Tag Archives: Nicholas Porteous

Second night of New Ideas Festival 2015 – and trailer

Check out this nifty trailer shot and edited by Nicholas Porteous – a fast-paced romp through the works (described as “part eerie, part dystopic, part heart-wrenching…plus a surprise anniversary party” and “alternate realities, masks, mysteries & secrets”) you will see this week in New Ideas.

Including tonight, there are 5 more opportunities to catch the Week One lineup in the New Ideas Festival. A whole different lineup begins for Week Two starts on Wed March 18.

PERFORMANCES each week are Wed – Sat at 8pm, plus 2:30 matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Each Saturday at noon, there’s a staged reading of a longer play, followed by a Talkback.

TICKETS: $40 Festival Pass (admits one person to all 3 weeks + all 3 Saturday readings); or weekly program ($15 per week); readings are PWYC.

Reservations* or advance online purchases are strongly recommended – New Ideas is staged in the 3rd floor Studio space at Alumnae Theatre, and the seating is limited. Reserve by phone 416-364-4170 Box 1 or email reservations@alumnaetheatre.com , and pay cash on arrival. Please note that the Box Office does not accept credit or debit cards. For online purchases, please go to https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?ticketing=atc13

*no reservations taken or online tickets available for Saturday readings.

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Filed under 2014/15 Season, New Ideas Festival 2015

FireWorks opening for “Burying Toni” tonight; “You Have To Earn It” tomorrow

Last night (Nov 12) FireWorks 2014 kicked off with the first meeting of the group of writers selected to participate in a Playwrights’ Intensive with Maja Ardal.

Tonight is the opening of the first play, Catherine Frid’s drama Burying Toni, directed by Ginette Mohr. It features Glenda Romano as Emma Jung (yes, wife of psychoanalyst Carl), and Natalie Kulesza and Jillian Welsh as elements of her personality.

Glenda Romano, Jillian Welsh (and the hands of Natalie Kulezsa!) in "Burying Toni" at FireWorks 2014.  Photo by Dahlia Katz.

Glenda Romano, Jillian Welsh (and the hands of Natalie Kulezsa!) in “Burying Toni” at FireWorks 2014. Photo by Dahlia Katz.

The two FireWorks plays are running in repertory (alternating performances), so tomorrow  – Friday – will be the opening night for a madcap comedy by Ramona Baillie and Maria Popoff, You Have To Earn It, directed by Jennifer Radford.  In keeping with the play’s 1930s influence, filmmaker Nicholas Porteous created this great black & white teaser. Enjoy! http://youtu.be/JFF5khWINgE

FireWorks runs to Nov 29 – check http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/fireworks.html for the schedule.  Running time of each play is approx. 70 minutes.

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Filed under 2014/15 Season, FireWorks 2014

Meet the cast of “A Woman of No Importance” – part 4

Lady Caroline speaks!  Gillian English weighs in with her character’s view on  marriage, 1980’s morals, and the infamous gold pleather pants.

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Lady Caroline Pontefract (Gillian English) and her friend Lady Hunstanton (Andy Fraser) in "A Woman of No Importance".  Alumnae Theatre Company, Jan 25 - Feb 9, 2013.  Photo: Bruce Peters

Lady Caroline Pontefract (Gillian English) and her friend Lady Hunstanton (Andy Fraser) in “A Woman of No Importance”. Alumnae Theatre Company, Jan 25 – Feb 9, 2013. Photo: Bruce Peters

Q #1:      Who do you play in A Woman of No Importance?  Tell us a little about your character.

GILLIAN ENGLISH:  I play Lady Caroline Pontefract, Lady Hunstanton’s [Andy Fraser] best friend. She’s very quick, very witty and incredibly sure of her position in society. However, she is on her 4th marriage, and all of her bad luck in love seems to have made the poor dear insecure. Although, with the way Sir John [Michael Vitorovich] behaves, it’s not unwarranted.

Q #2:      Director Paul Hardy has changed the setting of the play from the 1890’s (which is when Oscar Wilde wrote it) to the 1980’s.  What surprised you about making the time switch?  Did you discover issues or social mores that were surprisingly similar (or not) almost 100 years apart?

