Articles by author: Nikki Prudden

  • Brock students stage fantasy epic

    (Source: Thorold Edition, Monday, November 14, 2016 | by John Law. Photo caption: Gormenghast director Mike Griffin. CREDIT: Bob Tymczyszyn/St. Catharines Standard/Postmedia Network)

    Gormenghast, based on the cult classic fantasy series by Melvyn Peake, opened at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts Nov. 11. Long regarded as one of the great fantasy trilogies – drawing comparisons to The Lord of the Rings – it brings a sense of the epic to the theatre’s modest 150-seat theatre.

    Director Mike Griffin says students will utilize the entire space while using different theatrical styles to tell the tale of two youths who defy ancient traditions and the government motto of ‘No Change’ to wrest control of the dysfunctional House of Groan which rules the land.

    Griffin says it will push Dramatic Arts students in ways they’re not accustomed.

    “When you look at the kind of plays students often do, they’re realistic or they’re playing sort of normal characters. I really like the opportunity for a physical play.”

    As a bonus, it’s a bonafide fantasy classic rarely ever performed in Niagara. While Griffin likes to challenge students, he also wants something with box office appeal.

    “As a professor here I definitely want to be engaging the students in something that’s going to stretch them,” he says. “But you want to have people come and see it.

    “This production in particular is exciting because of the fantasy element. You don’t often get to see a fantasy production on stage.”

    With 16 cast members, the show will run until Nov. 19. Griffin, in his second year at Brock, calls them the best group he’s ever worked with.

    “We want the students to really be engaging in the work.”

    While it has never been made into a movie, Gormenghast was adapted into a four-episode BBC series in 2000 starring Christopher Lee and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. The stage version debuted in 2006.

    Written between 1949 and 1959, the books still strike some universal chords of rebellion, says Griffin. Their influence can be spotted in modern fare like The Hunger Games and A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones).

    “It looks at these youth rising to power, and going against the traditional and ancient ways of how things normally happen,” he says. “The play begins with the birth of this new earl, and then everything starts to crumble.”

    jlaw@postmedia.com

    • WHAT: Gormenghast
    • WHERE: Marilyn I. Walker Theatre; 15 Artists’ Common; St. Catharines
    • WHEN: Nov. 11 to 19
    • TICKETS: $18 adults; $15 students/seniors. www.firstontariopac.ca or 905-688-0722

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  • Gormenghast: An interview with Director Mike Griffin, and actors Jonah McGrath, Candice Burn and Caroline Coon

    (Source: The Brock Press, Tuesday, November 8, 2016 | by Shannon Parr

    davidvivianBrock University’s Department of Dramatic Arts is putting on Gormenghast this week, a play deemed “haunting and hilarious” by its director, Professor M. Griffin. I was able to sit down with him and some other members of the cast to ask a few questions about the “grotesque” production.

    Q: You’ve commented that this play is haunting and hilarious — why?

    Mike Griffin; Director

    Griffin: One of the things that this play really brings together is a number of different styles. On one hand you’ve got comedy and some really over the top characters, but within the gothic nature of the play there are a lot of dark things that are happening. There’s a lot of murder and a lot of horrific events. So, we’ve really tried to embrace that, through the blending of these different styles. One of the things we have been researching on is the style of Grand Guignol, which is the theatre of horror. We’ve been looking at the moments of violence in the play and looking at how we can do that stylistically versus realistically, because the show is an elevated style.

    We’re looking at melodrama and physical theatre, and a collage of different styles of theatre. When I say something is elevated or heightened style, I mean that it is something larger than life and bigger than realism, different than how we interact normally today.

    Q: Physical theatre?

    Griffin: Most of my research as a professor is in styles of physical theatre and mask, and so a lot of the work that we’re doing is stemming from my research. There are elements of gesture and ritual, and looking at characters that have bigger physicalities. We’re not necessarily normal humans in this play. Everyone’s quirky and different, so when we started to explore the physical nature of this play we started looking through different inspirations so we can look at what motivates or where this character comes from in a physical basis. Everyone walks and stands in a different way.

