Tag Archives: comedy

Auditions in August for “Bookworms” (Toronto Irish Players)

The Toronto Irish Players rent the Mainstage at Alumnae Theatre for two productions per season. Here’s the audition notice for the first of 2014/15:  Bookworms, a comedy by Bernard Farrell. It will be directed by Alan Hunt.

SHOW DATES: October 23 – November 8, 2014
SYNOPSIS: In this post-Celtic Tiger Ireland comedy of manners, the bankrupt middle classes cling to the civility of social rituals like to book clubs. Formerly the last bastion of female exclusivity, husbands are invited to participate in a social experiment which goes disastrously wrong. In this satire the surface veneer of normality is penetrated by resentment, adultery, repression and violence. By the end of the evening civility has been tenuously re-established and relationships somewhat restored, but it is unlikely that the men will ever be invited to another meeting of the Bookworms.


AUDITION DATES: Tuesday August 12 (7.30 – 10pm) and Thursday August 14 (7.30 – 10.00pm)
CALLBACKS: Tuesday August 19 (7.30 – 10pm)
ANN (playing age 40)-Homemaker. Attractive, insecure, determined, repressed.
LARRY (playing age 50)-Builder. Gruff, down-to-earth, pleasant.
AISLING (playing age 18) – Student. Spoiled gap-year backpacker. All appearances are via Skype.
DOROTHY (playing age 60)-Widow. Refined, nervous and obsessed by Virginia Woolf.
ROBERT (playing age 45)-Banker. Alpha male, assured, aggressive.
JENNIFER (playing age 30s)-Teacher. Confident, controlling, energetic.
VINCENT (playing age 50s)-Recluse. Timid, but with a terrible inner rage.


1. Please contact producer Jim Ivers by email (jwivers@gmail.com) or phone 416-624-3379

to book an audition.
2. Please forward a recent performance resume & headshot.
3. If the director is not familiar with your work, please prepare a monologue (maximum 2 minutes), preferably comic.
4. Please be prepared to present a cold read from the script.
Auditions & Rehearsals will be held at Kimbourne Church, 200 Wolverleigh Boulevard, Toronto (a short walk northeast of the Coxwell subway station at Danforth & Coxwell).



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Second night of music from 7 Strong & friends, June 13

Last night (June 12), a lucky audience was treated to the music of Kick Off The Covers (Toby Orr, Dana Cittadino, Dave Blatt, Peter Graham, Patty Wygant, Rob Laurie) and 7 Strong (Adam Orr, Toby Orr, Angus Barlow, Garret Thomson, Peter Chapman, Stuart Constable, Carianne Hathaway).


How to categorize? Well, both bands play cover songs (although 7 Strong’s set included an original, “Memories Now” by bassist Stuart Constable). You could say that the genre of both bands is rockin’ folk/country with a twist of irony. In addition to the usual instruments, slide guitar, mandolin, banjo, ukulele and harmonica are featured! And their covers are sometimes covers within covers of covers – witness 7 Strong’s version of Dylan’s “This Wheel’s on Fire” (also known as the Ab Fab theme song – a trivia question for the audience!) – covered by The Byrds, covered by Serena Ryder. 7 Strong performing at Alumnae Theatre, June 12, 2014.

7 Strong performing at Alumnae Theatre, June 12, 2014.

You like James Taylor? Tom Waits? Bowie? Mumford & Sons? How about satirical American singer/songwriter Jonathan Coulton (a longtime favourite of 7 Strong’s precursor ATAG)? You’ll hear them all, but probably not the songs you’re most familiar with! Even Leonard Cohen – a gorgeous version of “Famous Blue Raincoat” with vocalist Adam Orr reaching into his lower register and deploying an effect to digitize his voice.

Big thanks to Yves St-Cyr for manning the mixing board – he came up to the stage to perform Jean Leloup’s “I Lost My Baby” in a mixture of French and English; and to Chris Humphreys for the light show.

And if you’re really good, tonight you might hear “Carrot Juice Is Murder”, originally by The Arrogant Worms. Vegetarians, take note!  7:30 start, $10 at the door.  Also on the bill tonight: pop/electronica band Ileen.  https://www.facebook.com/events/306586349495028/


Don’t forget there’s comedy on Saturday night (8pm, $10 at the door)! Michael Graham opens with his songs about “Edward Snowden, the FBI, and poopy diapers”. No kidding.   Check him out at http://themichaelgraham.com/

The main event is Ted & Lisa’s improv show “Complications in Corktown”. https://www.facebook.com/events/605434352882467/

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Music & comedy from 7 Strong & Friends, June 12-14

Well, the season is over at Alumnae Theatre Company, and the building will shortly be undergoing Phase II of a major renovation to make the front entrance accessible to people with disabilities. We’ve always had an accessible side entrance, and last summer’s Phase I reno added an accessible washroom and punched a door in the wall from the auditorium into the lower lobby.

7 Strong logo

Toronto-based band 7 Strong features Adam & Toby Orr, Angus Barlow, Garret Thomson, Peter Chapman, Stuart Constable, Carianne Hathaway.

But before the sledgehammers start swinging for Phase II, one last event: the band 7 Strong (formerly known as ATAG – aka Angus Barlow & The Orrs – see post about a gig in 2011: https://alumnaetheatre.wordpress.com/2011/03/29/angus-and-the-orrs-the-alumnae-studio/) host three evenings on Alumnae’s Main Stage in June. The first two (Thu June 12 and Fri June 13) will be musical: the band performs excellent covers of songs – some familiar and some not. The opening act is Kick Off The Covers; special guest on Day One (June 12) is Yves Saint-Cyr.

