April 16, 2015

“Our Town Values: ACT’s Latest Offering Teaches us to Appreciate the Mundane while Displaying Greatness” by Kimberley Johnston

ACT’s 20th anniversary production of Our Town asks its audience: Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it – every, every minute?  The timeless play teaches us to appreciate the little moments as well as the big ones because in the end, we’ll wish we had them back.   Every.  Last.  One of them.

The cast and crew of Our Town have put on an amazing show.  You can tell a wonderful crew when you hardly notice them and that was definitely the case. Conversely, the performers were very at home on the Carrefour stage.    Adam Gauthier owned his persona as the all-knowing, omnipresent Stage Manager but tempered it with equal parts humility and affableness.   Gordon Cobb (Dr. Gibbs) and Richard Haines (Mr. Webb) are likeable yet firm as the patriarchs of their respective families.  The long-time friendship between Samantha Elizabeth (Mrs. Gibbs) and Marly Haines (Mrs. Webb) is evident and believable.
The 30-person cast played very well off eachother, young and old alike.  Special mention goes to Raven Skyllas, as young Rebecca Gibbs, who held her own in scenes with more seasoned performers but managed to find her own star atop a ladder in the moonlight.

The best part of the piece, for me, was the budding romance and eventual heartbreak of George Gibbs (Fraser McCallum) and Emily Webb (Becca Griffin).  They lifted my heart, pulled it out, then fit it snugly back into place, all within the span of three acts.

At its core, Our Town is a show about relationships between families,  friends and lovers.   The play explored those themes but my favourite scene took place between Mr. Webb and his very soon-to-be son-in-law George.  The discomfort between the two characters was delicious.   I could have sat and watched them mire in awkwardness for hours.  As brilliant as a script is, a scene that enjoyable can only be managed by excellent direction and talented actors.

by Kimberley Johnston

by Kimberley Johnston

In 1995, no one could have guessed that 20 years later ACT ( A Community Theatre) would remount the very first play they staged.  I’m glad they chose a play that could mature along with them and stand the test of time.  The script by Thornton Wilder and minimalist set made the play a classic piece of theatre and the cast and crew have made it memorable.

There are two more performances of Our Town, Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 pm at the Carrefour Theatre in Charlottetown.  Tickets are available online at actourtown.brownpapertickets.com or by calling 1.800.838.3006 ext1.

April 9, 2015

Our Town Opens Today & Legacy Gardens Launch Friday! PEI Events April 9 – 11

Thursday

Our Town returns to PEI — at the Carrefour on the evenings (7:30) of April 9, 10, 11, 17 and 18, plus a Sunday matinee (2:30) on the 12th — in a special anniversary presentation.  This is the play which launched ACT (a community theatre) 20 years ago.  Refreshments available at intermission.

Information: 902-628-6778,  & robthomson@pei.sympatico.ca

Happy Birthday, ACT! … at home in Our Town

Our Town is back in our Charlottetown, playing for two weekends at the Carrefour.  ACT (a community theatre) is presenting evening (7:30) performances Thursday to Saturday, April 9, 10 and 11, a Sunday afternoon matinee (2:30) on the 12th, and two more shows on Friday the 17th and Saturday April 18th.  Paul Whelan is the director.

Our Town won Thornton Wilder the Pulitzer Prize.  It is one of the most popular and beloved theatre pieces of all time: after three quarters of a century, it is still performed at least once a day somewhere in the world.  The New York Post called it “beautiful and remarkable — one of the sagest, warmest and most deeply human scripts to have come out of our theatre … a spiritual experience.”

PEI reviewer Sean McQuaid called it “the best piece of theatre I’ve seen in town this year.”  That year was 1995, when Our Town was the very first production of ACT (a community theatre).  McQuaid was prophetic: “With any luck,” he said, “Our Town is only the first of many ACT productions in our town.”  And so it was: in the two decades since then, ACT has staged more than 50 productions — Shakespeare, Gilbert and Sullivan, uproarious comedies, avant-garde, edgy drama, home-grown originals, blockbuster musicals.  And now ACT is celebrating its 20th anniversary by remounting its debut show, Our Town.

Theatre-goers will find a hallway display of materials from the original 1995 production and ACT’s first season.  David Sherren, the man who directed the first show, will be coming over to the Island for a performance.  A gala reception will be held for members of the original company and for persons and organizations who have supported ACT through the years.

Our Town is a play that sets off the audience imagination.  Sound and lighting effects, mime, the Stage Manager’s narration, and a minimal set with little more than some chairs and a couple of step-ladders: they make two family homes and a main street come alive … with dynamically fluid shifts from present to past to future.

There are four ways to get Our Town tickets.  They will be sold at the door, but in view of the special nature of this anniversary production, organizers believe there is a likelihood of sell-out.  They are therefore providing three methods for advance purchase.  The online box office is at http://www.actourtown.brownpapertickets.com; phone service is at 1-800-838-3006 ext1.  And in-person cash sale will be available twice at the Charlottetown Farmers Market — from 9:30 to noon on Saturday March 28th and April 4th.

The Carrefour will be catering intermission refreshments for the performances.  The Carrefour/Ecole François-Buote is reached via the Queen Elizabeth Hospital turn-off from the Charlottetown bypass.    For information: 628-6778, robthomson@pei.sympatico.ca … also https://www.facebook.com/events/336263259901727/, http://www.actpei.ca and https://twitter.com/act_pei

Schooner Sessions with Sheila Fitzpatrick and friends Hosted by Sheila FitzPatrick. Celtic musicians of all sorts. everyone else is invited. -Old Triangle Pub 07:00pm Players welcome.

Ballet Jorgen—Cinderella –Confederation Centre: Homburg Theatre 07:30pm

Saul Good Duo –Hunter’s Ale House

The Spooky Kids + Guests –Baba’s Lounge

Friday

Farm Centre Legacy Gardens Launch Party Charlottetown Farm Centre 08:00pm

Music by the Mixed Fruit Jam Band with Graham Hunter, Jolee Patkai, PL Holden, Davy Weale, Amanda MacLean and Gerry Franciosa.$12 per person $2 of which goes towards your 50/50 lottery ticket.

The Legacy Garden is buried under six feet of snow but we’re still alive and growing strong at the Farm Centre. Help us raise money to get our Goodwill and Community gardens growing once the snow melts.

We can guarantee you’ll have fun and imagine how happy hungry Islanders will be when we can once again donate garden fresh food to the shelters and food banks. Over 11,000 pounds of food donated last year and 80 excited and enthusiastic community gardeners. We’re growing bigger and better!

You may purchase your tickets at the Farm Centre or at the door. The Charlottetown Farm Centre is on 420 University Avenue

Sub Sessions with Giordani (NS) + Kill Bosby (NS) + Dack & Blecker + Komah –Baba’s Lounge

James Phillips –Next Door @ Merchantman

100 Years of Broadway –Confederation Centre: Homburg Theatre 07:30pm

Popalopalots—Live Improv Comedy –The Guild, 08:00pm

Our Town –Carrefour de l’Isle St. Jean 07:30pm

Watertown w/ Kelley Mooney –Old Triangle Pub 09:00pm

Kim Albert and Faces –Factory Cookhouse & Dancehall

Vintage 4.0 –Olde Dublin Pub

Jared Brown and band album launch, NS –Solid Rock Cafe (SRC)

Nathan Carragher –Water’s Edge Restaurant 05:30pm – 08:00pm

John MacAllar –Dundee Arms Inn 06:30pm – 10:00pm

Saturday

Tommy Tiernan: Just For Laughs –Confederation Centre: Homburg Theatre 07:00pm

dance umbrella—OZ! –The Mack, (MacKenzie Theatre) 07:00pm & Matinee at 2:00 pm

Our Town –Carrefour de l’Isle St. Jean 07:30pm

Geoff Smith & Drea MacDonald –Next Door @ Merchantman

YakBak –Hunter’s Ale House

Kim Albert and Faces –Factory Cookhouse & Dancehall

Wildcat + Emilee Sorrey Band + Nathan Gill Band –Baba’s Lounge

The Wannabeez –Charlottetown Legion

Route 21 Band –Hot Shots Sports Bar

Brian Dunn –Marc’s Lounge

Vintage 4.0 –Olde Dublin Pub

Open Mic with Nick Doneff –Back Alley Music 01:00pm – 04:00pm

Blues Matinee with Got Blues and guest(s) –Factory Cookhouse & Dancehall 02:30pm – 04:30pm

Hosted by Got Blues (Chris Roumbanis, Reg Ballagh, Mike Robicheau). Each week there is a guest. 2nd set is an electric blues jam.

Adam Macgregor –Water’s Edge Restaurant 06:00pm – 09:00pm

Chis Ahern and Andy Gallant –Old Triangle Pub 09:00pm

March 28, 2015

Founding Father Review by PL Holden

His story in our Canada of a man who dressed for the times & displayed a tremendous amount of (sometimes alcohol-fueled) passion for this mammoth of a country.  Creative Director Adam Brazier & co. put 9 weeks of research & writing into this fitting tribute to Sir John A. MacDonald. This show which played at The Mack in Charlottetown is in the beginning stages a 12-city national tour in recognition of Sir John A. Macdonald’s 2015 bicentennial. There is also a fantastic exhibit at the Confederation Centre to commemorate this Canadian icon & theatre event.

The show features the talents of Matthew James Donovan as Sir John A. Macdonald, Josée Boudreau as wife Mrs. Macdonald, Réjean Cournoyer as his right hand man George-Étienne Cartier, & Cameron MacDuffee as arch-nemisis George Brown. These actors also filled in as other characters as well.

To start off the show there were visuals of map changes, historical photos and live-action sand drawings by Québec artist Marie Linda Bluteau. A quartet of bilingual singers reciting facts from his early days in Kingston, the family hardships, his battle against the bottle, the wives & ill-fated children to his passionate political challenges.

The story paints a truthful picture of Canada’s political climate in the mid to late 1800’s. I loved the headlines on the screen as the story unfolded. Some showed the triumphs of a growing nation, some of the darkside of our history in regards to the treatment of Aboriginals & the Chinese.

I loved the quotes, the songs, & the way the stories were told of how Canada found confederation, how the railways came to be built, how Ottawa was chosen as our Nations capital, & the beginnings of the Mounties. Sir John A. MacDonald thrived in tough era & there is no denying the impact he had in the shaping of this great country.

The next stop is in Fredericton & the schedule can be found at http://www.thesirjohnatour.ca/en/tour

March 26, 2015

March 27 & 28 Weekend Events & Homegrown Atlantic

Friday

The Founding Father – 2pm & 7:30pm @ The Mack

More Soul – Hunter’s Ale House

Liam Corcoran Band + Andrew Waite and The Firm + Iain McCarvill – Baba’s Lounge

Popalopalots—Live Improv Comedy – The Guild, 08:00pm

Winsloe Players Present “Oh, My, Where’s the Groom?” – Carrefour de l’Isle St. Jean 07:30pm

Ceol Agus Cairde—Music and Friends concerts – Irish Cultural Centre (BIS Hall) 08:00pm

Mardi-Fest -Friday night will be Eleventh Hour, Rock Bottom, Pretty Tragic. – The Oval, 08:00pm

Saturday

WinterJazz with Kim Wempe – The Pourhouse, 07:30pm

Ben Edwards (HFX) – Marc’s Lounge

Jon Matthews – Next Door @ Merchantman

The Place Shakers – Old Triangle Pub

Winsloe Players Present “Oh, My, Where’s the Groom?” – Carrefour de l’Isle St. Jean 07:30pm

YakBak – Baba’s Lounge

Mardi-Fest Saturday night will be Chaotically Zen, Dave Doyle Band and NOT. – The Oval, 08:00pm

Led Zeppelin Tribute  – Nathan Waite, Scott Doyle, Tim Hamming and Joe MacMillan take on the music of Led Zeppelin. Special guests TBA.Source: BUZZon.com Sportsman’s Club 11:00pm

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