Articles tagged with: Mainstage

  • Grand finale weekend for Orlando at the MIW Theatre

    Orlando, on stage at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre, closes Nov. 2, 2019. Dramatic Arts student Taj Crozier, in the role of Queen Elizabeth, with Jane Smith as Clorinda, on the set of Orlando.

    Brock University’s Department of Dramatic Arts is set to present the final performances of an original presentation of Orlando, at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.

    Sarah Ruhl’s adaptation takes viewers from the witty pages of Virginia’s Woolf’s timeless novel into the sensual world of the stage, where identity is learned and unlearned. Join the ensemble as they salsa dance with gender, dash through carefully cut English gardens and land centuries farther than they began, but with the same question: Can we learn who we truly are in a world constructed to tell us who we should be?

    The students performing Orlando write about the premise of the production, the urgency of its themes and their deep work as artists. In the program notes they ask:

    “Orlando showcases the highs, lows, and complications of love. But not just love in the sense of relationships, but love in all its forms, love in all its beauty. How do we, in the 21st century, re-ground ourselves in our roots in nature?”

    Dramatic Arts student Alexandra Chubaty Boychuk has published an insightful and revealing look at the story of Orlando and this production in her article for DARTcritics.com: “Fluid identities onstage at DART: “The question generation” takes on Woolf and Ruhl’s Orlando”. Boychuk reviews some recent initiatives in contemporary theatre to represent voices that society “has tried to silence, especially those who identify as transgender or don’t identify with gender at all”:

    “Enter Orlando, a play that directly tackles questions of gender identity and how we perceive it. Orlando: A Biography was written by Virginia Woolf in 1928 and adapted into a play by Sarah Ruhl in 1998. The play follows the titular character through six centuries, starting with the reign of Elizabeth I and ending in the present day. When Orlando turns 30, they stop aging and go to sleep as a man and wake up as a woman.”

    Paige Hunt-Harman, the third-year student and actor who plays Orlando, tells us how important this work is to the students of the Department, and of Brock University:

    “We are now the question generation,” Hunt-Harman says. “We want to ask more questions; we want to challenge the norms that society has brought upon us and I really think that this play brings that to the forefront.”

    Dramaturge and fourth-year student Emily Clegg shares her thoughts about the play and their production:

    “What can be said about a play that goes through multiple centuries, including characters that all have very similar questions of identity? Perhaps what we can take from Orlando is the utmost joy in the difficulties of navigating our identities, and the resistance against the social world which tries to tell us who we should be, rather the who we actually are. It’s a beautiful tragedy that continues to mark our current moment in history.“

    Directed by Dramatic Arts faculty, Dr. David Fancy, the set, lighting and media is designed by Dramatic Arts alumnus James McCoy, with costumes designed by Hamilton-based designer and Dramatic Arts instructor Kelly Wolf and Sound Design by Dramatic Arts student James Dengate.

    Orlando showcases the talents of students in the Department of Dramatic Arts undergraduate program. Josh Loewen is the Assistant Director, Emily Clegg is the dramaturge and Frances Johnson is the Stage Manager, assisted by Peter Herbert. Performers include: Diego Blanco, Taj Crozier, Holly Hebert, Paige Hunt-Harman, Asenia Lyall, Sid Malcolm, Beth Martin, Nathan Rossi, and Jane Smith.

    The public presentation program of the Department of Dramatic Arts (brocku.ca/miwsfpa/dramatic-arts) is an integral part of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts’ mandate to contribute to regional cultural development and build community connections by engaging our audiences with the breadth of talent and creativity of the students, staff, guest artists and faculty of Brock University.

    This production premiered the weekend of October 25th through 27th. The final presentations are Friday Nov. 1 and Saturday Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m., at the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, 15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines.

    Tickets are $20 for Adults or $16 for Students/Seniors and are available through the BrockU university tickets website. brocku.universitytickets.com
    Group Sales and special orders are available by contacting Brian Cumberland, Production Manager, at bcumberland@brocku.ca .

    Parking is not 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 stcatharines.ca/en/livein/ParkingLotsGarages for a list of parking locations.

