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.

The Songs That Make It happen

Victoria Playhouse presentsThe Songs of Anne & Gilbert – The Musical The Songs of Anne & Gilbert will play at Victoria Playhouse on September 12th, 13th, 19th and 20th. This beloved musical, which has been presented by The Guild in Charlottetown since 2013, had its world premiere on our stage in 2005.
The concert production is conceived and created by acclaimed Music Director Lisa MacDougall, whose storied national career includes twelve years as Rita MacNeil’s music director, band leader, and pianist.There will be four performances of The Songs of Anne & Gilbert at Victoria Playhouse: September 12th and 19th at 7:30pm and September 13th and 20th at 2:00pm. 
Click Here to Purchase Tickets! Or call our Box Office at 1-800-925-2025. We are observing COVID-19 safety protocols. Physical distancing will be in place in the theatre and we strongly recommended you wear your mask until seated. Thank you for helping us open the theatre safely! Want to make it dinner & a show? Our friends at The Landmark Oyster House will be open for four weekends starting on the 11th of September.Call 902-658-2286 to book your table!

PEI Professional Theatre Network

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PEI Theatre is the Guild, Harbourfront Theatre, Confederation Centre for the Arts, Watermark Theatre, and the Victoria Playhouse

Key to the Cage

his Saturday check out Popalopalots! The Guild loves presenting this Live Improv Comedy team!In this world of uncertainty, where our biggest desire is a return to normalcy, Popalopalots Improve Comedy heads in the opposite direction with a night of the unknown and abnormal!

PEI Professional Theatre Network

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PEI Theatre is the Guild, Harbourfront Theatre, Confederation Centre for the Arts, Watermark Theatre, and the Victoria Playhouse

Feelin’ Mighty Proud!

Confederation Centre announces broadcast special celebrating Anne across the Island; 

Guest appearances include Amybeth McNulty, Lennie Gallant, Meaghan Blanchard, Gracie Finley, Emma Rudy and more!

Confederation Centre of the Arts is set to release a one-hour broadcast special entitled Feelin’ Mighty Proud! This Island-wide celebration weaves highlights from the iconic Anne of Green Gables–The Musical™ with a summertime journey across the Island, stopping at key destinations that focus on the works of L.M. Montgomery and the lore of Anne Shirley. 

Feelin’ Mighty Proud! is an homage to Montgomery, the original Anne of Green Gables novel, our famed Anne musical, and the Island as a whole,” shares Adam Brazier, artistic director with the Centre. “This project will make every Canadian proud and is a heartfelt reminder of the incredible impact our heroine has made world-wide—one who has brought so many people together for generations.”

Directed by Brazier with Jason Rogerson, this new production is rich with special appearances, including video interviews from such luminaries as Amybeth McNulty (Anne with an E), RH Thompson, Gracie Finley and Glenda Landry, and current ‘Anne’, Emma Rudy. This past summer would have marked Rudy’s second straight season starring in Charlottetown. This season marked the first time in the musical’s 55-year Guinness Record-setting run that it could not be mounted, as the entire Charlottetown Festival was cancelled due to COVID-19. 

Rudy is joined here by Hank Stinson and Marlane O’Brien as the Cuthberts, and Catherine O’Brien as Rachel Lynde in a selection of scenes shot on the iconic Homburg Theatre mainstage. More than a dozen Charlottetown Festival company members also appear performing the musical’s title theme, including Islanders Aaron Hastelow, Michelle Bouey, and Josée Boudreau, as well as the Festival Orchestra. 

New performances for the special include rousing original interpretations of the songs of the famed musical, such as ‘If it Hadn’t Been for Me’ by Vishten; ‘The Words’  by Lennie Gallant; ‘Gee I’m Glad I’m No One Else But Me’ from Meaghan Blanchard shot in the famed ‘Anne house’ in Cavendish, ‘Kindred Spirits’ from Ava and Lilly Rashed, and more. Click here to enjoy two sneak peek audio samples from the special!

Feelin’ Mighty Proud will be broadcast in late September and is made possible due to the generous support of Canadian Heritage, the Province of Prince Edward Island, title sponsor CIBC, and production sponsor, CAA. Patrons can follow the Centre’s social media pages and confederationcentre.com for broadcast date and platform details.

