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New West Theatre exploring the realm of radio plays

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New west Theatre is  still here. But instead of being on stage at the Yates Theatre, they are on the air performing old school radio plays for the next two weeks.
 They air Thursday nights at 8 p.m.New West Theatre artistic director Kelly Reay. Photo by Richard Amery
“We’re still here and though people can’t interact with us face to face, we still want to interact with our audience,” said New West Theatre artistic director Kelly Reay.


 Last week, they debuted  their first night of classic Alfred Hitchcock plays.
 They continue in  the Hitchcock vein tonight with “ The 39 Steps” and Sherlock Holmes’  ‘Murder at the Casbah.’


“ ‘The 39 Steps’ was written as a radio play to perform on stage. So if we were performing it live, we‘d have a set that looks like a radio station,” Reay said.
“And ‘ Murder at the Casbah’ is a classic Sherlock Holmes mystery, that is solved like only Sherlock Holmes can,” he continued, adding they just finished recording next week’s production of ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” sandwiched between two episodes of Flash Gordon.


“Those have been a lot of fun to do, looking at science fiction through the eyes of  the 1930s,” he said.

People who want to hear the shows can e-mail New West Theatre and they will be sent a link.


 Most of the plays have been public domain and will be available through the public domain, except the Hitchcock episodes.


“ They were on our website for a few days because we could only air them for a specific window. The public domain shows will be up for longer,” Reay said.

Like all theatre companies, they are experimenting during Covid.

 

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Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society lends a laugh with Merry Wives of Windsor online

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Shakespeare performed in a pandemic, so The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society plans to  perform  during the Covid 19 crisis— one way or the other.
 As Covid safety protocols have been lessened, The 12 actors had their first read through on Thursday of John Poulsen’s reader’s theatre version of the farce the Merry Wives of Windsor, for an online presentation of the production on July 3 at 7 p.m., to be filmed at the Gate.

Chelsea Fitzsimons returns to play Slender in Merry Wives of Windsor. Photo by Richard Amery
“Thursday was an unmitigated disaster, wasn’t it,” asked Poulsen asking for confirmation from a few of the actors trickling into the Gate for rehearsal.
“But Friday was a lot better. So it was a mitigated disaster because we learned a lot. Though everyone left feeling kind of bummed. All 12 actors stayed. They were willing to experiment,” he continued.


The first read through was also a test of whether they would be able to use Zoom to broadcast, but ran into a few technical issues, so they tried an alternate approach during Friday’s rehearsal and moved to a two camera strategy for Saturday’s rehearsal.


 The end result is there will be broadcasts on Youtube as well as the Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society Facebook page on July 3, 11 and 17 most likely from the Gate Church with a limited audience of 50. There may be future broadcasts added this summer including possibly at Galt Gardens.


 They also have a couple of performances scheduled for the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens, though the official date is to be announced.


“Shakespeare performed during a pandemic (the bubonic plague in 1603-1613, during which London playhouses were shut down 60 per cent of the time) and he went on the road with his troupe and wrote plays. I think he rewrote Romeo and Juliet during it,” Poulsen said.

“This could change the way we do things in the future,” Poulsen said.

Poulsen has written several reader’s theatre adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays including Merry Wives of Windsor.


“Part of my job at the university is research and I found 50 per cent of kids really hate Shakespeare and the other 50 per cent love Shakespeare. So I wrote a 25 minute reader’s theatre designed to fit in a high school class and a 45 minute version.

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Good Times bringing back the funny with live comedy Tuesdays through Saturdays

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If there was ever a time to laugh it is during  a pandemic. So with that in mind, Good Times has re-opened  their venue and stage to showcase local comics and to provide a few yuks.Good Times has re-opened. Photo  by Richard Amery
 “It‘s not about making a lot of money right now, it’s about getting our name back out there. So We’re excited to bring the funny,” said Good Times co owner John Pogorzelzki.


 Good Times had their grand re-opening last night, May 26.


 They will be having nightly shows  for the rest of the week in up to and including Saturday at 7 p.m. each night and are planning for next week as well. There are also 9:30 shows on Friday and Saturday.
“ Last night was  the grand re-opening and we had about 20 people, which wasn’t the sell out we expected. Hopefully it will get better,” said Pogorzelski, who was one of the featured comics performing.


“It was great to be back on stage again. It felt like the first time I got on stage, but better,” he said, adding they are fortunate to have a strong stable of local comedians to draw from.


“It will be similar, but it won’t be exactly the same show each night,” he continued, noting they aren’t ready to bring in out of town comedians yet. So  ticket prices are five dollars a show. So we’re not charging top dollar for comedians you can see any day of the week,” he said.
“Usually tickets are $10 or $15 but that’s for out of town comedians.

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New West Theatre cautiously optimistic their next season will go on

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Kathy Zaborsky was part of New West's production of Dear Johnny Deere. Photo by Richard AmeryNew West Theatre, like everybody else, is on hiatus until  the Covid 19 panic passes. However they  are ready to go as soon as people are able to support live entertainment in the communities.
“ We‘re reasonably optimistic though we are on edge,” observed New West Theatre Artistic Director Kelly Reay.


 “ But we had to cancel the last few shows of Dear Johnny Deere. We’re reasonably optimistic life will return to normal by a reasonable time,” he continued.

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