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    Categories: Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, Media Releases, Performance Season, Plays, Uncategorised

  • Fluid identities onstage at DART: “The question generation” takes on Woolf and Ruhl’s Orlando

    (From: DARTCritics, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2019 | by )

    Contemporary theatre companies are making strides in representing individuals whose voices society has tried to silence, especially those who identify as transgender, or don’t identify with a gender at all. Transgender performance artist Travis Alabanza’s one-person show, Burgerz, has been getting rave reviews around Europe. Two-spirited actor Ty Defoe and non-binary actor Kate Bornstein made headlines when both made their Broadway debuts in Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men. Canadian transgender artist Vivek Shraya is creating and performing in her first theatre piece, How to Fail as a Pop Star, at Canadian Stage next February. There’s clearly an increasing amount of work created by and/or featuring individuals who don’t identify as cisgender, but nevertheless mainstream theatre and the theatrical canon seems to me to still be dominated by heteronormative stories.

    I asked David Fancy, director of Orlando, Brock University’s first Mainstage production of the 2019-20 season, why he thinks much mainstream theatre hasn’t treated gender non-conformity or gender fluidity. “I think humans are continuously in survival mode and think in terms of binary logic because it’s a way of cutting to the chase, and it’s simple habituation,” says Fancy. “I think it actually takes work to think outside of that, and I think there’s a lot of energy and anger that goes into reinforcing those perimeters simply because historically, properties have been perpetuated along these patrilineal lines.” He explains that there’s “a history of privileging the cisgender hetero matrix that [Judith] Butler talks about, what she describes as the false stabilisation of certain sets of binaries, and so many cultural institutions are organized around that.”

    Taj Crozier and Paige Hunt-Harman in Orlando. Photos by Neil Silcox.

    Enter Orlando, a play that directly tackles questions of gender identity and how we perceive it. Orlando: A Biography was written by Virginia Woolf in 1928 and adapted into a play by Sarah Ruhl in 1998. The play follows the titular character through six centuries, starting with the reign of Elizabeth I and ending in the present day. When Orlando turns 30, they stop aging and go to sleep as a man and wake up as a woman. They stay in the biological body of a woman for the rest of the play, but nothing else about them has changed. Paige Hunt-Harman, the actor who plays Orlando, feels the character doesn’t necessarily identify as either gender: “he/she/they don’t necessarily know who they are when it comes to gender,” says Hunt-Harman. “They kind of see themselves as just this ever-flowing entity that is kind of always going to be there, always there to ask those questions, to say, ‘who am I?’ and ‘what’s to come?’ and ‘what will people think, or do I even care what people think?’”

    Orlando premiered Off-Broadway in 2010; in July of 2018, Soulpepper Theatre produced its Canadian premiere with Sarah Afful in the title role. With Brock University staging the play this year, are we moving towards a theatrical landscape (and perhaps consequently, a society) where gender fluidity is moving further into mainstream representation? Both Fancy and Hunt-Harman agree that we are. And good thing, too – especially in a university setting in which many students identify as gender non-binary or gender non-conforming, representation on the stage is important. We still live in a heteronormative society and works like Orlando are needed to disrupt and question that thinking, to advocate that people of all genders and sexualities have avoice.

    The play certainly challenges questions of gender and how we perceive it. Hunt-Harman shared the story of an early rehearsal in which Fancy asked the ensemble what masculinity meant to them, after which there was an awkward pause before someone suggested, “big muscles?” And maybe that is how many see masculinity today – the big, strong, protective man versus the frail, delicate, damsel-in-distress. But do these traits have to be separate and rigid between the sexes? This play works to blur these lines: “Orlando really starts at the beginning of the play as a very stereotypical, heroic male, the hegemonic hero of the story,” Hunt-Harman says, “and I believe by playing that up we really show the audience just how we as a society perceive masculinity — and the same goes for femininity. But throughout the play we see… that stylized gender kind of transform into something that we now are able to connect with, where it’s not necessarily one thing or the other. It’s very grey… I see masculine in the feminine and feminine in the masculine.”