    Q: How does this play explore physical theatre?

    Griffin: This play overall has a lot of challenges. It’s a very epic play and it all takes place in a castle, and there are towers and motes, and when we start to add things like cats and ravens then we’ve got to ask the question, ‘how do we do that?’

    Rather than making the choice of actors playing cats or ravens, we decided we wanted to do it with puppets. Our puppets are really fantastic, they’re created by a puppeteer in Calgary named Juanita Dawn and the Long Grass puppet studio.

    This is a distorted, grotesque and strange world. Things are distorted and there are a lot of connections to animals and humans. One of the explorations that we did to find the physical characterization is looking at what your character might be as an animal and evolving a physicalization out of that.

    Q: Why Gormenghast?

    Griffin: For me, it’s been a play that I’ve been interested in for a long time. I wanted to do something a bit darker, a bit stranger, and so when I was deciding on what show I wanted to do with these particular students, I wanted to do something that was going to push them out of their normal bodies, something that was big in characterization, big in physicalization, and so this sort of just came up as the play that I think would really challenge them. I felt it would also give them an opportunity to learn about techniques of physical theatre and different styles of theatre, too.

    It’s really rare to see this kind of a production on stage; professional theatre companies don’t often do this kind of thing. First of all, it’s a large cast. We’ve got a cast of 16 and a lot of theatre companies don’t necessarily have a mandate that would fit the fantasy of this kind of play. What better place to do it than in a university setting? Especially when we look at things like the popular TV — Game of Thrones and all these kind of fantasy worlds that are created. There’s such a huge interest in that. For me, I love Game of Thrones and I love Lord of the Rings, and I love the works of Tim Burton.

     Jonah McGrath as Steerpike

    Q: What is your role in Gormenghast?

    McGrath: I am playing the role of Steerpike. He begins his journey in Gormenghast as a lowly kitchen servant, but he has aspirations to become more. Through his Machiavellian way of approaching conversations and interactions with the various people of Gormenghast, he’s trying to claw his way up the social ladder.

    Q: What was your process like?

    McGrath: We began over the course of the summer. We wouldn’t take the more conventional way of memorizing something and just sitting and reading it; it was recommended that we do it while we’re doing everyday errands, activities like washing the dishes — just repeating lines and getting them into our body. We took a very physical approach in tackling this play. We began with a three day physical workshop; a rigorous experimentation where we played around with many different styles. We looked at our characters through the lenses of different animals and did some cast and ensemble-building exercises.

    Q: For one of your exercises I hear you all had to bring in pictures that you felt related to your character. What did you bring in?

    McGrath: I brought in a picture of fog setting on a dead forest. I did that because I think Steerpike is a new presence in Gormenghast and is very otherworldly. He comes upon this old place that is bound by ritual and is so firmly held within tradition, and he completely changes the atmosphere.

    Q: Do you like your character?

    McGrath: I love my character. He’s so much fun to play. He’s a real challenge because I find there are so many different faces to Steerpike depending on who he’s talking to. He’s got a lot of layers to him. As much as we’re pushing the melodrama of it all, there’s also a very three-dimensional layer which we’re experimenting with in regards to everybody’s character. I’ve discovered a lot about him and I’ve really grown to love him. I’m sure for some people it would be more of a love-to-hate kind of thing, but I love Steerpike. I think he is so sharp and so quick, and ambitious, that it really is unparalleled. In this world I think he has such a way of working people. A master manipulator.

    Q: Why is this play seen as grotesque and haunting?

    McGrath: In a very goosebumps kind of way, there are a lot of unsettling moments. We’re trying to gross you out a little bit. It’s not completely different than horror film or imagery; we really draw on that in the show. We want people to, at times, feel uncomfortable.

