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L.A. Beat

Auditions this week for A Christmas Carol and The Gin Game for shows at Blank Space Theatre

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Two auditions are happening on Monday for two different fundraising productions for a new theatre space , the Blank Space theatre on Monday, Sept. 10 at  the new location (1422 2 ave South), one block east of Earls in the former Faith Electronics building.
Auditions for Janet Allard and Michael Bigelow Dixon’s adaption of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” take place Sept. 10 and 11 at 6:15.  and 4 p.m. on Sept. 15.
 The production takes the stage Dec. 1-15 at the Blank Space Theatre, Wednesday through Saturday and possibly the Tuesdays depending on ticket sales.

“ I fell in love with the script as soon as I read it,” said director Juanita DeVos, noting the eight person cast will be playing multiple characters in the play.

“Everyone gets to play Scrooge to reflect his transition, she said, adding the cast requires a boy and a girl between the ages of 10- 14 as well.
“It’s almost word for word the text from the story and it‘s really simple to stage. It’s a liquid stage using lighting to show characters changing,” she said.

 The play will be around an hour -and-a-half long including an intermission with cider, coffee and treats.

“ It will be a great chance for everyone to raise a glass of eggnog to the season and it will be a fundraiser for the space,” DeVos added.

 Auditions are also Sept. 10 for  a Nov. 13-17 and 20-24 Hatrix Theatre production of  D.L. Coburn’s 1977 play “ the Gin Game,” which won a  Pulitzer Prize in 1978.

The cast requires two mature actors to play two seniors who connect in a nursing home over a game of gin rummy. The Broadway hit has starred well known actors like Hume Cromyn and Jessica Tandy; Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore; and James Earl Jones and Cicily Tyson. It was also made into a 2003 movie with Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke.

“It‘s about these two seniors in a seniors home,” summarized director Brian Quinn, adding the first half of the play starts off with a lot  of humour, but it becomes more serious in the second half.
Weller Martin is  a cantankerous,  grouchy man who likes to play  gin rummy and solitaire  on the verandah. He is a little cantankerous and Meets Fiona Dorsey.
“ He teaches her how to play gin rummy and she proceeds to beat him every time. She challenges him and he storms off after the first act,” Quinn continued.
 “Act two gets a little more personal, as they start to get to know each other and we learn about their lives in the past,” he said.

 He noted while more mature actors would be ideal, Katt Panic Makeup. has been recruited to age younger actors if needed.

 “ It’s really easy to stage,” Quinn continued, adding the set will be minimal so to focus on the actors.

“For baby boomers, of which I’m at the tail end of, it will be increasingly relevant. These are issues we‘ll all be facing,” he said, adding the characters are timeless.
Tickets for this show will be $20 as it is a fundraiser to make enough money to run the space for at least six months and allow time to apply for grants according to Blank Space Board member Vittorio Oliverio, who joins a board including several familiar faces in the local theatre scene including Karolyn Harker, Juanita and Brent DeVos and Kirk Boehmer.


 The space will be available for any local theatre group  to rent for rehearsals. Musical acts will also be welcomed.
 Quinn noted the risers will be set up around the stage semi-permanently, though they can be moved if needed.
 The goal is to have between six to eight shows a year in the space.

“ We’re hoping local theatre groups will want to support it. It will be able to seat 100 people. We have our own lights and sound equipment and there are rafters 16 feet up so we can hang our lights. There is even a second level  so we can even have a space for a lighting and sound booth on the second level,” Quinn continued.
“We’ll even be able to have a bar on hand,” he said.

He noted the Blank Space Society needs volunteers to help out in any capacity as volunteer hours are recognized in kind for grant purposes.
“We need 8,000 volunteer hours for grants,” he said.
 Auditions for “The Gin Game” are at 7 p.m., Monday, Sept. 10 at the Blank Space Theatre.
 Auditions for A Christmas Carol are at 6:15, Sept. 10 and Sept. 11 and at 4 p.m.  on Sept. 15.
 The Gin Game runs  Nov. 13-17 and 20-24.
A Christmas Carol will be during the first two weeks of  December.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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