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Andrew Legg brings Trader Tales back to Fort Whoop Up

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Lethbridge has a  fascinating wild west history, back when Fort Whoop Up was operating circa 1870, so local actor and director 

Andrew Legg is excited to bring Trader Tales back to Fort Whoop Up this summer. Photo by Richard Amery

Andrew Legg has dug up stories about the more interesting characters who hung around Fort Whoop up for a brand new Trader Tales, July 23 at the Fort.

 

“ Fort Whoop Up was only around for  a really short period of time,” said Andrew Legg, who  dug into the history once his production of  A MidSummer Night‘s Dream for The Lethbridge Shakespeare performance Society was well underway.

 

“ So I’ve been researching a 10 year block around 1870,” he said adding he learned stories about Fort Whoop up Founder  J J Healy and Jerry Potts and some of the more interesting characters who came to Southern Alberta from Montana, mostly, looking  to make their fortunes by trading supplies and whiskey to First Nations in exchange for buffalo robes when the fort was founded in 1869 at  the intersection of the St. Mary and Belly River, now known as the Oldman River.

 

 The actual Fort was actually located outside of  Lethbridge near the airport rather than in the coulee where the current replica is located.

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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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Good Times ready to bring back the laughs

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There’s been precious little to laugh about during the past year and a half, but Lethbridge comedy club Good Times is counting on people being ready for their share of chuckles when they reopen, July 2.

 

Johnny Pogo is excited to bring back Comedy as Good Times re-opens. Photo by Richard Amery

Johnny Pogo, Faris Hytiaa and  Brad D will be the local comedians performing for the grand re-opening shows on July 2 and 3.

 

Since closing in November, Good Times, has been painted, there are pictures of famous comedians on the walls and the owners rescued the  comfortable chairs from Average Joes.

“People are ready to laugh, so we are counting on there being g a crowd, said one of the owners Johnny Pogorzelski, noting  They  are re-opening  at a limited capacity  of 70.

 

“It’s pretty tight in there when we are at our capacity of 100,” he continued.

“So get your tickets early and often,” he chuckled, noting  you can save five dollars by buying them online in advance.

 For now, they will be opening on Fridays and Saturdays with Saturdays focusing on touring comedians.

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