New Ideas: week three opening

 The mini-snow storm lsat night didn’t scare too many away from this opening & we had a decent house, considering. A very strong program this week: four plays on love and loss.

Letting Go (by Neale Kimmel, dir. by Joanne Williams) features actors, Sarah Cody & Robin Cunningham as young couple saying goodbye at a Union Station. He’s going to Vancouver to pursue his dreams, but she wants to stay in Toronto and can’t do a long-distance relationship. And they’re really having trouble saying goodbye. Razie Brownstone does the VIA Rail announcer voice-over & plays an older woman who witnesses some of the couple’s struggle. Can’t say more than that ‘cuz I don’t want to give away the fun. Very funny & charmingly poignant too. Nicely done!

From Here to There and Back Again (by Rosemary Doyle, dir. by Cliona Kenny) first appeared in the TTC-themed Write Now readings; playwright Doyle refers to it as a very short two-act play. Actors Justyne Escujuri, Matt Jensen, Maciek Kaciak, Aine Magennis & Anne Shepherd are all Queen street car passengers, drifting off into their own thoughts, & also flirting & interacting in some unexpected ways with each other. We see them several months later & get a glimpse of how some of the relationships have changed. I really liked this play when I first saw it & it was a pleasure to see again. Amazing ensemble work from the cast.

Elegy for a Lost Bookmark (by Nicholas Sgouros, dir. by Valary Cook) features actors Darren Harris & Sarah Williamson (Williamson was in the Alum production of She Stoops to Conquer & Sgouros also appeared in Frances and Marybeth in week one). A man searching a beach for his lost bookmark encounters a woman lounging & reading, & the two make a connection based on their love of books. A lovely, thoughtful piece, with some nice work from the two actors.

Two Weeks in Normandy (translated/adapted from Villégiature by Henry Meilhac by David Nicholson, dir. by Anne Harper) features Linzee Barclay (who was featured in Cabbagetown Theatre’s No Sweetheart Required) & Derek Perks (last seen at Alum in The Real Inspector Hound). Have to steal from the program notes on this one: “How does a 1950s Parisienne tell a man his wife has left him? Maybe the same way he breaks the news about her husband…” My fav of the festival. This play is stylish, with hilariously funny dialogue & some very sexy moments – Barclay & Perks have amazing chemistry.

Shouts to Food Goddesses Sandy Schneider and Bev Atkinson (who also catered the week one opening) for the great eats, & to PJ Hammond & Kay Montgomery on box office, & Danielle Landry on bar. Bumped into Kaitlyn Riordan (Hay Fever) and theatre blogger Sam Mooney, both there to see the show – & both big fans of the Alum. Check out Sam’s review from Mooney on Theatre: http://www.mooneyontheatre.com/2011/03/review-new-ideas-festival-week-3-alumnae-theatre/#more-7060

I’ll be back soon with the scoop on Act II of Moon and Murna (the noon reading this Saturday).

There’s still a chance to catch the festival & I highly recommend reserving in advance – the festival draws big crowds & tends to sell out. For more info & to book tix, please visit the Alumnae website: www.alumnaetheatre.com

p.s. – this is post #200, folks. Woo hoo!!!

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