    It’s not just gender that this production of Orlando addresses – it also touches on issues of racialization. While Ruhl’s adaptation has eliminated Woolf’s uses of words like “moor,” there are still remnants of racializing language that the ensemble has worked to challenge by, for example, cutting out all mentions of the word “gypsy.” When Orlando transitions from man to woman, they do so in Constantinople (now Istanbul), which is highly exoticized and orientalised in Woolf’s novel, and consequently Ruhl’s script. “There’s a whole tradition in colonial literature of white people from Europe going to a foreign place that’s exotic and they have all kinds of discoveries. This is a repeated trope in colonial texts,” Fancy explains, “and it’s left unexamined by Woolf because she takes on the question of gender, but it’s almost like it’s first-wave feminism where you have a white woman, upper class, going through these discoveries.” Without giving too much away, the ensemble has taken this scene in Constantinople and over-emphasized the racialization by being hyper-theatrical about it, before then deconstructing it.“We establish it and then just… almost campily, certainly almost cheesy, with theatrical means, take it apart,” says Fancy. “You have to make sure that if you’re foregrounding something, you’re foregrounding that it’s a construction. And you’re showing how it’s made, and how you take it apart.”

    Sid Malcolm in Orlando.

    Orlando and the questions intertwined with it come at the right time, especially with an audience likely primarily composed of university students. Young people are recognizing their power now more than ever and are questioning what has always been presented as “natural and inevitable,” as Fancy would say. “We are now the question generation,” Hunt-Harman says. “We want to ask more questions; we want to challenge the norms that society has brought upon us and I really think that this play brings that to the forefront.”

    Orlando plays at the Marilyn I Walker Theatre, 15 Artists’ Common, from October 25 – November 2. Purchase your tickets online.


    DARTCritics is a project of the Department of Dramatic Arts, founded by Dr. Karen Fricker.  Launched in 2013, the site originated as a practical way for students to train in the art of reviewing, and also sought to bring the artistic community of Brock University and St. Catharines closer together. The website features writing about theatre produced and seen in Niagara, Hamilton, Stratford and Toronto. Please follow DARTCritics as they continue to search for awesome theatre, meeting fascinating artists along the way.

    You can also follow DARTcritics here:

    @DARTCritics
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    DARTcritics.com is partially funded by the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, in support of student learning; experiential education; student professionalization; public engagement with the teaching, learning and production activities of the Department of Dramatic Arts; new ways of thinking; and the nurturing of links with our communities.

    The opinions expressed by the writers of the DARTcritics.com website are their own.

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    Categories: Current Students, Events, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News, Performance Season, Plays, Uncategorised

  • Dramatic Arts students explore the theme of Expectation and Reality

    The popular One Act Festival is coming back to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts this weekend. Pictured is the performance of All by Myself from the 2017 One Act Festival directed by Naomi Richardson, designed by Chelsea Wilson and featuring Rebecca Downing, Jessica Johnson, Alex Boychuk, Lauren Reed and David Poirier.

    The popular One Act Festival is returning to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts this weekend.

    Students from the Dramatic Arts Directing II course (DART 3P54) have been hard at work developing their plays under the supervision and guidance of instructor Neil Silcox and teaching assistant Kevin Hobbs. The experiential course offers students practical and real-world experience as directors, dramaturges, performers, designers and theatre technicians, often for the first time.

    Silcox says “Brock does a great job of balancing out the theoretical and experiential aspects of dramatic arts” compared to the other programs he’s worked for.

    “Developing a strong understanding of theories and then being able to get on your feet and actually do it is the only way to learn to do performing arts,” Silcox says.

    Directing II students are responsible for selecting a script, auditioning a cast, rehearsing, designing the show and co-ordinating with the dramatic arts production team on all technical needs.

    This year, the festival is presenting six shows under the theme “Expectation and Reality.”

    Silcox says he discovered the theme “after reading through each of the students’ chosen acts side by side.”

    “We didn’t offer this theme to the students and make them try to select something,” he says.

    This process allows the students to have full control and individuality with their acts, but also challenges them to tweak their shows in a way that highlights the theme more.

    “Although it may seem cliché, audience members should expect the unexpected,” says Silcox.

    The shows range from century old to extremely contemporary, absurdism to strongly political, all exploring this year’s theme from a unique angle.

    Shows being presented this year include Articulation by Alicia Richardson, Your Mother’s Butt by Alan Ball, Echo by Joseph T. Shipley, The Little Stone House by George Calderon, The Lesson by Eugene Ionesco, and The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre by Allan Knee.