PEI Professional Theatre Network

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PEI Theatre is the Guild, Harbourfront Theatre,Confederation Centre for the Arts,Watermark Theatre, and the Victoria Playhouse

Summertime Blues

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By Ed Staskus

“Well, I called my congressman, and he said I’d like to help you, son, but you’re too young to vote, there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues.”  Eddie Cochran

“Mom said you’re not leaving and you’re coming to my birthday party this year,” Margaret said, putting down her ear of corn, her lips peppered with flecks of salt and smeary with butter.

“That’s right,” said Frank Glass.

Vera Glass’s brother, sister-in-law, nephew and niece, Frank’s sister and her new boyfriend, a policeman who lived nearby, were visiting on the Fourth of July, in the backyard, a breezy sunny day in the shade, crowded around a folding table-clothed table doing double duty, food and drink and board games.

Independence Day has been a federal holiday since 1941, but the tradition goes back to the American Revolution. Since then it’s been celebrated with festivities like fireworks parades concerts big and small and family barbecues. This year the fireworks parades concerts were set aside.

Maggie was born seven almost eight years earlier. She was due to officially come to life the third week of September, four five days after Frank and Vera expected to be back from Atlantic Canada but was born on the first day of the month.

She was a once in a blue moon baby. To do something once in a blue moon means to do it rarely. It is the appearance of a second full moon within a calendar month, which happens about once every three years.

“Where do you go in the summer?” Maggie asked.

“We go to Prince Edward Island, a small town called North Rustico, but we stay in a cottage in the National Park, a family owns the land, they’ve been there for almost two hundred years. We leave in mid-August and stay through the first couple of weeks of September, which is why we miss your birthday party.”

“You always send me a present. I like that. But last year you sent me a sweatshirt with a red leaf on it that was ten times too big.”

“You’ll grow into it,” said Frank.

“Maybe I will, but maybe I won’t,” said Maggie. She was a genial child but could be a testy cuss. She knew her own mind rounding out her seventh year.

“Do you like it there?”

“Yes, we like it a lot.”

“Why aren’t you going? Is it the virus?”

The 20th century was the American Century. The United States led the way socially economically brain-wise learning-wise and in every other wise way. In 2020 it led the way in virus infections, far outpacing the next two contenders, Brazil and India. The flat tires in charge can’t get anything done, from building their useless wall, all three miles of new wall, to securing useful virus tests.

North Korea and Iran are still making atom bombs, there’s no China trade deal, the deficit has skyrocketed, and race relations have gotten worse. All that’s left is for the other shoe to drop. On top of that, Hilary Clinton isn’t even in jail.

“Yes, the bug,” said Frank. “The Canadian border is closed, and even if we could get into Canada somehow, the bridge to the island is closed except for business.”

In May President Trump said, “Coronavirus numbers are looking MUCH better, going down almost everywhere, cases are coming way down.” In June he said the pandemic is “fading away. It’s going to fade away.” On July 2nd he said, “99% of cases are totally harmless.” Four days later, on July 6th, he said, “We now have the lowest Fatality Rate in the World.”

John Hopkins University subsequently reported that the United Sates has the world’s ninth-worst mortality rate, with 41.33 deaths per 100,000 people. It was a bald report. They didn’t capitalize the numbers.

“Are you sad that you can’t go?”

“Yes.”

“They built a new bridge to our house. I know all about it, we drove over it two weeks ago. Mom was so happy. It’s a big bridge, too, the other one was small and always breaking.”

“You know the bridge you go across from downtown, when you go up the rise past the baseball stadium where the Indians play ball, on your way to Lakewood?”

“That’s a long bridge.”

“It’s called the Main Avenue Bridge and it’s two miles long. The bridge that goes from Canada to Prince Edward Island is almost 5 times longer than that. It’s as long as the distance from downtown to our house.”

“That’s far!”

“That can’t be,” Frank’s nephew Ethan blurted out. “That bridge is too long!”

“How do you know, Bud, you can hardly count,” said Maggie. She called Ethan Bud. They were buddies, although they didn’t always see eye-to-eye.

“I can so count, I know all the dinosaurs, there are a million of them,” said Ethan.

“I’m going into third grade and we’re going to learn division. You’re been learning to  finger paint.”

“What’s a million and a million?”

“2 million.”

“OK, what’s the biggest dinosaur ever?”

“The Brontosaurus.”

