New Ideas Festival: Attraction, secrets & brave new worlds in eclectic, insightful Week Two program

Review of the Week Two lineup in New Ideas Festival 2017.  Week Two continues to Sun March 19 – a different lineup starts Wed March 22, and wraps up the festival on March 26.

life with more cowbell

Alumnae Theatre Company continues its 2017 edition of the New Ideas Festival (NIF) with an eclectic Week Two program. The annual festival includes three weeks of short new plays and full-length readings, including four plays and one reading each week, running in the Studio space.

The Red Lacquered Box by Burke Campbell, directed by Lynn Weintraub. In this one-woman period drama, secretary Madame Gilles (Aleksandra Maslennikova) relates what she knows about the events leading up to the scandalous tragedy involving her employer Madame Tullée. Maslennikova’s Mme Gilles is a fastidious, bright-eyed charmer; a fine performance as she shifts between characters, including the dramatic, effervescent Mme Tullée and her suave, sophisticated lover Derek. What is the significance of that red lacquered box?

Parallax by Michelle Glennie, directed by Ara Glenn-Johanson. Brave new worlds collide in this hilarious, sharp tale of two pairs of friends/colleagues boldly going. Physicist/surgeon Marie Soleil (Melanie…

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“The Red Lacquered Box” – a psychological thriller in New Ideas Festival 2017

Playwright Burke Campbell on his short play The Red Lacquered Box, part of the Week Two lineup in Alumnae Theatre Company’s 29th annual New Ideas Festival. Week Two runs Wed – Sunday, March 15 – 19. Week Three starts March 22, and features a different lineup of plays that run 15 – 30 minutes each.

See http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/new-ideas-festival-2017.html for more info. Tickets are only $15/week!

Burke Campbell

© Burke Campbell 011 - Aleksandra Maslennikova - cropped Aleksandra Maslennnikova as “Madame Giles”, in The Red Lacquered Box. Photo by Burke Campbell

The curtain is going up on the second week of the New Ideas Festival, at the Alumnae Theatre. My play, THERED LACQUERED BOX, will receive its premiere. The psychological thriller stars Aleksandra Maslennikova. As “Madame Giles”, she explains the incredible events that have led to a public scandal, one that has sent shock waves through polite society. Directed by Lynn Weintraub. Stage managed by Ksenia Sabouloua. Book early, as the festival usually sells out.

© Burke Campbell 021 - Lynn Weintraub cropped Director Lynn Weintraub

The Red Lacquered Box by Burke Campbell
March 15-19, 2017
Wednesday to Saturday 8pm
Saturday + Sunday 2:30pm

In the late 1800s, in Paris, France, a tragic incident shocks polite society. Madame Giles, secretary to Madame Tullée, relates the details of the terrible event, casting light on this dark mystery.

Playwright: Burke Campbell

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Sitting in on rehearsal for “The Clean House”, March 5

Somewhat delayed post about the full-cast rehearsal of The Clean House that bloggergal watched on Sunday March 5.

In addition to the actors, director Ali Joy Richardson and stage manager Lizz Armstrong, Assistant Director Nevada Banks was there, and producer Laura Jabalee Johnston arrived later.

Scenes worked on included the serio-comic moment when workaholic doctor Lane (Andrea Irwin) confides to her sister Virginia (Annemieke Wade) that her surgeon husband Charles (Neil Silcox) is having an affair.  Lane also works up to firing her Brazilian housekeeper, Matilde (Marina Moreira), who doesn’t like to clean so much!

Rehearsal shot of Annemieke Wade as Virginia in “The Clean House”. Photo: producer Laura Jabalee Johnston

“Go with your instinct, and we’ll figure out optimum funny,” Ali directed actor Annemieke Wade (Virginia) on a bit of physical comedy.

There was a stumble-through of Act II scene 5 – “the longest scene in the play”, as Ali noted.   In this scene, Charles boldly brings his new “soulmate” Ana (Lilia Leon) to meet his wife.  Virginia and Matilde are there to witness the awkward encounter.