Wine, beer and snacks will be available. Tickets are $10 at the door; show starts at 7:30 pm. Proceeds go to Alumnae Theatre.

See Facebook event https://www.facebook.com/events/728254517214461/ for Thursday details.
Can’t make it on Thursday? 7 Strong is also playing on Friday 13th ! Kick Off The Covers opens; special guests are Yves Saint-Cyr and acoustic/alternative singer Ileen (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ileen/62472003614) . 7:30 show. https://www.facebook.com/events/306586349495028/

And on Saturday June 14 at 8pm, 7 Strong presents an evening of improv comedy with Ted & Lisa.

On the fly, Ted Hallett and Lisa Merchant create a multi-character one-act improvised “disturbingly funny” play which they’re calling “Complications in Corktown”!   Special guest: Michael Graham.


So come on out for the music on June 12 or 13 at 7:30, and/or comedy on June 14 at 8pm. Tickets $10 per night.

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“The Lady’s Not For Burning” first read-through, Nov 9

Saturday November 9 was a very busy day at Alumnae Theatre – every space in the building was in use!  Up in the 3rd floor Studio, the FireWorks plays were teching (opening Wed Nov 13).  The lobby was the site of the New Ideas Festival ‘Creative Exchange’ – think speed dating for the writers whose plays have been selected to be produced in March, and the hopeful director applicants!  Also on the main floor, it was load-in day for Alexander Showcase Theatre, who are renting Alumnae’s main stage for their production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, which runs Nov 14 – 24 (see http://www.alexandershowcasetheatre.com/new-shows/the-crucible-2/ for info & tickets). And in the second floor rehearsal space, I was invited to the first read-through of Alumnae Theatre Company’s January show, Christopher Fry’s medieval comedy The Lady’s Not For Burning.

Director Jane Carnwath told us (the cast, designers, production folks) that she has wanted to direct this play for years.  It is written in 3 acts (which run about 30-40 mins each), and will be performed with TWO intermissions.

English playwright Christopher Fry (1907 – 2005) wrote it in 1948, and the script hints at the post-WWII events of its day.  Although often described as a “verse comedy”, The Lady’s Not For Burning is only “very loosely” iambic pentameter.  Its meter and rhythm combine soaring imagery with colloquialism/vernacular:   “Savour the language,” Jane advised the cast, “don’t belabor it!”  This production will be our modern vision of the period (1400’s) – there will not be strict accuracy in costumes, language, etc.  Jane also mentioned that she thinks Jennet really is a witch, but doesn’t know it!

Set designer Ed Rosing passed around his drawing, which shows his concept of the town built around a ruined stone arch seen at upstage centre.  Buildings will be shown on a backdrop visible through the arch, in the style of old paintings before perspective was in fashion.  The design incorporates period heraldry devices and torn flags.

Lighting designer Jennifer Fraser warned that she tends to design very tightly, meaning that actors have to hit their marks, but promised “You will look beautiful!”.

So what is the play about?  The big themes are redemption and loss of grace – yet it’s not religious.  And guess what?  It’s about hanging and witch-burning, but it manages to be funny and outrageous!  So much hilarity in the room during the read-through.  The plot concerns Thomas, a disillusioned former soldier (Chris Coculuzzi) who wants to be hanged; Jennet (played by Andrea Brown**) who’s accused of witchcraft because someone thinks she turned a man into a dog; and all the village personalities who contribute to the mayhem, including the blustering but ineffectual Mayor (actor Thomas Gough was absent; the role was read by co-producer Ellen Green); his by-the-book clerk Richard* (Chris Whidden); the Mayor’s officious sister Margaret (Carol McLennan); Margaret’s battling sons Nicholas (Ryan Armstrong) and Humphrey (Reece Presley); the girl they fight over (Elsbeth McCall); the befuddled village Chaplain (Peter Higginson); Justice Tappercoom (Rob Candy); and Ian Orr as Matthew Skips, a rag & bone man whose death may have been greatly exaggerated.


–          “Your ding dong rocks me” – Carol’s sly reading of protective mama MARGARET DEVIZE made me guffaw.  (Oh, she’s talking about the church bells, which have just rung)

–          “You can go down to the dinner of damnation on my arm.” – THOMAS, to Jennet.

         “I’ll dine elsewhere.” – JENNET’s response.

–          “Blow your nose, Tyson, and avoid lechery.” – JUSTICE TAPPERCOOM’s advice to the MAYOR.

–          “Legal matters and such are Greek to me.  Except of course that I understand Greek.” – CHAPLAIN

–          “Mother, I make it known publicly: I ‘m tired of my little brother.  Can you give him to some charity?” – HUMPHREY

–          “…I bark my brain on shadows sharp as rock…” – JENNET (her father was an alchemist who “broke on the wheel of a dream”)

–          “How can they confuse my voice with a peacock’s?  Don’t they know I sing bass in Satan’s madrigal choir?” – THOMAS

–          “I am such a girl of habitI’ve got into the way of being alive.” – JENNET

See?  Funny AND poetic.  And those are just the lines I managed to scribble down – there were some glorious speeches full of imagery (Jennet has a lovely one about jonquils and pearls of dew) that I couldn’t write down fast enough.  Catch The Lady’s Not For Burning when it opens on the main stage, January 24, and runs to February 8, 2014.

*busy actor Chris Whidden is also playing another character named Richard (in the FireWorks play Theory, Nov 13 – Dec 1).  When he pointed this out, Chris Coculuzzi joked, “So you’re playing a couple of Dicks?”  Ba-dum-dum.

** Andrea Brown is playing witches in two consecutive productions,  starting Nov 14 as [accused witch] Elizabeth Proctor in Alexander Showcase Theatre’s production of The Crucible.

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