“No! It’s the Argentinosaurus, and he weighed a million pounds.”

“That can’t be,” said Maggie.

“My math is my math,” Ethan said.

“If you can’t explain it simply you don’t understand it well enough,” said Albert Einstein.

As of July, there were more than 300,000 cases of the virus reported in children since the start of the pandemic. The Executive Office of the Federal Government has repeatedly maintained it poses almost no threat to them. “The fact is they are virtually immune from this problem,” President Trump said.

“How do you know about the virus?” Frank asked.

“Everybody knows about it. The whole world knows.”

“They even know in Antarctica,” said Ethan.

“Do you know anybody who got it?”

“A girl in school got it from her mom,” Maggie said. “I took piano lessons with her.”

“That’s too bad,” Frank said.

“Are there going to be fireworks tonight?” Maggie asked.

“No, the city cancelled them.”

“Where we live, too.”

“Here there were fireworks last night, we sat on the front porch, until after midnight, but it was just people in the street or their yards. There were some big pops over there by Madison Avenue. I think they were shooting them off from the empty lot. We could see bottle rockets over the trees.”

“Wow!”

“You said you knew about the virus, but how do you know?” asked Frank.

“The news about it is on every day on TV,” said Maggie.

“That’s right,” said Ethan.

“We have a TV, but we don’t have TV,” said Frank. “We only have a couple of streaming services for movies.”

“We have real TV,” said Maggie, “and it’s on all the time. The news is on every single hour every single day and all the news is about the virus.”

“Do you watch TV all the time?”

“We don’t watch TV, but we watch it all day,” said Ethan.

“We don’t really watch it, but it’s always there,” said Maggie.

Parents are urged to pay attention to what their children see and hear on radio online television. They are cautioned to reduce screen time focused on the virus since too much information on one topic can lead to anxiety in kids. Talk to them about how stories on the web might be rumors and wildly inaccurate.

“That’s OK, it’s all in your head, anyway,” said Maggie.

“All in your head?”

“That’s what dad says.”

“Well,” Frank said, “your father knows best.” He wasn’t going to get into a no-win argument with his brother-in-law. His sister’s boyfriend was a policeman at Metro Hospitals. Frank didn’t want his ears pricking up. He wouldn’t understand it’s all in your head.

“Are you worried about the virus?” Frank asked.

“Would that help?” Maggie asked, biting into a burger. “This is yummy good.”

“No, it would probably just make you crazy.”

“Dad said your name wasn’t always Frank Glass.”

“Yes and no,” said Frank. “My given name has always been Frank, which is short for Francis, like we call you Maggie even though your name is Margaret, but my family name, what they say is your surname, used to be Kazukauskas.”

“What happened to it” asked Maggie. “Why is it different now.”

“When my father came here, to America after World War Two, the immigration people said he should change it to something other people could pronounce, that they could say without too much trouble, so he changed it to Glass.”

“That’s nice,” Maggie said. “I like Glass.”

“Are you staying home more because of the virus?”

“Yes!” both of them exclaimed.

“Do you have to wear a mask when you go somewhere?”

“We cover up,” Maggie said. “My face gets hot, my head gets hot, and my hair get hot. It makes my glasses fog up.”

“I have a tube mask with rhino’s and bronto’s on it,” Ethan said. “But I can’t breathe, so I just rip it off until mom sees.”

There was a box of Charades for Kids on the table. “Three or More Players Ages Four and Up.” Frank pointed at it.

“Are you ready to play?”

Maggie rolled around on the lawn, flapped her arms, rolled her eyes, and hugged herself. Nobody had any idea what she was doing.

“Going to bed!” she yelped.

Ethan did a somersault.

“Somersault?”

“Yes!”

Maggie rolled on the ground holding her head and grimacing like a mad chipmunk. Everybody watched with blank faces, stumped.

“Headache!” she blared.

Ethan slashed the air with his hands.

“Karate?”

“Yes!”

Maggie jumped, waved her right arm in circles, flapped it back and forth, and licked her lips. As the one-minute hourglass dropped the last grain of sand to the bottom, she fell down on the grass. Everybody was stumped again.

“Frosting a cake! I can’t believe nobody got it.”

Ethan got on all fours like an anteater, pretended to be eating something with great chomping motions, and clomped to the driveway and back.

“Argentinosaurus?”

“Yes!”