GILLIAN ENGLISH:   Lady Caroline fits in perfectly in the 1980s. It doesn’t matter if the rest of society has grown past certain social issues that would have been taboo in the 1890s; everything is a big deal to Lady Caroline. If everyone became moral and good, there’d be nothing to gossip about.

Q #3:      Can you relate any anecdotes from rehearsal (e.g: : another actor – in character or out – doing something unexpected)?

GILLIAN ENGLISH:    During one of our final rehearsals before we opened, James [James Graham, as the politician Mr. Kelvil – or “Mr. Kettle”, as Lady Caroline insists on referring to him] and Amy [Amy Zuch, as flirty/ditzy Lady Stutfield] really committed to their Act 3 entrance and James fell headlong onto the stage. I’m very glad I was offstage for that occurrence. Jason Thompson [who plays Archdeacon Daubeny] never makes a weak choice, so it’s never a wise idea to look him straight in the eye on stage, because you will corpse**; or at least I will, I don’t know you.

We always warm up as a group before a run, and once we did an exercise with some deep knee bends. By the time places were called, I was completely stuck to the inside of my pleather pants. It was a very uncomfortable first act.  Speaking of those pants, I can’t actually move when I sit down on the set chairs, because the pleather sticks to the plastic. If I have to pivot or move, I have to actually pick my butt up and swing it around. It’s very feminine.
Q #4:      Do you have a favourite line or moment from the play – yours or anyone else’s?

GILLIAN ENGLISH:   I love when Gerald [played by Nicholas Porteous] says “Hello mother!” at the end of Act 4, it’s adorable. And Mrs. Allonby’s [Paula Schultz] exchange about Patagonia is hilarious, especially because she’s so drunk. And, Mrs. Arbuthnot’s [Áine Magennis] unintentional Brandy and Monica reference when she says “The boy is mine” in Act 2.

**”to corpse”:  theatre lingo for busting out in inappropriate mirth.

Blame costume designer Brandon Kleiman for the pleather pants.

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Filed under 2012/13 Season, A Woman of No Importance

Meet the cast of “A Woman of No Importance” – part 1

Alumnae Theatre Company’s production of Oscar Wilde’s social satire A Woman of No Importance opens on Friday, January 25.  To get audiences somewhat up to speed, I posed a few questions to the cast.  Here’s the first installment – more to follow, as they submit their responses.

What's a little intrigue between friends? Our upper class of characters bandy politics and morals.  L-R:  Lord Illingworth (Andrew Batten), Mrs. Allonby (Paula Schultz), Lady Caroline Pontrefact (Gillian English, in back row), Sir John Pontefract (Michael Vitorovich), Mrs. Arbuthnot (Áine Magennis), Lady Hunstanton (Andy Fraser, in back row), Lady Stutfield (Amy Zuch, in pink jacket), Mr. Kelvil (James Graham), Farquhar the butler (Daniel Staseff, with tray), Frances the maid (Kathleen Pollard), Archdeacon Daubeny (Jason Thompson), and in FRONT ROW: Gerald Arbuthnot (Nicholas Porteous), Miss Hester Worsley (Sophia Fabiili).

What’s a little intrigue between friends? Our upper class of characters bandy politics and morals. L-R: Lord Illingworth (Andrew Batten), Mrs. Allonby (Paula Schultz), Lady Caroline Pontefract (Gillian English, in back row), Sir John Pontefract (Michael Vitorovich), Mrs. Arbuthnot (Áine Magennis), Lady Hunstanton (Andy Fraser, in back row), Lady Stutfield (Amy Zuch, in pink jacket), Mr. Kelvil (James Graham), Farquhar the butler (Daniel Staseff, with tray), Frances the maid (Kathleen Pollard), Archdeacon Daubeny (Jason Thompson), and in FRONT ROW: Gerald Arbuthnot (Nicholas Porteous), Miss Hester Worsley (Sophia Fabiilli).

Q #1:     Who do you play in A Woman of No Importance?  Tell us a little about your character.

Lord Illingworth (Andrew Batten) flirts with his favourite sparring partner, Mrs. Allonby (Paula Schultz):  "Nothing spoils a romance so much as a sense of humour in the woman."

