Drama groups ready for stage

Festival showcases provincial talent

Krysta Carroll kys28@hotmail.com
Published on April 14, 2011
From left, Dave Anthony, Barb Budgell and Krystle Budgell of Northcliffe Drama Club rehearse for the group's production of Timothy Findley's "The Stillborn Lover." The club will present the first of eight plays in the 2011 Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Drama Festival, which begins Saturday, April 23 at the Gordon Pinsent Centre for the Arts in Grand Falls-Windsor.
Advertiser staff photo

Comedy, tragedy, intrigue, love and laughter will be on stage at the Gordon Pinsent Centre for the Arts later this month.



The Newfoundland and Labrador Drama Festival will bring together eight amateur theatre groups from across the province from April 23-30.

"It is going to be a fantastic week of entertainment," said the event's chair, David Newell. "You will not want to miss a minute of the shows."

Participants in the weeklong event are not only there to entertain for their audiences and practice their craft. They will be critiqued and adjudicated by someone who earns his living in the theatre.

This year's adjudicator is Brad Hodder, a native of St. John's who is artistic director of both the c2c theatre and New World Theatre Project.

He is a graduate of the University of Alberta with a bachelor of fine arts in acting and is a sessional instructor at Memorial University in the Performance and Communication Program. His work as an actor, director, writer and producer has taken him across the country where he has worked with many companies, including Neptune Theatre, Rising Tide, CBC, Global and Pope Productions.

Mr. Newell said the festival is thrilled to have Mr. Hodder on board for the week.

"Brad Hodder is certain to give us a better idea of where we can improve our performances and will be able to view our plays with a critical eye," he said. "The actors coming here love the art and always want to improve on their ability. Often, when someone other than our own director is able to give us tips and instruction, we are more likely to heed that advice."

In addition to the adjudications by Mr. Hodder, participants in the festival and those interested in honing their craft have an opportunity to do so by taking part in several workshops.

Both Mr. Hodder and Ben Pittman, an award-winning playwright and published short story writer, will spend a few hours lecturing and instructing on a variety of subjects.

Mr. Newell said organizers cannot recall there ever being eight entries in the Provincial Drama Festival before.

Exploits Valley's own Northcliffe Drama Club will be opening the week performing Timothy Findley's "The Stillborn Lover."

Directed by and starring seasoned actor and drama educator Dave Anthony, the play is set in the early 1970s during the Cold War.

The Canadian ambassador to Moscow has been called home after the murder of a young Russian man. Two days of mystery and unanswered questions about the murder, the ambassador's lifestyle, his friend's quest for the country's top job create a multi-layered story for theatre-goers.

Other entries hail from Corner Brook, Stephenville, Labrador West, Gander, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador City and St. John's.

Tickets are available individually or as a package at the Gordon Pinsent Centre for the Arts box office or by calling 292-4520, Monday to Saturday from noon to 6 p.m.


Shows for all tastes

The eight plays hitting the stage at the Arts and Culture Centre during the 61st Provincial Drama Festival have a broad appeal and are sure to provide theatre-goers with entertainment they will not soon forget.

Opening the week will be the Exploits Valley's own Northcliffe Drama Club, which is performing Timothy Findley's "The Stillborn Lover."

On April 24, the Off-Broadway Players perform Sam Shepard's "True West."

In this show, brothers Austin and Lee are polar opposites, the former a successful family man with a budding screenwriting career, the latter an alcoholic thief.

With their mother on vacation, Austin comes home to house sit, while Lee returns to the homestead for an entirely different reason.

The following evening will see the Bay Theatre perform "Jenny's House of Joy," by Norm Foster. This show is a humourous look at the world's oldest profession and the relationships that are born out of hardship.

Next up, on April 26, are the Northern Lights Theatre Company with Martin McDonagh's dark comedy "The Cripple of Inishmaan."

Set on the Aran Islands off the coast of Ireland in 1934, a crew from Hollywood arrive to document life on the island, and Billy Claven, eager to escape the gossip, poverty and boredom of his home, vies for a part in the film.

The Wednesday night show is "Seven Stories," by Morris Panych, which will be performed by the Avion Players.

In the play, a suicidal man prepares to jump to his own death from the seventh story of an apartment building. Before he takes his leap, he is confronted by the stories of the residents inside.

On April 28, Joanna McCelland-Glass's "If We are Women" will be performed by the Mokami Players. Three generations of women gathered at a Connecticut beach house, where they discuss their past and present lives.

Friday, April 29 has the Carol Players onstage performing David Lindsay-Abaire's "Rabbit Hole."

This play follows Becca and Howie Corbett, who have everything a family could want, until their lives are turned upside-down by a horrible accident. The couple drifts apart in the wake of the tragedy, and search for comfort in the darkest of places until they return to the light of day.

And finally, closing the show on Saturday, April 30, are the Beothuck Street Players with "Scorched," by Wajdi Mouawad.

In the play, a mother falls into complete silence, then dies, leaving her twin children to find the source of their departed mother's despair.

They must find their father who they never knew, a brother they never knew they had and their search for answers takes them from Montreal to a war torn desert.