Category Archives: 2017/18 season (100th!)

The irrepressible Marie Dressler’s life, love & career in Alumnae Theatre’s delightful, entertaining Queen Marie

life with more cowbell

Naomi Peltz, Katherine Cappallacci, Siena Dolinski & Seira Saeki. Photo by Bruce Peters.

Alumnae Theatre Company closes its 100th anniversary season—with heart, moxie and rip roaring good fun— with Queen Marie, a musical by Shirley Barrie, directed by Rosemary Doyle, with music direction by Paul Comeau and choreography by Adam Martino.

Queen Marie is a biographical musical about Canadian-born 1930s Hollywood star actress/comedienne Marie Dressler. Director Doyle takes us to the vaudeville stage, complete with proscenium arch, a live band on one side and stall seating on the other. Using minimal set pieces, projected images up centre present show posters and images of various locations as we travel through Dressler’s storied life and career.

queen marie little marieCatherine Ratusny & Tess Keery. Photo by Bruce Peters.

Born Leila Koerber in Cobourg, Ontario, we witness Dressler being bitten by the acting bug at the age of five (Tess Keery), performing in…

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New Ideas: The chaotic metaphysics of life, love & monsters in the water in the funny, moving, poetic Week 3 program

life with more cowbell

Alumnae Theatre Company continues its 30th annual New Ideas Festival (NIF) of short new works, opening the Week Three program last night. It’s the final week of the festival, running up in the Alumnae Studio.

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by Natalie Frijia, directed by Kay Brattan. In 1882 Toronto, 39 people have mysteriously drowned in Lake Ontario—and rumour has it there’s a monster beneath the slate blue water. Rookie reporter Marjorie May (Emma Tse) is determined to get the story, visiting Mary-Anne’s (Stella Kulagowski) pub down by the docks to gather some information. Things get real when they’re joined by the terrified Captain O’Connell (Shawn Lall), who’s barely escaped with his life. As the incoming storm batters the pub, there’s something else out there in the night. Is the creature coming after the Captain to finish what it started?

Nice work from the cast building the intrigue…

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New Ideas 2018: Alternate perceptions, unexplained events & magical connections in the haunting, hilarious, heartfelt Week 2 program

life with more cowbell

Alumnae Theatre Company opened its 30th annual New Ideas Festival (NIF) of short new works last week; the three-week festival presents a different program of plays each week, plus staged readings on Saturdays at noon. I caught the Week Two program up in the Studio last night.

Sweet Mama and the Salty Muffins by Ciarán Myers, directed by Kendra Jones. Haunted by a catchy Appalachian folk song that sends her back to the moment her three-year-old daughter disappeared at an outdoor concert, a mother (Lisa Lenihan) tries to make us see the sense of her account of the inexplicable aftermath of the event. Do we believe her? Is it all in her mind?

Lenihan is quirky and heartbreakingly lonely as the mother in this 15-minute solo piece. Desperate for someone to believe her and neurotically self-conscious of sounding mentally ill, the mother is confident in what she saw. And she…

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Questions for Madeleine Jullian: directing GASH

Interview with Madeleine Jullian about directing GASH – in the final week of Alumnae Theatre Company’s FireWorks series (Nov 8-26, 2017).
https://www.alumnaetheatre.com/fireworks/

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Madeleine Jullian has worked as an actor, writer, and director in Berlin, London, and Toronto.  She produced and directed Nick Dipchand’s solo show The Nature of a Bullet as part of the Toronto Fringe in 2013 and produced a double bill of Sheldon Rosen’s one-act plays, New Order and The Grand Hysteric, at Ryerson University’s Abrams Theatre in 2015.

Madeleine’s written works include Prize Horse, performed at the 2012 New Voices Festival, as well as bagged, created with the 2013 InspiraTO Playwriting Academy.  She also won Pat the Dog’s 24-Hour Playwriting Contest with her play Bunk*R in 2014.  Other directing credits include Caitie Graham’s earlier work Paradise Comics (2014), Positive I.D by Peter Dickinson (2012), and Laurie Campbell’s Just to See You Smile (2012).

Madeleine directs Caitie Graham’s GASH that opens Nov 22nd at Alumnae Theatre.  Let’s find out more: about Madeleine and GASH.

1) Are you…

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Director Call for “Queen Marie” (interviews start May 22)

The 2017/18 season is Alumnae Theatre Company’s 100th – if you can believe it – and in recognition of our history, the season will feature Canadian plays written by women and directed by women.

