Tag Archives: rehearsal

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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Filed under 2016/17 season, Clean House

At a rehearsal for New Ideas Festival play “Four Hours”

Bloggergal is a late addition to the cast of Four Hours, written by Alumnae Theatre Company member Joan Burrows. This short play – around 30 minutes – appears in Week Three of the New Ideas Festival.

Structurally and thematically unlike most of Joan Burrows’ previous scripts (which tend to be comedies), Four Hours is a tense drama that follows the reaction of a tight-knit neighbourhood when a local child is abducted.

Last night was Bloggergal’s first rehearsal – meeting director Helen Monroe and stage manager Erin Maxfield, as well as three cast members.     Chris Peterson plays Joe, who runs the local convenience store, and is married to Mary (played by Bloggergal). We rehearsed our one scene together, and then Nikki Chohan arrived to rehearse our scene. Chohan plays Farah, whose family are relative newcomers to the neighbourhood. Farah has a powerful monologue (“well, now you know”) at the end of our scene, and even at this very early stage it was possible to see the potential.

"Four Hours" director Helen Munroe [back to camera] confers with actors Nikki Chohan [L] and Armand Antony [R] in rehearsal.  Photo taken Feb 10, 2016 by  stage manager Erin Maxfield

Four Hours director Helen Monroe [back to camera] confers with actors Nikki Chohan [L] and Armand Antony [R] in rehearsal.  Photo taken Feb 10, 2016 by stage manager Erin Maxfield.

Bloggergal stuck around to watch Nikki and Armand Antony (who plays Farah’s husband Faiz) rehearse their scene together, which happens near the end of the play. Again, some powerful stuff in embryo – will be exciting to watch it develop!






New Ideas Festival runs March 9-27, with a different lineup each week – see http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/new-ideas-festival-2016.html

Performances are Wed – Sat at 8pm, and Sat & Sun matinees at 2:30pm. The Saturday matinee is followed by a Talkback.   Four short plays will be staged at each performance – one ticket admits you to all of them!

In addition, a PWYC reading of a different play will be staged each Saturday at noon, followed by a Talkback.
Tickets can be purchased by the week ($15 each) or a 6-ticket Flex Pass ($75) can be used for two people to attend all 3 weeks of the Festival. http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/tickets.html

If you prefer not to purchase online, reservations are strongly recommended. Phone or e-mail to hold seats, and pay cash on arrival – no credit or debit cards accepted for in-person sales. 416-364-4170 Box 1 or reservations@alumnaetheatre.com



Bloggergal invites all New Ideas Festival participants to submit blog posts, rehearsal photos, or snippets of funny stuff that happened in rehearsal.

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Filed under 2015/16 season, New Ideas Festival

Sitting in on “I Am Marguerite” rehearsal, April 1

Bloggergal picked a good day to check out a rehearsal for I Am Marguerite, which opens on April 10. Not only was the cast in full costume (for the benefit of photographer Bruce Peters, who snapped away during the run), but it was also director Molly Thom’s birthday – no foolin’! Producer Ramona Baillie surprised Molly with a cake, and everyone sang “Happy Birthday”.

Bones (prepared by set designer Marysia Bucholc) for "I Am Marguerite".

Bones (prepared by set designer Marysia Bucholc) for “I Am Marguerite”.  Photo: Bruce Peters

Before the run started, I got a chance to take a close look at the bones onstage – yes, they’re real! Set designer Marysia Bucholc bought them at St. Lawrence Market – a giant cow bone and several large fish – and boiled them to remove the flesh. “I got excellent stock out of it,” she says!

Sound designer Angus Barlow was sitting at a production table in the middle of the house, beside stage manager Margot Devlin (Kelsey Rutledge takes over as stage manager on Saturday for the rest of the performances). Angus played a recording of a new lute piece by composer James Langevin-Frieson for Molly’s approval.

There was a small audience watching the run – assistant director Meg Moran, assistant producer Dale Stewart, set designer’s assistant Fotini Paraschos, lighting designer Wesley McKenzie, and costume designers Peter DeFreitas and Toni Hanson.

 Having read (OK, devoured) Shirley Barrie’s amazing script for I Am Marguerite, I knew that it is not a straightforward telling of a historical event. But this performance blew me away.