    All shows take place in the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre of the MIWSFPA on Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25 starting at 7 p.m. each night. Admission is pay-what-you-can and limited paid parking is available nearby. For more information on the 2018 One Act Festival, visit the Dramatic Arts website.

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  • MIWSFPA offers ticket promotion in honour of International Women’s Day

    Brock Dramatic Arts students Manchari Paranthahan and Meryl Ochoa in the production of Top Girls playing at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts March 2 to 10.

    (Source: The Brock News | Wednesday, March 13, 2018)

    The Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts is offering a special Top Girls promotion in honour of International Women’s Day.

    Tickets for the Brock production’s March 9 and 10 performances will be two for the price of one when buyers mention International Women’s Day.

    The promotion will be available in person at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre box office or by phone at 905-688-0722. Box office hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    Top Girls, Brock’s second mainstage production of the year, is a contemporary play that takes a critical look at women and their relationship to power and success.

    More information on the show is available on the Brock News.

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    Categories: Announcements, Events, In the Media, News, Plays

  • TOP GIRLS: opens March 2!

    by Caryl Churchill.

    Directed by DANIELLE WILSON
    Set Design by NIGEL SCOTT
    Costume Design by KELLY WOLF
    Lighting Design by JENNIFER JIMENEZ
    Original Music by MAX HOLTEN-ANDERSEN
    Assistant Direction by MICHELLE MOHAMMED
    Dialect Coaching by JANE GOODERHAM

    When: March 2-10, 2018

    FRIDAY, MARCH 2 and SATURDAY, MARCH 3 at 7:30 pm
    SUNDAY, MARCH 4 at 2:00 pm
    FRIDAY, MARCH 9 at 11:30 am and 7:30 pm
    SATURDAY, MARCH 10 at 7:30 pm

    What would you sacrifice to get to the top?
    Top Girls opens at the MIWSFPA on March 2.

    TOP GIRLS, by celebrated playwright Caryl Churchill and directed by Danielle Wilson, runs from Friday, March 2, 2018 to Saturday, March 10, 2018 in the Marilyn I. Walker Theatre, at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, 15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines.

    Manchari Paranthahan as Nell, Meryl Ochoa as Win, in Top Girls at Brock University.

    The Department of Dramatic Arts, part of Brock University’s Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, is proud to present an original production of this venerable play about women and power. First produced in 1982, last seen in Niagara at the Shaw Festival in 2015, this contemporary play tells the story of Marlene, a career-driven woman who is only interested in women’s success in business.

    The play is an exploration and critical look at women and their relationship to power and success. For the director, Professor Danielle Wilson, the main question at the heart of the play is “what would you sacrifice to get to the top?”

    The play follows the story of Marlene, who in 1980’s London has just been promoted to managing director of the Top Girls Employment Agency. With a magic realist twist we see Marlene celebrate her success at a dinner party with five women from history, literature, and art, and as the drink begins to flow, so do their stories of family, adventure, and loss which overlap in witty and humorous dialogue.

    Manchari Paranthahan as Nell, Meryl Ochoa as Win, Helena Ciurciura as Marlene, in Top Girls at Brock University.

    Throughout the play we also meet the real-life women in Marlene’s life at the office. They struggle to rise to the top of the corporate ladder but are held back by lack of opportunity and the harsh competitiveness of the business world.

    The themes and story of the play are extremely topical.  The play examines the challenges of working women who choose self-promotion and career over motherhood, family, domesticity. We learn of the cost of Marlene’s ‘successful’ life. Set during the reign of the British Prime Minster Margaret Thatcher, known as the “Iron Lady”, the play asks whether it was an advance to have a woman prime minister if we elected someone with policies like hers.

    TOP GIRLS highlights the contradictions between feminism and capitalism. A running theme throughout the play is the secrets that underpin Marlene’s success which in some ways serve to perpetuate the patriarchal structure common in many workplaces. We only learn of these secrets in the final confrontational scene with her closest family, Joyce and her daughter, Angie.

    The play is directed by Dramatic Arts faculty Danielle Wilson. Professional collaborating artists include set designer Nigel Scott, costume designer by Kelly Wolf, lighting designer Jennifer Jimenez and music composer Max Holten-Andersen. Jane Gooderham is the Dialect Coach.

    Helena Ciurciura as Marlene, Emma McCormick as Angie, in Top Girls at Brock University.