Lord Illingworth (Andrew Batten) flirts with his favourite sparring partner, Mrs. Allonby (Paula Schultz): “Nothing spoils a romance so much as a sense of humour in the woman.”

ANDREW BATTEN:  I play Lord Illingworth, who I think is really the hero of the whole piece.  Humble, self-effacing, warm, kind – he’s really a remarkable guy.  Some of the other actors seem a bit confused about his character – words like “lech”, “misogynist” and “icky” have been used.  I’m not exactly sure where they’re coming from, but we’re all professionals and I’m sure all the misunderstandings will be ironed out by opening night.

ANDY FRASER:  I play Lady Hunstanton – she thinks of herself not as shallow (see question #4), but as “very practical – and terribly helpful!”

NICHOLAS PORTEOUS:  I play Gerald Arbuthnot.  At first he appears to be a simple, fresh-faced and hopeful young lad with a spring in his step and a song in his heart.  As the play continues, he’s forced to question his most fundamental values. He starts off very Disney and becomes something much more complicated.

Q #2:     Director Paul Hardy has changed the period setting of the play from the 1890’s (which is when Oscar Wilde wrote it) to the 1980’s.  What surprised you about making the time switch?  Did you discover issues or social mores that were surprisingly similar (or not) almost 100 years apart?

ANDREW BATTEN:  I’m surprised by the continued relevance of Elton John’s music.  Apparently Elton wrote the original version of “Tiny Dancer” in 1891, but it was still very popular throughout the 1980’s.  I’ve heard a rumour that the secret to Sir Elton’s eternal life was the sale of his soul to Disney Corp., but I don’t know any of the details.

Q #3:     Can you relate any anecdotes from rehearsal (e.g: : another actor – in character or out – doing something unexpected)?

ANDREW BATTEN: No-one ever really knows what Jason [Jason Thompson, who plays Archdeacon Daubeny] is going to do.  He puts the bold in bold choices.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see him do the entire show with a raw turkey on his head.

NICHOLAS PORTEOUS:  For one run Paul gave Jason a note to play his character Dr. Daubeny a bit more drug-addled. He ran with it so hard that every character in the room appeared almost as high and delighted as he was. The spontaneous mirror-exercise with Lady Hunstanton was the “high”light.

Archdeacon Daubeny (Jason Thompson- far right) expounds about his saintly wife to anyone who will listen - Farquhar the butler (Daniel Staseff, left), Frances the maid (Kathleen Pollard), and Lady Hunstanton (Andy Fraser):  "Her deafness is a great privation to her. She can't even hear my sermons now."Photo: Bruce Peters

Archdeacon Daubeny (Jason Thompson- far right) expounds about his saintly wife to anyone who will listen – Farquhar the butler (Daniel Staseff, left), Frances the maid (Kathleen Pollard), and Lady Hunstanton (Andy Fraser): “Her deafness is a great privation to her. She can’t even hear my sermons now.”
Photo: Bruce Peters

Q #4:     Do you have a favourite line or moment from the play – yours or anyone else’s?

ANDREW BATTEN:  I really like Nic’s [Nicholas Porteous, playing Gerald Arbuthnot, son of the “Woman” of the play title] line “You know I love Hester Worsley.  Who could help loving her?” just because every time he says it Sophia [Sophia Fabiilli, as Hester] floats a few inches higher off the floor.  Also, I like every time someone says something nice about Lord Illingworth because it makes me feel like they’re finally figuring the character out (see response to question #1).

ANDY FRASER:   My favourite line (my own) is “My dear young lady, there was a great deal of truth, I dare say, in what you said, and you looked very pretty while you said it, which is much more important.”

NICHOLAS PORTEOUS:   I have to give a shout-out to “He picked up the cudgel for that pretty prude with wonderful promptitude.” Half of the amazingness of this line is that it doesn’t even need to be interesting. It shows how unstoppably clever Lord Illingworth is, even when describing his own embarrassing scandals. He can’t help it.

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Hmmm.  Since two of his castmates have now mentioned him,  doesn’t that make you curious to see just what exactly the notorious Jason Thompson gets up to onstage? Let’s hope we hear from the man himself next!  And don’t forget to reserve tickets: reservations@alumnaetheatre.com

 

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Filed under 2012/13 Season, A Woman of No Importance