"I Am Marguerite":  Marguerite de Roberval (Daniela Pagliarello - front left); Eugene (Christopher Oszwald - front - right); Jean-Francois de Roberval (Chris Coculuzzi  - left rear); Damienne (Heli Kivilaht - centre); Queen of Navarre (Sara Price - right rear).

The play begins with Marguerite (Daniela Pagliarello – left front in this photo by Bruce Peters) marooned on a deserted island off Newfoundland in 1542.   Wisps of smoke conjure up Nfld fog; eerie wolf howls raised goosebumps. And she sees a ship approaching – there is the possibility of rescue.  How Marguerite wound up on the Isle of Demons for two years, and her relationships with her ambitious brother Jean-François (Chris Coculuzzi – left rear), her old nurse Damienne (Heli Kivilaht – centre), her lute-playing lover Eugène (Christopher Oszwald – front right) and her mentor the Queen of Navarre (Sara Price – right rear) is told in a series of scenes that flow into and out of each other, fluidly jumping around in time.  It was not at all confusing: for example, sea noises and gull cries would cue us that a scene was taking place aboard the ship that sailed Jean-François and Marguerite from France to the New World, where he planned to be “King of Canada”.

Shirley Barrie calls I Am Marguerite “a play for a soloist and a quartet of voices”, and that description seemed perfectly apt when reading the words on the page, but it came to magical life when I was watching it play out on the stage.

After the run, all the designers took turns conferring with Molly or the actors about what worked, what didn’t, etc. I eavesdropped on costume designers Peter DeFreitas and Toni Hanson, talking to Sara Price, who plays the very regal and proper Queen of Navarre. In addition to the most stunning gown – seen below – Sara also sports an amazing wig, which Peter made by attaching various hairpieces to a black velvet cap.

Costume designed by Peter DeFreitas for the Queen of Navarre in "I Am Marguerite" (world premiere April 10-25, 2015 at Alumnae Theatre Company)

Costume designed by Peter DeFreitas for the Queen of Navarre in “I Am Marguerite” (world premiere April 10-25, 2015 at Alumnae Theatre Company)

Having spoken last week to props designer Razie Brownstone (who was experimenting with fabric and gelatin), I was very interested to check out the fish that Marguerite catches and eats in the play. Tonight she worked with a fish made from fabric, with a handy pocket to accommodate her stabbing and gutting it. “There was talk of putting gummy worms in the pocket so I could eat them as fish guts, and I’m so down with that!”, Daniela told me. But the fish I saw tonight may not be the final version in performance.

Ramona insisted that everyone on the production team gather onstage with the actors to have a photo taken. There will be official photos coming soon.

In the meantime, don’t forget to reserve or purchase a ticket for the WORLD PREMIERE of I Am Marguerite, running April 10 – 25. http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/i-am-marguerite.html

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Filed under 2014/15 Season, I Am Marguerite

Toronto Irish Players blog

Toronto Irish Players’ production of John B. Keane’s Big Maggie runs on Alumnae Theatre’s main stage until March 8.  Check out the interview with Saskatoon actor Kyrah Harder, who plays Maggie’s youngest daughter.

Showtimes: Thu – Sat at 8pm; Sun at 2pm.

Tickets: $18 – $20.

416-440-2888 or torontoirishplayers.com

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February 25, 2014 · 11:08 pm

Titanic mystery & intrigue in Amicus Productions’ haunting, twisting Scotland Road

Having watched a rehearsal a few weeks ago, am excited to see the full production.

life with more cowbell

scotland road deck chair!Amicus Productions explores the romance, mystery and tragedy of the Titanic in its production of Jeffrey Hatcher’s Scotland Road, directed by Victoria Shepherd.

“The Titanic – a symbol of arrogance, glamour and tragedy – has captured the imagination and passion of generations … Scotland Road tells the story of a passion so powerful that it transcends time and logic, completing a journey that was started over one hundred years ago.” – Victoria Shepherd (from the Scotland Road press release)

This is a perfect play for director Shepherd, a Titanic aficionado with a wealth of knowledge about the subject and a great love of storytelling. The “Scotland Road” of the play’s title refers to the lower-deck passageway that ran the length of the RMS Titanic. The cast does a lovely job handling the layers of these characters – like the enigmatic young woman, rescued as she floated in period dress…

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New Ideas Festival seeks stage managers

Are you organized and methodical? Have you ever wanted to just TELL people what to do?  Ever considered stage management?