    TOP GIRLS showcases the talents of students in the Department of Dramatic Arts undergraduate program. Michelle Mohammed is the Assistant Director, Alicia Marie Bender is the Stage Manager, Whiney Braybrook-Byl is Assistant Stage Manager. Performers include: Helena Ciuciura, Emma McCormick, Samantha Mastrella, Meryl Ochoa, Manchari Paranthahan, Catherine Tait and Kristina Ojaperv.

    READ ALL ABOUT IT!

    Director Danielle Wilson discusses feminism, ambition, #MeToo and the unique challenge of mounting this play in a brief interview found at the bottom of this page.

    Fourth-year student and Assistant Director for the production, Michelle Mohammed, is writing about the development of the show in a dedicated blog: darttopgirls.wordpress.com and dartcritics.com

    The public presentation program of the Department of Dramatic Arts is an integral part of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts’ mandate to contribute to regional cultural development and build community connections by engaging our audiences with the breadth of talent and creativity of the students, staff, guest artists and faculty of Brock University.

    The Department invites teachers and educators to bring their students to see this exciting production of TOP GIRLS.
    Read the Special Invitation to learn more.

    Marilyn I. Walker Theatre at the
    Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts
    Limited parking onsite.

    Purchase tickets at the FirstOntario PAC Box Office
    905.688.0722 or online firstontariopac.ca
    Tickets: $18 Adults|$15 Seniors/Students| $5 eyeGo | $12 Groups
    *Applicable fees and taxes are extra

    See the article in the Brock News.


    We asked the director of Top Girls, Professor Danielle Wilson, about feminism, ambition, and the unique challenges of mounting this play.

    What type of feminist beliefs does Top Girls draw upon?

    The play is an exploration and critical look at women and their relationship to power and success. For me the main question at the heart of the play is “what would you sacrifice to get to the top?” Something is always sacrificed, whether it be relationships, personal integrity, mental health, leisure time etc., in the pursuit of success. Top Girls looks specifically at women’s responsibilities and relationships with each other in a capitalistic and individualistic society. It tackles these issues in a broader political spectrum vs. it being about women overcoming their oppression. You can’t get away from being a woman in this play, no matter how hard these women try. What I understand is that the play was inspired by two streams of feminism: one which is about changing the economic situation for everyone which is more collectively oriented and one that accepts and supports an individual’s success over the collective gain. Top Girls examines an individualistic society in which the few thrive at the expense of many and one in which isolated female success overshadows the plight of the majority.

    How do you connect the feminism of the 1980’s portrayed in Top Girls to feminist movements and/or beliefs today? How do you think our students will understand the representation of feminist thought in your production?

    Fourth wave feminism, which we are seeing now, tends to be more collectively oriented. Social media started an entire #MeToo movement, which questions abuse of power. Top Girls discusses power and success in relationship to women. The main character in the play, Marlene, tends to use what one might call more ‘masculine’ tactics in the workplace. The entire corporate structure has been built on more masculine characteristics of leadership. When a woman is in a top position, masculine qualities can run contrary to what is expected of her gender, so she may be perceived as cold or distant or a bitch. Margaret Thatcher, who serves as an unseen character in the play was described as the ‘Iron Lady”, but no man who ruled in the way she did was ever called the ‘Iron Man’, he was just a man. She even had voice lessons to help her sound more masculine so that her cabinet would take her seriously. One of the characters in the play, Nell says that “an employer is going to have doubts about a lady, whether she’s got the guts to push through to a closing situation. They think we’re too nice. They think we listen to the buyer’s doubts. They think we consider his needs and his feelings.” We’re becoming aware that there is more than one way to lead and it is not an imperative to oppress or step on others in order to succeed.

    I think students will recognize the issues being debated between Marlene and Joyce as they each argue opposite political viewpoints. Today, there is definitely a more collectively oriented mindset as evidenced by the Occupy movement, Idle No More, and the #MeToo movement. There is resistance to the social and economic status quo. Young people, both men and women, are building strength through bonds with each other and challenging systemic abuse, racial profiling, and poor economic prospects.

    What is “the top”?

    I think it depends on the person. Success and reaching ‘the top’ is complicated and is defined by each person differently. For some it may be reaching the top over someone else, for others it may be reaching the top of one’s own potential.