    In regards to the physicality, everybody’s character is over the top and unrecognizable if we’re looking at them in regards to our world. In Gormenghast, everything is huge, everything is over the top and anything goes.

    Candice Burn and Caroline Coon as twins Cora and Clarice

    Q: What are your roles in the play?

    Burn: I play Cora and she’s one of the twins of Sepulchrave. She and her sister have been isolated from everyone. Our back story is that they were actually sick with a disease and they were separated so they would’t cause each other to become more sick. Then, when it seemed all hope was lost, they brought them together again and our characters eventually got better. That’s why we always stick together. We feel like we are one body. Our movement reflects that; our thought process allows us to move to one side and then the other, in synchronicity.

    Coon: I play Clarice. We are the younger twin sisters of Sepulchrave, who is the Earl of Gormenghast. They’ve been isolated and so they’ve always felt like they were on the outskirts of everything. In the play, you’re going to see them using Steerpike to try and climb to power, and regain the place they feel they should be. While they’re trying to use Steerpike, Steerpike is also trying to use them.

    Q: You move in unison – what was that process like?

    Coon: Every head move, every look and every step is choreographed. That was really difficult — it took a lot of going over to make sure we were on the same page for each movement we made. We can’t even turn our head without the other one doing it.

    Burn: It’s a very collaborative process. We went through our lines with what our intentions were, and how we found each other moving naturally when we said our lines. We fed off of each other and choreographed those movements. In perspective of who else is in the scene, it’s very heavily influenced by the blocking of other people. We follow Steerpike in many scenes, which really shows how he manipulates us and has that control over us.

    Coon: We practiced a lot in front of the mirror to get it right, and to make sure that we were walking symmetrically.

    Burn: It took us a while to figure out our walk. We used those intensive and research days on what kind of animal physicality we see in our characters, and we found a combination of bird and cat movements. We definitely use that in our head movements — the characters are even described as bird brains. People perceive them to be mad or not all there.

    Q: So, who is really using who? Do you feel that your characters are aware of what’s going on?

    Burn: I don’t think they feel like they’re using Steerpike. I think they actually trust him because he made such a large gesture towards them and no one else has. The characters are almost in shock — they’re surprised that someone wants to help them at all. He gains their trust and gives them all these promises, and they don’t have anyone else other than each other. The twins don’t manipulate Steerpike the way he does to them.

    Coon: I looked at the analogy of the frog in boiling water. Steerpike as a character is very good at manipulating people and I think they brought their walls down for him because no one has reached out to them in so long or shown them any type of respect. They really latch onto that. He uses their trust and molds them into what he needs them to be.

    Q: Why do you feel the play is seen as grotesque?

    Coon: There are physicalities and events that happen on stage that are unsettling. There is definitely some gore in this show. There are some props and moments that make even us uncomfortable.

    Burn: Even the soundtrack of the show. There are things that, every time in rehearsal, we just can’t listen to. It wakes up your senses and makes you go to an uncomfortable place. That’s what makes it grotesque, in a way.

    Coon: The world is so out of anything in this realm. We use the term “Gormenghasty”. The end result is stuff that you’ve never seen before, which is why we’re really excited about performing this.

    Gormenghast is being performed at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, 15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines. The performances take place on November 11, 12, 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 13 at 2:00 p.m. and Nov. 18 at 11:30 p.m.

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  • Gormenghast

    DART Performances in 2016-17

    Our second season in the new Marilyn I. Walker Theatre at 15 Artists’ Common!

     

    Presented by the Department of Dramatic Arts, Brock University

    Gormenghast

    by Mervyn Peake. Stage adaptation by John Constable.