Summer signals freedom for children. It’s a break from the structure of school days, a time for more days spent at the pool, a time for more play, for exploring the outdoors.

One day his mom asked Ethan if he wanted to go out on his scooter.

“So much,” he said. “I have got to get out of this house.”

“Every single day I see the Amazon truck and the FedEx and the white trucks go past me,” said Maggie. “They turn around at the cul-de-sac thing, they just rush back, driving crazy. I run to the backyard.”

“There’s a big field and woods past our backyard,” Ethan said.

“We’re stuck at home but it’s summer, it’s nice outside, the sun is shining, and we all go for walks,” Maggie said.

She hadn’t been to school since April, studying remotely. Ethan hadn’t been to pre-school for just as long.

“Are you going back to school in the fall?” asked Frank.

“I hope so,” said Maggie. “I miss it.”

“I’m supposed to start first grade,” said Ethan.

About two months away from hopes there will be a return to school, many parents were looking to new findings which suggest children are less likely to get and spread the virus. In late June the American Academy of Pediatrics, which advocates for “having students physically present in school,” published reopening guidelines. They stated that children “may be less likely to become infected” with the coronavirus and to spread the infection.

Living and breathing in-person face-to-face time is what makes school a school. “Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher,” is what one Japanese proverb says.

“I want to play something else,” Maggie said. “Can you teach us how to play Pictionary?”

“Sure,” Frank said.

They put the never-ending news of the pandemic away, cleared one end of the table, and unfolded the game board, setting out the pencils note pads special cards. “Quick Sketches, Hilarious Guesses” is what it said on the yellow box, and that is what they did the rest of Independence Day, the clear sky going twilight, lightning bugs flashing on off on off, and neighborhood kids shooting off red glare Uncle Sam Phantom bottle rockets in the alley behind them.

Ed Staskus posts feature stories on Red Island http://www.redislandpei.com, Paperback Yoga http://www.paperbackyoga.com, Lithuanian Journal http://www.lithuanianjournal.com, and State Route Two http://www.stateroutetwo.com. Click “Follow” on a site to get its monthly feature in your in-box.

PEI Professional Theatre Network

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PEI Theatre is the Guild, Harbourfront Theatre,
Confederation Centre for the Arts,
Watermark Theatre, and the Victoria Playhouse

Ebb & Flow on PEI

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Ebb & Flow: Tides of Settlement on PEI 
Coming off a successful run in Charlottetown, this fascinating performance tells stories of the indigenous Mi’kmaq and the many waves of  settlers on PEI by musicians, singers, storytellers and writers.
Featuring Teresa Kuo, Tiffany Liu, Julie Pellissier-Lush, Amanda Mark, Laurie Murphy, Vince the Messenger, and Haley Zavo and a special guest for each performance!
Ebb & Flow “integrates multimedia and multicultural with the spirit of a down-home family ceilidh” – Ivy Wigmore, The Buzz.
We have a limited number of tickets available. Book now to avoid disappointment!

PEI Professional Theatre Network

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PEI Theatre is the Guild, Harbourfront Theatre,
Confederation Centre for the Arts,
Watermark Theatre, and the Victoria Playhouse
Click Here to Purchase Tickets!

Or call our Box Office at 1-800-925-2025.

We are observing COVID-19 safety protocols. Physical distancing will be in place in the theatre and we strongly recommended you wear your mask until seated. Thank you for helping us open the theatre safely!

Song Rise at the Guild

 

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Join us for a live-stream of Songrise with Tara MacLean and Friends. Hosted by Patrick Ledwell and featuring acts such as Kierrah Celeste, Dennis Ellsworth, and Andrew Waite. 
Song Rise is a circle of local songwriters, presented by The Guild. Like other song circles, there will be stories and tunes, but this will also be an interactive experience with an on live audience through live stream accessible all over the world. Four amazing songwriters each night will entertain a socially distanced live audience. It will be an intimate, passionate and powerful experience for those in attendance and those watching from home. Each group has been carefully curated for optimal chemistry.

All productions are being presented by The Guild with the permission of the Public Health Office of Prince Edward Island, and operates under its rules and guidelines. Within these guidelines, theatre seating has been limited to a maximum of 50 people. Chairs will be grouped with a maximum of 6 chairs per group, and each group is 6ft. from one another. It is possible that depending on the size of your party, you may be seated with other audience members within those 6 chairs. If you have any questions or concerns about this process, please speak with our box office agents by calling 902-620-3333, or emailing boxoffice@theguildpei.com.