    Marlene’s character seems to be the one striving for the “top” and stepping on anyone in her way, should we be feeling empathy for her? Should we like or dislike her? What should we be learning from her actions?

    I think ultimately it will be up to the audience to decide how they feel about her.  We learn a lot about her personal life in the third act and what she has sacrificed to get to where she is. Caryl Churchill, the playwright, has written a complex character who is flawed, but what human being isn’t? Some may admire and empathize with her actions. She did what she had to do. Others may not. We see both sides of the story in the final act in which she has a showdown with her sister, Joyce, who has taken a very different path in life. Ultimately, Churchill has written a play that involves more questions than answers, but that’s the beauty of it, you get to chew over these questions after the play is over. To me, that’s the mark of a great play.

    Are there significant challenges with this production that our audience would be interested in knowing about?

    The play involves a big dinner party at the very beginning. Caryl Churchill has written overlapping dialogue where people are talking over each other, like at a real dinner party. It has been challenging to choose what the audience hears and doesn’t hear.  Sometimes the audience will hear both and have to choose which to listen to. It has been both a challenge as a director and as an actor. Not only must the actors learn their lines, but they must also learn when they begin speaking in the middle of someone else’s line.

     

    February 17, 2018
    /dv

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  • PANTALONE’S PALACE, DART’S First Mainstage for 2017-18, opens October 27!

    Pantalone’s Palace

    Love and power collide in this fun-filled, fast paced physical comedy.

    Written and Directed by Mike Griffin

    Set & Costume Design by: Kelly Wolf
    Lighting Design by Chris Malkowski
    Sound Design by: James McCoy
    Mask Maker: Gina Bastone
    Assistant Direction by: Helena Ciuciura

    Hardworking Columbina just wants to enjoy the majestic Wooers’ Woods in peace after a long day’s work, but the greedy business tycoon Pantalone is scheming. When Columbina discovers his plot to build the biggest casino in the world, she knows she must take action. Armed with her wits and her lovesick friends, she aims to set things right in this fun-filled, fast paced, physical comedy that explores the meeting of contemporary life and classical Commedia dell’Arte.

    When: October 27 – November 4, 2017
    FRIDAY, OCT. 27 & SATURDAY, OCT. 28 at 7:30 pm
    SUNDAY, OCT. 29 at 2:00 pm
    FRIDAY, NOV. 3 at 11:30 am & 7:30 pm
    SATURDAY, NOV. 4 at 7:30 pm

    The Department invites teachers and educators to bring their students to see this exciting new production of Commedia dell’arte.
    Read the Special Invitation to learn more.

    See the article in the Brock News.

    See the teaser video.

    Marilyn I. Walker Theatre at the
    Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts
    Limited paid parking onsite

    Purchase tickets at the FirstOntario PAC Box Office
    905.688.0722 or online firstontariopac.ca
    Tickets: $18 Adults|$15 Seniors/Students| $5 eyeGo | $12 Groups
    *Applicable fees and taxes are extra

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  • Brock University engages with community at Burlington Performing Arts Centre

    Brock University Dramatic Arts faculty and students engage with young theatre artists and teachers at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre

    This past Tuesday Oct. 17, the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts participated in “Career Day – Life in the Theatre Industry” at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre. This event welcomed approximately 150 students/teachers from seven different schools and three different district school boards.

    The day consisted of interactive workshops and demonstrations to explore the many diverse careers available in the theatre industry, a live theatrical performance, and the opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with representatives and students of the leading college and university programs offering performance and production related theatre courses. It was a great opportunity for students to delve into the vocations of the theatre world in a creative and experiential manner.

    Throughout the day many teachers mentioned how successful the event was and how it fits so successfully into the secondary curriculum.

    The Department of Dramatic Arts looks forward to meeting these young artists again when they apply for future studies at Brock University!

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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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    Categories: Events, Plays

  • The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny

    WRITTEN BY: Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill
    DIRECTED BY: Virginia Reh
    SCENOGRAPHY BY: David Vivian

    Show dates/times: Nov. 13, 14, 20 & 21 at 7:30 p.m.
    Matinee performances: Sunday, Nov. 15 at 2 p.m., & Friday, Nov. 20 at 11:30 a.m.