    Directed by MIKE GRIFFIN, Assisted by SYDNEY FRANCOLINI
    Designed by DAVID VIVIAN
    Lighting Design by JENNIFER JIMENEZ
    Sound Design by MAX HOLTEN-ANDERSEN

    When:
    November 11-19, 2016
    FRIDAY, NOV. 11 & SATURDAY, NOV. 12 at 7:30 pm
    SUNDAY, NOV. 13 at 2:00 pm
    FRIDAY, NOV. 18 at 11:30 am & 7:30 pm
    SATURDAY, NOV. 19 at 7:30 pm

    Location: 
    Marilyn I. Walker Theatre, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, 15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines

    Cost:
    Tickets: $18† adults; $15† seniors/students; $5† eyeGo program; $12† groups (10+)
    †Applicable fees and taxes are extra.

    Evil is afoot in the Gormenghast castle! Come and join us in this labyrinth of dark corridors, where the bizarre and mysterious come to life. Gormenghast is a haunting and hilarious tale of the dysfunctional house of Groan, adapted from the UK cult classic fantasy trilogy written by Mervyn Peake.In a world bound by iron laws, where ancient ritual and order reigns supreme and the governing motto is “No Change!”, two youth rise up to shake the castle walls: Titus Groan, the rebellious seventy-seventh Earl and heir to the decaying castle, and Steerpike, a conniving kitchen boy, determined to rise above his lowly position to control the House of Groan.The Guardian wrote about John Constable’s adaptation of Gormenghast, “A gloriously impossible realisation of Mervyn Peake’s soaring flight of fancy.”

    “The play has a huge appeal to those with taste for very dark humour…not for the faint of heart.” (The BBC)

    see the calendar listing for more information.

     



    Teaser

    Check out this sneak “Peake” of Gormenghast – a haunting and hilarious tale adapted from the fantasy trilogy written by Mervyn Peake.

    The play runs Nov. 11 – 19 in the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre at 15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines, ON.

    Buy tickets here: http://bit.ly/2fwuqdE

    Teachers and faculty should read this letter about group bookings and discounts.

    Study Guide

    This is a Study Guide to inform and enhance your appreciation of our production of Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake, with stage adaptation by John Constable. The production is directed by Mike Griffin, faculty at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. The Study Guide was prepared by the Assistant Director, Sydney Francolini.

    The Study Guide provides information about considerations regarding Direction, Design, Style, Puppetry, and Gender.

    The authors of the Study Guide do not own the visual content found on the web and are using it here for educational and learning purposes.  Please contact us if you wish to have any material removed.

    Contact and Media inquiries:
    Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts
    905.688.5550, x4765 or e-mail: mbalsom@brocku.ca

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • The Ash Mouth Man leaves audience with a bitter reality in comedic form

    Stolen Theatre Collective’s Ash Mouth Man – stolentheatrecollective.ca

    (Source: The Brock Press, Tuesday, September 20, 2016 | by Kat Powell)

    The Ash Mouth Man, a brand new original play written by Brock Dramatic Arts (DART) faculty and Stolen Theatre Collective’s (STC) Gillian Raby and Danielle Wilson, opened Thursday September 15 at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre in partnership with the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. Prior to any acting, those attending are participants in the experience of the show; the Ash Mouth Man brings audiences into an interactive and “up close and personal” space; audience members are asked to contribute names, landmarks, and interact with objects from the start. The show, inspired by the short story Dead Sea Fruits by Australian author Kaaron Warren, takes audiences back to the 1950s where we find Lorna (played by Danielle Wilson), a progressive female dentist who works almost exclusively on Pretty Girl Street ‘where the girls don’t eat’.

    Throughout the show, we see Lorna undergo somewhat of a transformation. Her equal-parts blissful and frustrating marriage to Harry (played by STC co-founder and co-artistic director Fede Holten) acts as somewhat of a catalyst to her vulnerability. We observe as Lorna struggles with self-doubt, trust and her worth. We watch as Lorna changes from someone who takes pity on the ‘Pretty Girls’ (played by Colin B. Anthes and Sean Aileen McLelland) whose teeth are falling out from malnourishment and have delusional dreams of a mythical (or so we think) figure called the Ash Mouth Man, to one who puts herself on the same level as them.

