Local actors preparing for one-act festival
Wednesday, Apr 12, 2017 06:00 am
Theatre-goers can catch a glimpse of the local talent in a presentation of five short plays later this month.
Dewdney Players Group Theatre is staging A Fistful of Thespians, a performance of one act plays April 20-22. The production is in preparation for the Foothills Regional One Act Festival featuring plays from Okotoks, High River, Canmore and Airdrie at the Rotary Performing Arts Centre April 28-30.
“We have got some original plays and some terrific actors,” said Ed Sands, president of Dewdney.
“We have some of our usual folks and some people that have acted and directed with us before that are very strong actors.”
The play Smitten, directed by Haley Gray and starring Brad Snowden and Tracy Wyman, is about two lovers finding a way to preserve their love, but it has a dark twist.
In The Christmas Tree, directed by Sands and starring Florence Maione and Stephen Buoninsegni, two strangers vie for the last Christmas tree on Christmas Eve.
A Little Box of Oblivion is a 45-minute comedy about a group of people trying to determine the contents of a box left on a bench. It’s directed by Florence Maione and stars Jerod Blake, Hollie Darel, Kelly Misko, Melanie Tokarchuk and Daniel Rose.
Returning to the stage is Post-its, which Dewdney debuted last year, directed by Sherene Schmidtler and starring Adrian Brown and Tracy Wyman, which tells the story of a couple’s relationship read entirely from a stack of Post-it notes.
Coffee with Gabe, written and directed by Reg Gothard and starring Logan Coutts, Shamir Ladhani and Safia Comtois-Mohamad, is about a man questioning the authenticity behind a job he’s being offered.
Director Gothard said his play Act III won best original script two years ago and is hoping for similar success with Coffee With Gabe at this month’s festival.
“It would be really nice if I got best original play again,” he said. “We usually win awards for best actor and actress. We have had best production a few times as well and best original play at least once. I’m expecting we will do well, as usual.”
In Coffee With Gabe, a man meets a panhandler who is giving away money rather than asking for it. When the two go for coffee, the audience is taken on a bit of a rollercoaster ride, said Gothard.
“It will have the audience questioning, ‘Is he really a billionaire or is there a motive,’” he said. “That’s just the way my weird mind works.”
This play is the fourth Gothard has written for Dewdney. For his first play, Gothard’s wife Sue received runner up for best actress at the Foothills Regional One Act Festival, he said.
Sands said the group did not receive any awards at last year’s festival, which shows the standard for acting is increasing in the region.
“If we have done so well that we raised the level of theatre in our region that we walk away with nothing I’m happy,” he said. “We are not there to win. We are trying to get the best thing on stage for ourselves and entertain our Okotoks audiences.”
Sands describes one act plays as very different from what audiences are used to.
“One acts are often vehicles for very strange writing,” said Sands. “They can be very dark so you can really pull the depth of your acting abilities out of you.”
The performances are short, ranging from 10 to 60 minutes, but Sands said they aren’t always easy to put on. Preparation for the festival has been going on since February.
“Sometimes they are 45 minutes with two people on stage the whole time,” he said. “Sometimes there is a lot of script to learn.”
A Fistful of Thespians will return to the stage following the festival May 4, 5 and 6.
“We try to accommodate some of the changes the adjudicators recommend into our next weekend in Okotoks,” he said
Tickets cost $13.50 to $18 and are available at dewdneyplayers.com