PEI Professional Theatre Network

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PEI Theatre is the Guild, Harbourfront Theatre,
Confederation Centre for the Arts,
Watermark Theatre, and the Victoria Playhouse

Songs of Protest

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Next Watermark Music Series Concert Announced

The Watermark Music Series next live streamed concert of the summer will be held this Sunday August 23rd at 7:30PM, on our Facebook page.

Songs of Protest from the repertoires of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; Marvin Gaye; Bruce Cockburn; Bob Marley and many more. Performed by Catherine MacLellan, Scott Parsons, Rob Oakie, Nick Gauthier, and Dave Wigmore.

Songs of protest have always been a part of mankind’s development. Used for speaking out against oppression, unjust laws, and inequality, they give a voice to those who are socially, economically and politically challenged. Songs about social justice are particularly important today as we battle to eliminate racism and fight for equality in our society.

The show features one of PEI (and Canada’s) greatest voice and songwriter in the folk world, Catherine MacLellan. She will be supported by Scott Parsons, an icon in PEI’s music history and a founder of the Black Cultural Society of PEI. The special guest for the evening will be Rob Oakie with Nick Gauthier and Dave Wigmore. You’ll hear some classics and some songs you may not recognize from the repertoires of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Marvin Gaye, Bruce Cockburn, Bob Marley and many more.

These free concerts, curated as always by Rob Oakie, can be viewed in the comfort of your homes by going to our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Watermark-Theatre-93969977499

For more information, or to set up interviews with Rob Oakie, or any of the artists, please contact Andrea Surich at 902‐963‐3963 or generalmanager@watermarktheatre.com

Watermark Theatre is a proud member of the PTN (Professional Theatre Network of PEI).

Watermark Theatre
57 Church Hill Ave
North Rustico, PE
C0A 1X0
(902) 963‐3963
http://www.watermarktheatre.com

PEI Professional Theatre Network

28660348_162333201093170_735205771249634989_n

PEI Theatre is the Guild, Harbourfront Theatre,
Confederation Centre for the Arts,
Watermark Theatre, and the Victoria Playhouse

The Hall is Alive

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We welcomed three of the Island’s most talented singer-songwriters to the Victoria Playhouse for the last two days. They were making a video on our stage. It was wonderful to hear live music in our beautiful hall again and we look forward to more events happening soon. Thanks Catherine MacLellan, Tim Chaisson and Rachel Beck for choosing to come to Victoria.

PEI Professional Theatre Network

28660348_162333201093170_735205771249634989_n

PEI Theatre is the Guild, Harbourfront Theatre,
Confederation Centre for the Arts,
Watermark Theatre, and the Victoria Playhouse

Songs on the Rise

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Song Rise is a circle of local songwriters, presented by The Guild.

Like other song circles, there will be stories and tunes, but this will also be an interactive experience with an on live audience through live stream accessible all over the world. Four amazing songwriters each night will entertain a socially distanced live audience. It will be an intimate, passionate and powerful experience for those in attendance and those watching from home. Each group has been carefully curated for optimal chemistry.

August 26th will feature Kierrah Celeste, a name you should get to know!

And not forget.

Kierrah Celeste is an artist and singer songwriter from upstate NY.

As a child, Kierrah was surrounded by a musical family who embraced her talents and helped her hone her craft and artistic abilities.

Competing in multiple talent shows – local, national, and for television, Celeste won the majority. Her most notable competition being the NAACP ACT-SO competition where she represented the state of New York in the national finals.

Since stepping onto PEI, Kierrah has made a quite the impact with her ethereal performance style. Influenced by the sounds of R&B and artists like Beyoncé, Brandy, Lauryn Hill, and Tamia, Kierrah Celeste plans to deliver a captivating experience that will leave you wanting more.

Along with Tara MacLean, Dennis Ellsworth, Andrew Waite and hosted by Patrick Ledwell!

August 26th @ 7:30pm!

PEI Professional Theatre Network

28660348_162333201093170_735205771249634989_n

PEI Theatre is the Guild, Harbourfront Theatre,
Confederation Centre for the Arts,
Watermark Theatre, and the Victoria Playhouse