    One can definitely appreciate the production’s set design and interactive and captivating style, and applaud the fairly seamless application of the dark comedic style to somewhat of a heavy underlying topic. This show without a doubt leaves audiences with something to think about. Nearing the end of the show, audiences are left with a ‘story’ to bring home to their families and their friends. The Ash Mouth Man is not just a show, but a conversation starter.

    The Ash Mouth Man is currently playing at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts until September 25. Tickets are available through the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre Box Office online, in person, or by phone at (905) 688-0722.

     

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    Categories: Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News

  • Stolen Theatre back on the scene

    (Source: Niagara Falls Review, Wednesday, September 14, 2016 | by John Law. Photo caption: Danielle Wilson co-wrote and stars in Stolen Theatre Collective’s The Ash Mouth Man, opening Sept. 15. PHOTO: John Law /Postmedia network)

    The small, immersive company is back Sept. 15 with a brand new play written by Wilson and director Gyllian Raby, the “film noir comedy” The Ash Mouth Man. Nine shows are scheduled for the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts, and as always, things will get intimate. At just 48 seats per performance, it’ll feel like an up close and personal play.

    It’s a style Wilson loves – the company’s previous show, Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter, was limited to just 28 seats.

    “We really enjoy playing with the atmosphere of a piece, and giving the audience a different experience,” she says. “It’s hard to disengage when you’re that (close). It gives you a much more visceral experience when you’re that close.”

    Wilson, a teacher with Brock University’s Department of Dramatic Arts, and husband Fede Holten – a playwright and Niagara winemaker – formed Stolen Theatre Collective in 2007 as a way to do original and unique material in different ways. They managed three shows in four years before tight schedules forced the four-year layoff.

    “We were super happy to be back,” says Wilson. “We had great attendance for the show (and) got a lot of good press. A lot of people didn’t know who we were, and I felt we put (ourselves) back in people’s minds.
    “We’re all so busy, we all have other jobs and things to do.”

    The Ash Mouth Man is a blending of two short stories Wilson and Raby wrote separately. Once combined, it formed an odd, comical tale about a female dentist named Lorna in the ’50s – Canada’s 31st female dentist, to be precise – who works in a ward for people with disorders. The patients share an urban legend about a figure named the ‘Ash Mouth Man,’ whose kiss will make everything taste like ashes afterwards.

    “It took us awhile to figure out, what is the genre? We’re dabbling in aspects of film noir but there’s also a lightness to it.”

    The show stars Walker, Holten, Colin Bruce Anthes and Sean McClelland.

    Opening a regular show is hard enough – for Wilson, staging and starring in her own play is next level stress.

    “It definitely feels like a bigger risk,” she says. “We’re putting our own work out there that nobody’s seen before, and we don’t know how it’s going to be received.”

    jlaw@postmedia.com

    • WHAT: The Ash Mouth Man
    • WHO: Stolen Theatre Collective
    • WHERE: Marilyn I. Walker Theatre; 15 Artists’ Common; St. Catharines
    • WHEN: Sept. 15 to 25
    • TICKETS: $20; student/seniors/arts worker $15  www.firstontariopac.ca

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  • Brock students on the Royal Botanical Garden stage

    (Source: The Brock NewsMONDAY, AUGUST 15, 2016 | by . Photo: “Performers in Midsummer Night’s Dream playing at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton. Back left: John Wamsley, Zach Parsons, Jesse Horvath, Sean McLelland, Caitlin Popek, Nicole James and Dana Morin. Front left: Trevor Copp, Sean Rintoul, Claudia Spadafora, Michael Hannigan and Alma Sarai.”)

    A troupe of Brock University students is putting their dramatic arts talents to work this summer.

    Tottering Biped Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” – on now at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton – features a number of familiar Brock faces.

