFA (Alberta Drama Festivals Association),  begins at 6:30 p.m. to accommodate all five plays without the evening go too late.
“It also includes free refreshments at intermission,” said organizer Kate Connolly, who is always excited to see the plays presented.

“Four of the entries will be adjudicated and we have an entry from Medicine Hat who will be hosting the provincial festival, May 26-27,” Connolly said, adding Medicine Hat is part of the Cypress Region, which didn’t have enough entries for their own festival this year, however, Lethbridge welcomes them because they must participate in a regional competition to compete in the provincials.

“They’re the same group that won the festival last year and won the provincials last year,” she said.

 Awards will be given for best original script, best male actor, best female actor, best director and best play.
The best play winner goes to Medicine Hat for the provincials.

“The plays vary in length from 15 to 30 minutes and three of them are original scripts,” Connolly enthused, noting they have entries from Playgoers of Lethbridge members, the Taber Players, University of Lethbridge students and stand up comedian Connor Christmas.

“The theme this year is relationships,” Connolly observed.
U of L student Alexa Long presents “Portraits Post Drowning,” which won the Terry Whitehead competition this year.

Taber Players presents a comedy “Two Fools Who Gained a Measure of  Wisdom,” is a play based on an Anton Chekov story described as “a hilarious romp about a young husband who takes his new wife to visit his eccentric aunt.
”Connor Christmas’s play is “What Did You Do?,” described as a “collective creation piece about life changing events.”

Long time Playgoers of Lethbridge member Rita Peterson presents her original play “Clarity,” about two estranged sisters reconciling.
“It’s about two sisters who have been estranged for a number of years who return home over a family event,” said Peterson who brought it to a Playgoers of Lethbridge workshop hosted by Ron Chambers earlier this year for feedback.
“What happened to them in the past will determine their future,” she said.
“They have to learn from the past and continue,” she continued, noting “Clarity” is her first entry in the one Act Play Festival.

The play includes another Playgoers of Lethbridge veteran Donna Kalau and her daughter Robyn, plus Bailey Wright and Cole Fetting, who has performed in a variety of productions over the past few years with Lethbridge Musical Theatre and Shakespeare in the Park to name a few. He is also in The Taber Players’ entry in the One Act Play Festival.

“Cole plays a cab driver, which is a small, but essential role,” Peterson said.

Director Rita Peterson oversees Donna  and Robyn Kalau and Cole Fetting rehearse Clarity for the One Act Play Festival. Photo by Richard Amery
“I just love doing it. I love being in theatre,” said Fetting, who has enjoyed being part of two different productions in the festival.
“I enjoy performing for Lethbridge audiences,” Fetting continued.

 He is enjoying the contrast of playing a more dramatic role in “Clarity” compared to the more comedic role is “Two Fools Who Gained A Measure of Wisdom.”
“I’m the husband. It is about couples and their different perspectives, which is where the humour lies. It’s very much a comedy,” Fetting said, adding the group was planning on entering the play last year, but it didn’t come together.
Peterson said her play is  definitely not a comedy.

“It is a drama, but there are comedic moments which make you really appreciate the comedy,” she said.
 She has enjoyed working with the cast to make her play come together.

“When you wrote a play, you are really putting yourself out there. We’re all having so much fun in rehearsal. This cast is so talented, I can just put my insecurities aside for the moment and just enjoy it,” she said, adding her script has changed during the rehearsal process to reflect some of the cast’s contributions and interactions with each other.

Peterson is looking forward to watching the other entrants in the One Act play Festival.
“We’re going to see some really good productions. It’s never boring.”
 The One Act Play Festival begins at 6:30 p.m., April 8 in the Sterndale Bennett Theatre. Admission is $10.

 A version of this story appears in the April 5, 2017 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times/Shopper
— By Richard Amery, L.A.Beat Editor
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