At one point, actor Andrea Irwin (Lane) requested guidance from director Ali Joy Richardson:  “Do you want me to freak out there, or hold the freak-out until…?”

We had a special guest at rehearsal:  Annemieke’s 11-month old daughter Vesper.  AD Nevada entertained Vesper in another room for the most part, but the baby got her on-stage moment in Scene 5.  Annemieke’s character Virginia is supposed to bring drinks for everyone, and Vesper played “the role of the serving tray”, in Ali ‘s words!

Photos of the action courtesy of producer Laura Jabalee Johnston.

Rehearsal shot – Matilde (Marina Moreira) watches as Charles (Neil Silcox) dances with Ana (Lilia Leon).
Photo: Laura Jabalee Johnston

The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl runs April 7-22 at Alumnae Theatre.

The web page http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/the-clean-house.html will be updated this week with team bios and photos, etc.  Also visit the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1301005259957126/

 

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“Proof” at The Red Sandcastle Theatre: The Review

Alumnae Theatre Company member Carina Cojeen branches out with her own company: Theatre UnBlocked. Their inaugural production, David Auburn’s Proof, runs to March 19 at Red Sandcastle Theatre, and features another Alumnae Theatre Company member, Andrea Irwin, in the cast.
https://www.facebook.com/pg/TheatreUnBlocked/events/?ref=page_internal

The Entertainment Fairy

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Last night, an opportunity presented itself for me to witness one of my favorite stories brought to life on the Toronto stage. So how could I turn away from that? Walking down through my favorite area of “The Six,“…Queen St East, on a crisp Thursday evening, I was surprised to know that this theatre existed, despite this being a place I often frequent. But there it was…the Red Sandcastle Theatre.

I walked through the signature red entrance, and inside the magic began. New theatre company, Theatre UnBlocked; lead by their creator and producer Carina Cojeen, have decided to bring the public a show that not only has a high degree of relevance today and relatable to many aspects of life, but is a Tony Award winning play and Pultitzer Prize winner also. This show is none other than the wonderful and thought provoking, “PROOF,”…

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March 10, 2017 · 10:07 pm

New Ideas Festival: Connection, reflection & living with illness in thoughtful, funny Week One program

Catch Week One lineup of the 2017 New Ideas Festival just until Sunday March 12. There’ll be different lineups in Weeks Two and Three, running to March 26. Tickets only $15 per week, plus PWYC for Saturday readings.
See http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/new-ideas-festival-2017.html for details.

life with more cowbell

Alumnae Theatre Company opened the 29thNew Ideas Festival (NIF) with a strong Week One program in its Studio space last night. The annual juried festival includes three weeks of short new plays and full-length readings, including four plays and one reading each week.

Call by Rosemary Doyle, directed by Rebecca Ostroff. A hilarious look at the never-ending hum of talking without communicating, set in a busy office environment where chatterbox Millennial receptionist Sandra (Jennifer-Beth Hanchar) is constantly in conversation with a friend in between fielding business calls. Frazzled HR Manager Laura (Shalyn McFaul) is unplugged on a meditation retreat, struggling to maintain silence and stay off electronic devices. Meanwhile, her skeezy colleague Mark (Andrew Batten, who also wrote a play, included in this week’s program) is covering for her at work, wreaking havoc in her absence with a laissez faire attitude and inappropriate remarks, including a hysterical comedy…

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Sitting in on rehearsal for “The Clean House” (Feb 26)

Last Sunday (Feb 26), bloggergal sat in for part of a rehearsal for Alumnae Theatre Company’s production of  The Clean House.   Director Ali Joy Richardson had actors Neil Silcox (married surgeon Charles) and Lilia Leon (his patient, Ana) work some of their scenes together.  I saw them meet in Charles’ office for [what Ali decided was] the first time and be struck simultaneously by Cupid’s arrow.  So sweet and joyous!  I saw them find nuances a scene that occurs later in the play, when Charles’ frantic neediness begins to tire and annoy Ana.