For the last production of the season, we proudly present Queen Marie (running April 13-28, 2018), by award-winning playwright (and company member) Shirley Barrie.

 

To direct this large-cast, humorous play with music, song and dance, we are seeking an experienced director – either union or non-union.

 

Queen Marie features the traumas and triumphs of Marie Dressler (1868?–1934), a tenacious, flamboyant actor and comedienne from rural Cobourg, Ontario who became internationally famous.  She had a long and checkered career starting at age 14 – performing in roadshows, vaudeville, Broadway, and films including a 1914 silent with Charlie Chaplin, a 1932 “talkie” with Greta Garbo (Anna Christie), and earning a Best Actress Oscar in 1930 for her dramatic role in the film Min and Bill.

 

In a quote attributed to her, she said:  “I’m too homely for a prima donna and too ugly for a soubrette.”

Unlucky in love, she inspired lifelong loyalty in her friends, and was fearless in taking on injustice.

http://projects.latimes.com/hollywood/star-walk/marie-dressler/

Queen Marie was first produced by 4th Line Theatre (Millbrook, Ont.) in 2012.

http://www.shirleybarrie.ca/writing/plays-for-adults/queen-marie

Applications to direct the play for Alumnae Theatre Company are being currently accepted:

Both non-union and union directors are welcome to apply. CAEA directors will be considered under Amateur Policy Contract. Cast is non-union.

We are also seeking a non-union Music Director and Choreographer.

 

Please submit your résumé with a 2-3 sentence statement explaining why you wish to direct Queen Marie to:  queenmarieATC@gmail.com with subject heading: QM Director Call

 

If chosen for an interview, you will be given access to the script and asked to prepare an outline of your vision for the production.

 Interviews begin May 22 and continue as necessary.

http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/directors.html

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Seeking Directors for FireWorks 2017 (apply by April 28)

Next season marks the 100th anniversary of Alumnae Theatre Company, and the slate is dedicated to plays by women, directed by women.  FireWorks, in its 5th year as of 2017, features a provocative lineup of three full-length plays focusing on friendships among women.

Apply to direct one of the plays – the deadline has been extended to April 28, 2017.

FireWorks 2017 runs November 8 – 26 in the 75-seat Studio space at Alumnae Theatre.
Each play runs one week, with 6 performances: Wednesday to Saturday at 8pm, plus matinees on Saturday and Sunday.

This Will Be My Last Transmission – Natalie Frijia
You can’t stop in the Death Zone. Above 8,000 meters, you’re already dying. When a storm traps three women, expert climbers, just below the summit of K2, they face a challenge even greater than climbing mountains: getting down. As the storm rages on the summit a whole different tempest picks up speed at base camp, as the men of camp debate whether the women had the right to climb K2 in the first place, and whether they deserve to be rescued. And the window is quickly closing.

3 Women, 30s;  4 Men, 30 – 40.  One central location, lots of bad weather.

Surrender Dorothy – Liz Best
Online dating’s been around for awhile. But it’s not something you’d ever consider, right?  Until Ally, in her 50s, meets someone – online! She insists that her friends, all seasoned players in the relationship game, share her joy and her online experience. What follows is a hilarious, rueful, touching examination of the murky, ambush-laden search for connection, even love, as played out on the net. Snappy dialogue, penetrating insights as five clever women support each other in taking risks and learning to live again, even when your heart’s been broken.

5 Women, 50s.  One central setting, other suggested locations, many cellphone conversations.

Pose Ball – Caitie Graham
Cata wakes up with an infected tattoo on her leg. When the memory of everyone involved is clouded by either drugs, denial, or desire, whose version of the truth is Cata supposed to believe? POSE BALL is a fierce exploration of a young girl’s sexuality, an act of violence that devastates a friendship, and the question; can truth be subjective? A play about two high school kids adrift in a world they’re ill-equipped to navigate.

2 Women, 16-17; 1 Man, early 20s.  Multiple locations, extensive use of projections.

 

To apply to direct:
Send your résumé and a short (2-3 sentences) statement about why you wish to direct your play of choice. If you are chosen for an interview, you will be given access to the scripts and asked to prepare a detailed outline of your vision for the production.

Note: FireWorks is a development festival; dramaturgy will continue right through production, and the writer will be part of the process.

Extended Deadline for applications: April 28, 2017
Send to: fireworksATC@gmail.com, with subject heading as: 2017 CALL FOR DIRECTORS
(Both MEMBERS and NON-MEMBERS of Alumnae Theatre Company are welcome to submit.)

This is a non-union, non-paying gig.

http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/directors.html

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