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

    Purchase tickets here

    Come to Mahagonny where all your dreams and nightmares come true. The Widow Begbick welcomes you to her fantasyland for grown-ups. Every day’s party day in Mahagonny. Music! Dance! Drama! Why would you ever want to leave?

    Tickets are $18 Adults; $15 Students/Seniors; $12 Groups (10+);  $5 eyeGo high school program, and are available through the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre Box Office Centre
    at or online at boxoffice@firstontariopac.ca


    Brock University
    MEDIA RELEASE

    October 29, 2015
    Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts
    905.688.5550, x4765

    The curtain rises on the first mainstage presentation of the inaugural season for the new Dramatic Arts Theatre: The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny

    Brock University’s Department of Dramatic Arts presents their rendition of German playwright Bertolt Brecht and composer Kurt Weill’s renowned opera/musical, The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, to be held in the Dramatic Arts Theatre at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, 15 Artists’ Common, from Nov. 13 – 21, 2015.

    The title refers to the colour ‘mahogany’, Brecht’s reference to the German ‘Brown Shirts.’ This production is set in 1957 on the Gulf Coast, close to Pensacola. In parallels to the original productions, America is recovering from the McCarthy era, and the coast is threatened by an impending hurricane – in our case, Audrey.

    An opera of Epic Theatre, The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny follows the lives of its denizens as they are consumed by the power of money, which wins out against all other forces that motivate us: friendship, family, morality, philosophy.

    “In the whole human race, there is no greater criminal than a man without money.” ~Brecht/Weill, The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny

    Directed by Guest Artist Virginia Reh and designed by Associate Professor David Vivian, The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny showcases the talents of students in the Department of Dramatic Arts undergraduate program, including the performers: Keri Bishop, Helena Ciuciura, Nikka Collison, Caroline Coon, Ben Fallis, Andrew Godin, Rob Grady, Lena Hall, Mark Harrigan, Shanza Hashmi, Cole Larson, Adrian Marchesano, Sean McClelland, Jonah McGrath, Elizabeth Pereira, Julia Scaringi, Demetri Tsioros, and with special guest alumni David MacKenzie and Steve Reistetter.

    Virginia Reh states, “The original productions were in the early 1930s and very much in Brecht’s style of theatre for the people. In recent years, Mahagonny has become popular with large opera companies. Our production aims to dial the piece back to something Brecht might actually recognize.”

    The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny will run Nov. 13, 14, 20 & 21 at 7:30 p.m.; Nov. 15 at 2 p.m.; and Nov. 20 at 11:30 a.m., and will be held in the Dramatic Arts Theatre, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, 15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines. Tickets are $18 Adults; $15 Students/Seniors; $12 Groups (10+); $5 eyeGo high school program, and are available through the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre Box Office at 905.688.0722, online at http://firstontariopac.ca or via email: boxoffice@firstontariopac.ca

    Such programs from the Department of Dramatic Arts (https://brocku.ca/miwsfpa/dramaticarts) are an integral part of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts’ mandate in building connections between the community and the breadth of talent and creativity at Brock University.

    Parking is not 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 this website for a list of parking locations.

    This production contains strong language and sexual content.

    Media Day: Tuesday, November 10 at 5 p.m., held at the Dramatic Arts Theatre, 15 Artists’ Common, St. Catharines, ON.

    For more information or to set up interviews contact:
    Marie Balsom, Communications
    Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts
    T: 905.688.5550 x4765
    C: 905.964.7646
    E: mbalsom@brocku.ca
    W: brocku.ca/miwsfpa/dramaticarts


    Media & Downloads:

    View the TVCogeco feature on The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny below:

     

    Download a copy of the poster and the promotional card by clicking on the images below:

    Poster:
    The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny - Poster

    Promo Card:
    The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny - Promo Card

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    Categories: Events, Media Releases, News, Plays

  • THE BELLE’S STRATAGEM

    “Marie Antoinette” by Yuling Deng

    WRITTEN BY: Hannah Cowley
    DIRECTED BY: Gyllian Raby
    SCENOGRAPHER: Kelly Wolf

    November 13, 14, and 15, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
    Matinee performance: November 14 at 11:30 a.m.