Lovely work from the actors, who took Ali’s insightful and often humorous direction on board, and made beautiful incremental adjustments to their performances.  Stage manager Lizz Armstrong kept everything on schedule, and made blocking and production notes – like necessary props, or the placement of a staircase on the set.

I was not able to stay for the actors’ work with music coach Sam Gaetz (yes, Charles and Ana sing a duet!), but apparently it went very well.

Looking forward to seeing the characters develop.  Will be sitting in on a full-cast rehearsal next Sunday.  clean-house-image

 

The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl runs April 7-22 at Alumnae Theatre.  The basic info at http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/the-clean-house.html will be updated shortly with team bios and  photos, etc.  Also check out the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1301005259957126/

 

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First read-through of “The Clean House”, Feb 21

Last night in the lobby* of Alumnae Theatre, director Ali Richardson presented her cast doing a first read-through of the script of The Clean House, the final show in Alumnae Theatre Company’s season.  It was the first time many of the cast had met, but they did an amazing job, aided by producer Laura Jabalee Johnston’s reading of the often-funny stage directions.  Also present for this first read were set designer Orly Zebak, costume designer Daina Valiulis, props designer Helen Monroe, and sound designer Nick Potter.   Stage Manager Lizz Armstrong and Production Manager/lighting designer Steph Raposo unfortunately could not be there; they’re currently working on other shows.  Several Alumnae Theatre Company reps attended by invitation, including bloggergal (yours truly), Alumnae’s President Brenda Darling, and marketing team members Carina Cojeen (who took the photo) and Jeanette Dagger.

Sarah Ruhl’s delightful and semi-mystical play The Clean House was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in Drama.

L-R: Annemieke Wade (Virginia), Lilia Leon (Ana), Andrea Irwin (Lane), Marina Moreira (Matilde), Laura Jabalee Johnston (producer), Ali Richardson (director) at the first read. Neil Silcox (Charles) would be at far left. Photo: Carina Cojeen.

L-R: Annemieke Wade (Virginia), Lilia Leon (Ana), Andrea Irwin (Lane), Marina Moreira (Matilde), Laura Jabalee Johnston (producer), Ali Richardson (director) at the first read. Neil Silcox (Charles) would be at far left. Photo: Carina Cojeen.

In it, Lane (played by Andrea Irwin) is a buttoned-up workaholic Connecticut doctor who hires a young Brazilian woman, Matilde (Marina Moreira) as her housekeeper.  But Matilde (the Portugese pronounciation is approximately “ma-chil-jee”) hates to clean – she’d rather spend her time coming up with the perfect joke.  Lane’s sister, Virginia (Annemieke Wade), a bored but smart-mouthed stay-at-home wife, is a confidante to both.   Lane’s surgeon husband Charles (Neil Silcox) is mentioned, but conspicuously absent for almost all of Act I.  He shows up in Act II, falling madly in love with one of his patients, Ana (Lilia Leon).  The resulting love triangle was played out both comically and with deep emotion – a beautiful balancing act by the actors, especially at this early stage.

 

Looking forward to seeing this production as it develops in rehearsals!  The finished article will be presented on the Main Stage at Alumnae Theatre, April 7 – 22.

See the Facebook event (https://www.facebook.com/events/1301005259957126/) and Alumnae Theatre website for more info and news.

PERFORMANCES:  Wed – Sat at 8pm; Sun 2pm.

TICKETS:  2-for-1 Wed; $20 on Thu/Fri/Sat; PWYC Sun.
Purchase online in advance (http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/tickets.html), or reserve and pay cash on arrival.  Please note that in-person sales are cash only; no credit or debit cards accepted at Box Office.
RESERVATIONS: 416-364-4170, Box 1 or reservations@alumnaetheatre.com.

 

*because every other space in the building was in use – no kidding!  Rehearsals for New Ideas Festival (opening March 8) on both the 2nd floor and in the Studio; and Toronto Irish Players are renting the mainstage for The Night Joe Dolan’s Car Broke Down (running to March 4).

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