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


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.

“ I work at the university so wanted to have a cost of  all university students,” she said, noting Siceac graduated last year.

“ We were going to do another play last year, but it got cancelled due to Covid and Anastasia was supposed to be in it so I brought her back for this play,” Elson said.

 Anastasia Siceac plays Pearl in the new Hootenanny play. Photo by Richard Amery

“ It‘s an all ages show, it’s very physical and there’s lots of movement and puppets.”

 It’s an all ages show designed for all ages.


“There’s lots of  layers. It’s like a Pixar film. It for children, but there’s extra layers for adults too,” she continued.

 The play is free to attend as it is part of the City of Lethbridge’s downtown revitalization  program. 

There are plenty of puppets in the new Hootenanny play. Photo by Richard Amery


“They want people to come downtown. It’s in Rotary Square outside Casa and there's new art exhibits here. So It’s mutually beneficial,” she said.


 They are also performing, July 24 at Nicholas Sheran park as part of Arts in the park.

More information is available at https://hootenannyca.wordpress.com

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor