All posts by Edward Staskus

Edward Staskus is a free-lance writer from Sudbury, Ontario, and lives in Lakewood, Ohio, on the north side of the Rocky River valley.

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Watermark Theatre season to include Chinese and French Surtitles!

The Watermark Theatre’s 2016 summer season will include 5 performances of The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams performed with Chinese and French surtitles to appeal to underserved theatre audiences. The local Chinese community as well as Chinese tourists will be able to watch this classic American drama, by one of the English speaking world’s greatest playwrights, by reading a simultaneous translation projected above the stage.

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Sponsored by Respon International Group, the three Chinese surtitled performances will take place on the following dates:

August 3rd 7:30PM
August 11th 7:30PM
August 19th 7:30PM

North Rustico’s French speaking community was delighted last year when our bilingual production of Canada 300 was presented, and we want to continue to serve this very important audience. Two performances of The Glass Menagerie will be presented with French surtitles on:

July 29th 7:30PM
August 1st 7:30PM

“Our theatre is dedicated to providing the finest classical theatre on the Island to all of its visitors and residents and will continue to find ways to reach out to as many theatregoers as possible”. says Artistic Director Robert Tsonos.

Confederation Players Hit the Road

The Confederation Players are headed to the nation’s capital for the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation.

Confederation Centre of the Arts is very pleased to announce a major sponsorship for the youth theatre program, which commemorates the 1864 Charlottetown Conference and the origins of the nation. CN will sponsor the troupe for the next two seasons, ensuring the continued growth of Confederation Centre’s heritage programming in the lead up to the sesquicentennial of Canada’s birth in 2017. As part of this $225,000 sponsorship, the Players will also appear in Ottawa in 2017 for a special event.

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“On behalf of the board of directors and all staff at Confederation Centre, I would like to congratulate CN on this major sponsorship,” says Jessie Inman, CEO of Confederation Centre. “In the late 19th century, the Canadian railway bound our great country together from sea to shining sea and made us one people. As we approach the 150th anniversary of Confederation, I cannot envision a more perfect partner to aid us in sharing our nation’s stories and commemorating the dreams of our founders.”

The sponsorship will assist the Players program with professional costuming, travel, and labour associated with the 2017 celebratory programming, and will ensure the stable growth and authenticity of this long-valued experiential tourism product.

“As we head into July 1st celebrations, CN and Confederation Centre take great pride in celebrating the 150th anniversary of Canada’s birth and building for the future of our communities,” says Sean Finn, Chief Legal Officer and Executive Vice President – Corporate Services CN. “We believe that tourism and heritage programs like the Confederation Players create an exciting opportunity to commemorate our nation’s shared history, and we look forward to working together in 2016 and 2017.”

First founded in 1989, the Confederation Players Program operates six months a year at Confederation Centre and is made up of college-age men and women from across Eastern Canada. Through walking tours, vignettes, Victorian song, and colourful street encounters, the troupe brings to life the landmark events of the 1860’s in British North America and such personalities as John A. Macdonald, George-Étienne Cartier, Thomas D’Arcy McGee, Miss Mercy Coles, and many others. The Players undertake an intensive training program studying regional, national, and Island history, public speaking, improvisation, and performance.

Leg Warmers, Big Hair, and Caddyshack at the Harbourfront

Harbourfront Theatre is once again offering a summer film series for 2016. Totally ‘80s Movie Mondays, running July 4 through August 29, will feature some of the most beloved and iconic popular motion pictures from the age of leg warmers, big hair and Space Invaders, and pay tribute to recently departed legendary artists of the era, Prince and David Bowie. Family Flix will follow the same ‘80s theme with one young audience film on a Wednesday in each of July and August.

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FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF | JULY 4, 7:30PM
Movie Rating PG-13, 1 hour 43 Minutes
One fake sick day sends high school senior Ferris Bueller, his girlfriend Sloane and his best friend Cameron on the adventure of their young lives, as they ditch school and take off on a raucous journey through Chicago as they stay one step ahead of their principal and Ferris’s sister.

PURPLE RAIN | JULY 11, 7:30PM
Movie Rating R, 1 hour 51 Minutes
A young man with a talent for music has begun a career with much promise. He meets an aspiring singer, Apollonia, and finds that talent alone isn’t all that he needs. A complicated tale of his repeating his father’s self-destructive behavior, losing Apollonia to another singer (Morris Day), and his coming to grips with his own connection to other people ensues.

WEEKEND AT BERNIE’S | JULY 18, 7:30PM
Movie Rating PG-13, 1 hour 37 Minutes
Two young men are trying to make their way in a corporation. One on charm, the other on hard work. When they go to the president (Bernie) with a serious financial error on a printout, he pretends to be thrilled and invites them to his beach house for the weekend. He actually plans on having them killed. Bernie is also fooling around with the girlfriend of his mafia partner. When the partner has Bernie killed, the boys end up having to pretend Bernie is still alive as the frustrated hit man tries time and time again to complete the job.

CADDYSHACK 36th Anniversary Screening | JULY 25, 7:30PM
Movie Rating R, 1 hour 38 Minutes
Comical goings on at an exclusive golf club. All the members are wealthy and eccentric, and all the staff are poor and slightly less eccentric. The main character is ‘Danny’; he’s a caddy who will do almost anything to raise money to go to college. There are many subplots, including the assistant green keeper’s pursuit of a cute (obviously stuffed) gopher.

FIELD OF DREAMS | AUGUST 1, 7:30PM
Movie Rating PG, 1 hour 47 Minutes
Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella hears a voice in his corn field tell him, “If you build it, he will come.” He interprets this message as an instruction to build a baseball field on his farm, upon which appear the ghosts of Shoeless Joe Jackson and the other seven Chicago White Sox players banned from the game for throwing the 1919 World Series. When the voices continue, Ray seeks out a reclusive author to help him understand the meaning of the messages and the purpose for his field.

STAND BY ME 30th Anniversary Screening | AUGUST 8, 7:30PM
Movie Rating R, 1 hour 29 Minutes
It’s the summer of 1959 in Castlerock, Oregon and four 12 year-old boys – Gordie, Chris, Teddy and Vern – are fast friends. After learning of the general location of the body of a local boy who has been missing for several days, they set off into woods to see it. Along the way, they learn about themselves, the meaning of friendship and the need to stand up for what is right.

THE BLUES BROTHERS | AUGUST 15, 7:30PM
Movie Rating R, 2 hour 13 Minutes
After the release of Jake Blues from prison, he and brother Elwood go to visit “The Penguin”, the last of the nuns who raised them in a boarding school. They learn the Archdiocese will stop supporting the school and will sell the place to the Education Authority. The only way to keep the place open is if the $5000 tax on the property is paid within 11 days. The Blues Brothers want to help, and decide to put their blues band back together and raise the the money by staging a big gig. As they set off on their “mission from God” they seem to make more enemies along the way. Will they manage to come up with the money in time?

LABYRINTH | AUGUST 22, 7:30PM
Movie Rating PG, 1 hour 41 Minutes
Young Sarah is left home alone by her parents and she has to babysit her little brother Toby. But the baby keeps crying and Sarah, while telling him a story to make him sleep, inadvertently conjures from a fantasy world the Goblin King who steals the child and brings him to his castle in the middle of a labyrinth. Sarah has to rescue him before midnight, or the baby will become a goblin.

THE BREAKFAST CLUB | AUGUST 29, 7:30PM
Movie Rating R, 1 hour 37 Minutes
Five high school students, all different stereotypes, meet in detention, where they pour their hearts out to each other, and discover how they have a lot more in common than they thought.

Sold Out! at the Harbourfront

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy are world-class musicians with their hearts firmly rooted in their rural village home. Natalie grew up in rural Cape Breton, Nova Scotia where her parents still live in the home she was born in. She is a globally acclaimed fiddle player who has appeared on numerous CBC, CTV and PBS TV shows and sold over 200,000 albums.

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Donnell is part of a multi-generation beef farming family, born and raised on the Leahy family farm in Lakefield, Ontario. As the incendiary musical leader of double Platinum– selling, festival–headlining Celtic family group Leahy, he refined his mesmerizingly strident, exultant, and high-energy performances which have become his musical signature.

Be transported by this fierce fiddling duo as Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy command the stage with an explosive celebration of raw energy and passion that infuses their traditional heritage with their taste for the contemporary.

The Saturday July 2nd show at the Harbourfront Theatre has sold out!

Island Strong Anne Opens

The curtain lifted last night at 7:30 p.m. on an especially Island-strong edition of the long-running musical Anne of Green Gables. Jessica Gallant of Ten Mile House, P.E.I. stars as the world-famous orphan, with Charlottetown’s Hank Stinson and Aaron Hastelow as Matthew Cuthbert and Gilbert Blythe. This marks the first time an Islander has played Gilbert in the historic production, and thus the first time both romantic leads have been played by locals.

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Festival veteran Marlane O’Brien, of Crapaud, P.E.I. plays iconic busy-body, Miss Rachel Lynde, while Dora Award-winner Charlotte Moore reprises her turn as Marilla Cuthbert. New Island home-owner Katie Kerr returns to the role that first brought her to the Festival, as Diana Barry, and another Festival favourite and ‘Islander-by-choice’, Josée Boudreau debuts as Miss Stacey.

The creative team that brought the Guinness Record-holding musical to life last season has returned in 2016, with Wade Lynch in the director’s chair alongside Musical Director Bob Foster and Choreographer Robin Calvert.

“With a history that has enjoyed success under some of the country’s greatest directors, and that has benefited from the talents of legions of actors, musicians, designers, technicians, and theatre artisans of every stripe, it is no small task to approach a new season with the responsibility of maintaining the high standards of previous productions while attempting to bring something new to the play and the story,” says Lynch, who performed in many seasons of the beloved musical himself.

“That said, we must never treat our production as an antique; Anne is new every time the curtain goes up,” he continues. “When Anne Shirley arrives at Bright River she is not only encountering the possibility of a new family, she is entering a whole new world. As theatre artists it is our challenge and our responsibility to present a musical theatre experience that is new for every performance. With the tremendous talents and abilities of our 2016 company, you can be certain that the Anne of Green Gables experience our audiences enjoy this summer is brand spanking new!”

Anne of Green Gables plays select dates until August 27. Confederation Centre wishes to recognize CIBC as the returning title sponsor of The Charlottetown Festival. The Centre also acknowledges the Department of Canadian Heritage; the Government of P.E.I., and the City of Charlottetown for continued support. Media sponsors are The Guardian, Hot 105.5, Ocean 100, and CTV.

Lions and Bears and Foxes, Oh My!

Vancouver’s Lion Bear Fox will open the Victoria Playhouse Musical Mondays on July 4. Originally known for their respective solo careers, Christopher Arruda, Ryan McMahon and Cory Woodward joined forces as Lion Bear Fox in 2012 and were immediately selected as one of the top 20 unsigned bands British Columbia (Peak Performance Project).

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The fall of 2013 saw the band release their self-produced breakthrough EP “We’d Be Good Men” and take Western Canada by storm, touring 15 times over the next two years including stops at Canadian Music Week (Toronto), Contact East (PEI), OSAC (Regina) Mission Folk Festival and The Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, BC. Terry David Mulligan with The Nanaimo Daily News called the group “a musical force of nature” and “emotional awakening”.

With the help of friend and producer Nygel Asselin (Half Moon Run), the trio spent ten days in the Vancouver Island wilderness crafting “the record of their lives” –  a collection of songs steeped in character and full of warmth.  One part folk, one part rock – a pinch of gospel and a dash of growl, the self-titled LP is a testament to the trio’s strength as songwriters.

“All three artists are known for the passion they bring to their performances and the honest songs they write,” writes the Ladysmith Chronicle, “and they have succeeded in creating gripping, dynamic songs while capturing a sincerity rarely heard this side of the 2000’s.

For tickets call the Playhouse box office at 1.800.925.2025 or visit the Victoria website at http://www.victoriaplayhouse.com.

Linda Tweel Portrait Joins Harris Collection

The Collections Committee at Confederation Centre recently accepted a large 1887 portrait, painted by Robert Harris, for the Art Gallery’s extensive Harris Collection.

The oil on canvas painting was gifted to the Centre in memory of Linda Tweel, to recognize the many contributions she made throughout her lifetime in the fields of education, culture, and community affairs. Linda Tweel was an early member of the Woman’s Committee of Confederation Centre of the Arts, and served as Chair of the Friends of Confederation Centre for several years.

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Gallery Director, Kevin Rice welcomed the addition. “It is always exciting to have collectors offer interesting works for the Collection; the support of donors like Mr. Tweel is critical in building a Canadian art collection in Charlottetown,” said Rice. “With this gift we see a continuation of support for Confederation Centre from the Linda Tweel family.”

Since the Art Gallery began collecting in 1964, its holdings have grown to over 17,000 items including a comprehensive research collection and archive on the works of Charlottetown-raised Robert Harris (1849-1919),  a painter of the iconic group portrait, The Fathers of Confederation.