Drama group putting on an act
Wednesday, Mar 12, 2014 01:48 pm
A local performer is letting the cat out of the bag on one of Okotoks’ best-kept secrets.
Fiorentina (Florence) Maione, of the Dewdney Players Group Theatre, said few Okotokians are aware members of the local theatre group perform one act plays and put their skills to the test in the Alberta Drama Festival Foothills Region One Act Play Festival, so she is spreading the word about this month’s festival.
“People who do come love it - they love the variety and the depth,” she said. “They find it very powerful and entertaining, but many people don’t know about it. It’s one of Okotoks’ best kept secrets.”
Okotoks is hosting the one act play festival featuring 10 plays from Airdrie’s Nose Creek Players, Canmore’s Pine Tree Players and its own theatre group on March 21 at 7:30 p.m. and March 22 at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Dewdney Players will present a showing of its two plays, with adjustments suggested by the festival adjudicator, a week later on March 28 and 29 at 7:30 p.m. It will include a performance by Okotoks teen country crooner Maddison Krebs and a dramatic reading of The True Story of The Three Little Pigs.
Maione said Dewdney Players is better known for its full-length plays than the short 15 to 30 minute one act varieties.
“The one acts allow you to pick a piece that could be a bit deeper, darker and edgier - to handpick pieces you feel will challenge you as an actor and just being able to create them from scratch and to get a nice finished product out of it,” she said. “It becomes this art on the stage.”
Maione has written, directed and acted in a variety of theatre groups, including Loose Moose Theatre Company in Calgary, and joined the Dewdney Players in 2008.
Two years ago, Maione won best actress, her costar Steve Buoninsegni best actor and their performance best play in the festival, advancing them to provincials, which they won.
“It took me a few years of runner up to get a best actress,” said Maione. “I’m striving to be better every year and challenge myself with even a more difficult piece.”
This year is no different. Maione and Buoninsegni teamed up again with the one act play ‘Heart in the Ground,’ about two small-town farmers trying to cope with loss.
Maione performed the same play in 2008 with another actor, who was awarded best actor. Maione and the play received runner up recognition.
With changes to the set and technical aspects of the play, as suggested by the adjudicator years ago, and having recently experienced loss herself, Maione said this year’s performance won’t be the same.
“It’s going to be more powerful than it was in 2008 and more moving,” she said. “Steve brings a different dimension to it.”
In addition to directing her own show with Buoninsegni, Maione is co-directing the group’s other one-act play ‘Playtime,’ starring Okotoks mother and daughter duo Tracy Wyman and Haley Gray.
The play portrays a highly emotional interaction between a mother and her estranged daughter.
Wyman is enjoying the opportunity to perform alongside her 15-year-old daughter, who’s acted in school productions and for Dewdney Players.
“It was just an opportunity for the two of us to get on stage together,” she said. “I don’t know how many times a mother and daughter can actually do that.”
Wyman was also involved in drama productions as a child and recently returned to acting at the insistence of her daughter.
Wyman said ‘Playtime’ is a challenge for her and her daughter as the characters are opposite from their own personalities.
“It’s a bit of an artistic stretch,” she said. “My daughter has always done comedy or musical theatre and she’s got to be a bad girl and she’s not, but she’s pulling it off.”
Dewdney Players producer Ed Sands said the one act plays are a rare treat.
“It’s something different than the full length plays,” he said. “It’s a little friendly competition against theatre groups for bragging rights and a trip to the provincial festival.”
Sands said the content of some plays could be disturbing and may have offensive language.
Tickets to watch the festival cost $15 per session or $35 for all three. The community performance costs $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and students. Tickets can be purchased at www.okotoksculture.ca or by calling 403-938-3204.
All performances take place at the RPAC.