The annual New Ideas Festival at Alumnae Theatre  is recruiting stage managers for the 15 short plays this year (check out the Dec 2 post titled New Ideas Festival 2014 – the lineup! at https://alumnaetheatre.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/new-ideas-festival-2014-the-lineup/ ).  Experience not required!  Here’s the official notice:

 New Ideas Festival (NIF) is Alumnae Theatre Company’s annual three-week juried festival of new plays, works-in-progress, and experimental theatre, with a different program each week and a workshopped reading on Saturdays at noon.

Would you like to get involved in New Ideas Festival and join the fun this year?  NIF needs stage managers for many of the 15 short plays.

We will provide training if you don’t have experience.

Rehearsals start February 1, and the festival runs from March 12-30, 2014.

Important dates:

 • Thu Jan. 23:  Production meeting and stage manager orientation, 7-9 pm

• Sat. Feb. 1: Rehearsals begin

• Tue Feb. 18: Production meeting and lighting demo, 7-9 pm

• March 6 – 9: Tech days by week

• Wed. March 12 – Sun. March 30: New Ideas Festival performances.
Each show runs one week (6 performances), and the readings have one performance each at noon on the three festival Saturdays.

If you are interested in stage managing a play in the Festival, please email newideasfestival@gmail.com  and put Stage Manager in the subject line.

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Filed under 2013/14 Season, New Ideas Festival 2014

“Lady” flyer stuffing leads to watching “Scotland Road” rehearsal…

The Lady’s Not For Burning runs Jan 24 – Feb 8, and it’s always good karma to promote other shows that run around the same time.  Besides, often there are friends-of-Alumnae involved!  So I arranged a flyer exchange with The Village Playhouse, which is producing Alumnae member Joan Burrows’ play Willow Quartet (Jan 10 – Feb 1) and co-producers Naomi Hunter and Maureen Lukie put me in touch with Amicus Productions (Alumnae member Victoria Shepherd is directing Scotland Road, Jan 30 – Feb 8 at Papermill Theatre).

Scotland RdDid a quick swap with Village Playhouse pre-performance on Saturday night, and dropped by the Scotland Road rehearsal on Sunday afternoon intending to do the same.   But I got fascinated and couldn’t leave!  The cast was doing their first off-book run (“the first where they can’t call for line,” clarified stage manager Steve Minnie), and I watched the whole thing – about 90 minutes long.  Yes, without costumes, set (the rehearsal was in a church basement), lighting (lighting designer Jamie Sample was on hand, taking notes and talking cues with Victoria) or music or sound effects.  The plot held my attention:  had to borrow Jamie’s script to read ahead – there are some surprising twists!  It’s a small cast of four very watchable actors:  West McDonald as a doctor (?) with a significant name; Anne McDougall as another doctor; Paulette St-Amour as a mysterious old lady; and my former Così castmate Laura Vincent doing a wonderful Welsh accent as ‘The Woman’.   Who is she?  Who are her captors? What or where is Scotland Road?  From Amicus’ press release:

 ‘Titanic’ – this is the only word spoken by a beautiful young woman in 19th century clothing found floating on an iceberg in the last decade of the twentieth century. She is taken to an isolated institution where John, an expert on the sinking of the liner, has arranged to interrogate her. His goal: to crack her story, get her to confess she’s a fake, and reveal her true identity; his one clue: her enigmatic references to an unknown place called “Scotland Road”. From playwright Jeffrey Hatcher (Amicus staged his inventive Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 2012), Scotland Road is a suspenseful package of intrigue and psychodrama and pure entertainment.

One of my favourite recurring bits in the interrogation scenes was John telling The Woman after each session, “Dr. Halbrech will now repeat everything I have said in Finnish, Swedish, German, Norwegian…” – all languages that might have been spoken by Third Class passengers on the Titanic!

Intrigued?  Check out the Facebook event  Amicus Productions Presents Scotland Roadhttps://www.facebook.com/events/471187596323855/ and watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52lrWWQAr2A&feature=youtu.be&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D52lrWWQAr2A%26feature%3Dyoutu.be&app=desktop

The haunting original music was composed by John Stuart Campbell, who shares that he based the music on Morse code!  For ticket information, etc. please visit http://www.amicusproductions.ca

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Filed under 2013/14 Season, The Lady's Not For Burning