    The production, held at the newly opened David Braley and Nancy Gordon Rock Garden, has been three years in the making. Director and Brock drama instructor Todd Copp says his goal is to offer local opportunities to recent theatre grads.

    “We’ve noticed the difficulty emerging artists have here in getting off the ground and we lose artistic talent to Toronto and further cities every year as a result,” he says on the production’s Facebook page. “In casting this piece, we searched this area’s post secondary theatre programs for the most talented senior students/recent graduates – and offered them paid theatre work. It’s unprecedented in our area.”

    The production links young actors with more experienced ones, teaching the next generation of actors that they don’t need to move away to pursue their passion.

    A number of recent and current Brock drama students are involved on the stage and behind the scenes including Sean McClelland, Sean Rintoul, Caitlin Popek, Nicole James and Dana Morin.

    Nicole James, who is pursuing her BA in dramatic arts with a concentration in production and design, is the production’s stage manager and embraces the challenge of managing a nine-person cast. She works with assistant stage manager and fellow Brock student, Dana Morin.

    James credits Carolyn Mackenzie’s stage management course for giving her the skills she needs for the job.

    “I have the privilege to work professionally in the theatre,” she says. “It’s so obvious that the instructors at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts Dramatic Arts department actually care and are invested in the education of every single student.”

    Copp was an instructor with Brock’s Dramatic Arts program in 2016 and is the artistic director of Burlington’s Tottering Biped Theatre. Founded in 2009, the company is inspired by social justice. They have toured regionally and internationally.

    “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” runs August 10-14 and 17-21 at RBG Rock Garden 1185 York Blvd, Hamilton. Performances start at 7 p.m.; tickets are available at http://tickets.rbg.ca/PEO/default.asp.

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  • The Flu Season

    Showtime: April 14 – 16, 2016, Curtain at 7:30 pm

    Location: the Dramatic Arts Theatre at 15 Artists’ Common

    Will Eno’s “The Flu Season” plays whack-a-mole with everything you expect love to be.

    On stage in the Dramatics Arts Theatre, this Oppenheimer award-winning play has been selected by the graduating dramatic arts students as the strangest, most theatrical screen shot of the state of romantic affairs today.

    This unexpected comedy comes from the playwright the New York Times hails as “a Samuel Beckett for the Jon Stewart generation.”

    Romance is hacked and hijacked when a man and woman meet in a “retreat centre” that is surely unique in the known universe. They are under the observation of technicians and caretakers who are themselves infected by the multiplying pathetic fallacies of romance. Lovers are mad. Love hurts. Love makes you do crazy things. Love is The Flu Season.

    Guided by director and Professor Gyllian Raby, the 4F56 company includes: Elizabeth Amos, Eliza Anthony, Kelsey Burcher, Mary Askwith, Maria Evers, Alex Franks, Mark Harrigan, Robert Herr, Daryl Hunter, Jeremy Knapton, Katelyn Lander, Kevin Langendyk, Cole Larson, Oriana Marrone, Melinda Mohammed, Josh Sanger, and Raylene Turner.

    The Flu Season runs April 14, 15, and 16, at 7:30 pm, in the Dramatic Arts Theatre at the Marilyn I.Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, 15 Artists’ Common, in downtown St. Catharines. Tickets are $5 (applicable fees and taxes are extra) and can be purchased at the door, or through the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre Box Office. email: boxoffice@firstontariopac.ca; or visit online at: firstontariopac.ca

    You can receive a $2 discount on your ticket with a purchase of a meal of $5 or more from the following participating downtown eatries: Mahtay Café, Rise Above, The Bull BBQ Pit, Sky Bar Lounge at Brock University, Bella Noella’s Pizzeria, Gwen’s Teas, and So Jollof. Simply bring your restaurant receipt or voucher to the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre Box Office to receive this discount. This offer is not available online.

