Saturday night (Nov 17) was the opening of The Drowning Girls, and as you read in the re-blogged post from Life With More Cowbell, the show was a thing of beauty.
One of the great things about being involved in a production is the chance to watch it grow and change, because you get to see it several times. Producer Andy Fraser had commented to me that she had noticed such a difference between rehearsals just a few days apart. She even mentioned that I should look out for a particular moment: when Alice (Jennifer Neales) and Bessie (Tennille Read) are portraying Scotland Yard policemen who’ve cornered the killer George Joseph Smith (portrayed by Margaret – actor Emily Opal Smith – no relation!) as he’s come to collect the insurance money on his final victim. They shine their flashlights on him, and Emily’s profile appears gigantic on the north wall of the Studio. Creepy , and so effective! There was a glitch with one of the flashlights on Saturday, so the image wasn’t totally crisp, but it got the point across.
The audience was awed – rapt but responsive; and the amazing cast earned a standing ovation.
Yes, it was hot in the theatre. Some might even say tropical; quite unexpected for Alumnae’s often icy Studio at this time of year. Sorry, folks, but with the cast clad in what basically amounts to underwear and/or wet dresses for the entire show, it was necessary to keep them warm! So anyone planning to come see The Drowning Girlsshould dress lightly – short sleeves would be the way to go. And leave your coat in a locker downstairs!
After an opening night reception (BIG thanks to Sandy Schneider and her team for arranging and catering that delicious spread), some of the crew and one brave actor continued the party at nearby watering hole Betty’s.
At Betty’s, director Taryn Jorgenson shared her unofficial tagline for the show, which she used to entice straight male friends to come see it: “Three hot girls get wet… in white.” Yep, that kinda says it all!
Master carpenter/plumbing wrangler Mike Peck’s brother Gord was also present, and he took the opportunity to question actor Emily Smith about “nippleage”. No, there wasn’t any (and Gord, a theatre tech, seemed a bit disappointed by that): Emily informed us that the cast had discovered the necessity of padded bras early on in the rehearsal process!
I asked Emily which of the other characters she portrays (other than the bride Margaret) is her favourite, and she confessed that the chirpy swimmer Miss Brighton, who is used to demonstrate Smith’s murder method to the court, is probably the most fun to play. In real life, that scene never actually took place in court as it does in the play, Emily told me. Forensic pathologist Bernard Spilsbury did come up with the solution by using similar experimentation with tubs and volunteers, but not in open court. Check out the details at http://murderpedia.org/male.S/s/smith-george-joseph.htm
The Drowning Girls continues its run until Dec 1. Performances are Wed – Sat at 8pm, and Sunday Nov 25 is a 2pm show followed by a Talkback. Pay cash at the door (2-for-1 Wed; $20 Thu – Sat; PWYC Sun) if you reserve a seat by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or purchase tickets online (Thu/Fri/Sat only) at http://www.ticketweb.ca/snl/Search.action?query=the+drowning+girls