    Performed in the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre, Brock University

    Hannah Cowley’s most successful Town Comedy of 1783 demonstrated how to get your man and keep him in Georgian times — but once relocated in today’s Toronto, the laughing feminism lurking within the Marriage Plot is exposed in all its decadent hilarity.

    purchase tickets here

    A Study Guide is available for review, prepared by Assistant Director Nicholas Leno: download to print a copy (PDF, 3.7 MB)

    Please scan here to buy tickets and follow us on social media. keepingupwithmrsracket.com

    The Belle’s (Social Media) Stratagem
    A central character in the Department of Dramatic Arts’ autumn Mainstage production, The Belle’s Stratagem, will have an active life on social media thanks to a partnership between students in one of the department’s courses and the Mainstage production team. The goal of this partnership is extend the life of The Belle’s Stratagem both before ad after the actual run (November 13-15) and to engage audiences in critical dialogue around the show.

    Director and DART professor Gyllian Raby and assistant director Nick Leno have adapted and updated Hannah Cowley’s 18th-century comedy to be set in today’s Toronto. Through Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, tech-savvy students in DART 3P95: Studies in Praxis I: Theatre Criticism are creating an online identity for one of the play’s central characters, Mrs. Racket. Followers of @racketlife can see photos of her favourite products, read her daily aphorisms, and watch “fan” videos posted on YouTube. Mrs. Racket’s online persona not only develops the character beyond the page and stage, but also highlights some of the production’s key themes related to consumerism, celebrity, and social class.

    The social media platforms officially launch on October 20. Each platform is interconnected through the blog www.keepingupwithmrsracket.com; the blog is also accessible via the production’s QR code, which is included in all publicity materials. Followers are encouraged to interact with Mrs. Racket across all three platforms using the hashtag #racketlife: they can repost her Instagram photos or post and tag their own, tweet with Mrs. Racket, and vlog about the production on YouTube. The possibilities for participation are endless! During the show’s run, Praxis students will be present before each performance to demonstrate this technology through an interactive lobby display.

    This partnership is part of a key component of the Theatre Criticism course, in which students immerse themselves behind-the-scenes in creative processes with local arts organizations, and write about it for the course blog, DARTcritics.com. The Belle’s (Social Media) Stratagem is an innovation this year, the first time that Theatre Criticism students have gone behind the scenes on a DART Mainstage and the first time that the learning outcomes involve a social media strategy.

    Instagram account: @racketlife
    Twitter account: @racketlife
    YouTube channel: Racketlife


    some words from our guests:

    …excellent adaptation with the references to modern Toronto and all its foibles.
    – Associate Dean, Dr. Brian Power

    By re-historicizing Hannah Cowley, [Gyllian Raby, the director] is able to liberate her message. Cowley’s hesitant feminism is sharpened in Raby’s adaption. And shifting the play’s locale from eighteenth-century London to twenty-first century Toronto, Raby adds biting commentary – much of it delivered through choruses of rap music – on the ravaging cultural and economic effects of unfettered financial capitalism, which goes well beyond Cowley’s predictable tut-tutting about the vulgar spending displays of England’s nabobs. . . . . Mixing rap music with formal eighteenth-century drama sounds depressingly like a sterile post-modern conceit. But it works wonderfully well in this instance, partly because Raby is the director of the play she adapted. She directs an exuberant student cast who seem just as much at home mincing through the formalities of a masqued ball as they do gyrating to the strains of Rick Ross, Lil’ Mama, and Salt ’n’ Pepa.
    – from a review by Professor Emeritus John Sainsbury in the online British Journal of Eighteenth-Century Studies published by the The British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.


    Press:

    Published on Nov 8, 2014: The Department of Dramatic Arts at Brock University presents The Belle’s Stratagem from November 13th to 15th. Katie Jones reports. See the Cogeco TV report on The Belle’s Stratagem:

     

    Published on Nov 11, 2014: From Brock TV, a look into The Belles Stratagem, opening this Thursday! Meet the cast and crew of DART’s latest production of Hannah Cowley’s The Belle’s Stratagem.

     


    Photos:

    Painting the set floor for Belles Stratagem. L-R: Nikka Collison, Caroline Coon, Andrew Von Lukawiecki, and Brian Cumberland (Production Manager)

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    Categories: Events, Plays