    Limited paid parking is available on-site, however, there are more than 1,000 spots available in nearby parking garages, surface lots and on city streets within a five-minute walk to our address at 15 Artists’ Common. Visit http://www.stcatharines.ca/en/livein/ParkingLotsGarages.asp for a list of parking locations.

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  • One Act Festival 2016: Balancing Acts – presented by the Department of Dramatic Arts

    When: April 02 – 03, 2016

    Location: the Dramatic Arts Theatre at 15 Artists’ Common
    Admission: Donations accepted

    Join us for the annual One Act Play Festival in our inaugural season at the new Dramatic Arts Theatre of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts
    Group A – April 2 at 2 pm & April 3 at 7 pm
    a program of four short plays:
    Krapp’s Last Tape
    A Rustle of Wings
    Land of the Dead
    The Anger of Ernest and Ernestine

    Group B – April 2 at 7 pm & April 3 at 2 pm
    a program of four short plays:
    Play 
    Finger Food
    Apoplexy
    Mexico City

    How does this work? if you plan to attend both scheduled presentations on April 02 or April 03 you would see the complete program of 8 plays

    …or attend both presentations at 2:00 pm
    …or attend both presentations at 7:00 pm

    presented at the Dramatic Arts Theatre of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, 15 Artists’ Common, downtown St. Catharines

    Tickets: At the door, first come first served
    Cost: Pay What You Can
    Limited paid parking on site

    ***MATURE CONTENT***

    for more information visit the Facebook Event Page.

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  • Major Predictions, Barbara

    Showtime: Tuesday, February 23, 2016, 7:30 p.m.
    Location: “Studio A” MW 251, 15 Artists’ Common

    Workshop and reading of a new play by David Fancy written in response to George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara, featuring a cast of Shaw Festival ensemble members and DART students. Major Predictions, Barbara takes place in our contemporary world of “killer code,” TED talks, and predictive surveillance; Fancy’s text is intercut with passages from Shaw’s original text.

    This event is sold out; please contact Karen Fricker if you would like to be placed on a waiting list.

    There is limited parking adjacent to the theatre, which costs $10. Please arrive early to make sure you can get one of these spots if you require it. Parking is also available nearby at the locations indicated on our Contact page.

    The approximate running time is two hours.

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  • POOR

    By Essential Collective Theatre

    Co-presented by FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre with production assistance by the Department of Dramatic Arts

    Showtimes: February 18 – 28, 2016: Tuesdays – Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 2pm

    Tickets are available at firstontariopac.ca

    Location: Robertson Theatre, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, 250 St. Paul Street, St. Catharines

    A new one-woman play by Vancouver playwright Suzanne Ristic, this darkly comic piece was first produced in 2014 at the Vancouver Fringe Festival. ECT’s production will be performed by DART part-time faculty member Monica Dufault and will be directed by Kim Selody, Artistic Director of Presentation HouseTheatre.

    The play centres on an ultra rich Canadian woman, Shelly Cormorant, who pretends to be homeless in order to better understand the plight of the 99%. A contemporary Marie-Antoinette in her ignorance, Shelly unwittingly offends everyone she meets in her attempt to empathize with the “poor”, all the while taking advice from a vision of Scarlett O’Hara. She has sex with a homeless man, and is titillated by the prospect of continuing the liaison in the filth of this man’s squat. The man sees through her façade and seizes the opportunity to profit from their relationship. Ultimately, Shelly loses her status and power, and makes a desperate attempt to affect real change through an act of terrorism.

    This script explores current socio-economic disparity through the character of a woman of extreme privilege and her oblivious attitude toward the rest of the world. Shelly is at once detestable and hilarious, outrageous and pitiable. She recognizes that her status as a “trophy wife” (as the character self identifies) is embedded in her physical appearance,  and that this currency is quickly diminishing as she ages. Her rebellion against the valuation of women based on their looks is tied up with her drive to play at being impoverished.

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    Categories: Events, Plays