Tag Archives: Alan Kinsella

Alan Kinsella Returns to the Watermark

Watermark Theatre in North Rustico is pleased to announce that director Alan Kinsella will return to the theatre to direct “Mrs. Warren’s Profession” after his very successful staging of “Blithe Spirit” last year. The Guardian called “Blithe Spirit” the “best comedy on P.E.I.” and the theatre added extra performances to accommodate the high demand that this rollicking comedy warranted. The production was a major reason Watermark had a 31.4% increase in individual ticket sales last year.

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While Mr. Kinsella directs the George Bernard Shaw drama this summer, Artistic Director Robert Tsonos tackles Neil Simon’s comedy “Barefoot in The Park”. A reversal of sorts, since Mr. Tsonos directed the drama of last summer, “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams. “Switching things up, keeps everyone on their toes”, says Mr. Tsonos, “ audiences will get to see another side to Alan’s work, and I get to bring a light comedic sensibility to our stage”.

Mr. Kinsella is a native of County Wexford, Ireland, who began his career as an actor at the famous Abbey Theatre in Dublin. He settled in Canada in 2013 and over the past four years has directed over 25 Canadian productions in Toronto including “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”, “The Woman in Black”, “Don’t Stop Me Now”, “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “Hair”, and “Anything Goes”.

Originally from Montreal, Robert Tsonos enters into his 2nd season as Artistic Director after building an international theatre career acting in, or directing, over 60 productions across Canada, Japan, England, Venezuela, Hong Kong, and Australia. Robert began as an actor with the company appearing in “ An Ideal Husband”, “The Rainmaker”, “The Lion in Winter”, and “Romeo & Juliet” as well as directing the tour of “Canada 300”.

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Watermark Adds Matinee Performances of ‘Blithe Spirit’

Watermark Theatre is pleased to announce that two more performances of Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward will be added to the summer schedule.

Wed August 17th at 1:30PM
Sat August 27th at 1:30PM

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Tickets for Blithe Spirit are selling so well that the company has decided to add two matinee performances to meet the high demand for this much loved comedy.

Directed by Alan Kinsella and starring Gracie Finley, Daniel Briere, Bryde MacLean, Suzanne Roberts Smith, Leah Pritchard, and Joshua Browne, the production has received universally positive reviews since opening earlier this summer.

“‘Blithe Spirit’ best comedy on P.E.I. Come to Watermark Theatre’s production to enjoy fun, fun and more fun” – The Guardian

“(Gracie) Finley was clearly enjoying herself, and so were we—she was flat-out wonderful.” – The Buzz

“If you’re looking for some cerebral comedy with a splash of slapstick, Blithe Spirit is the show for you.” – ONRPEI.COM

Researching his new novel, Charles Condomine invites the implausible medium Madame Arcati to his house for a séance. Arcati unwittingly summons the ghost of Charles’ dead wife Elvira who soon makes a play to reclaim her husband, much to the chagrin of Charles’ new wife Ruth. One husband, two feuding wives and a whisper of mischief in the air – Noel Coward at his comedic best!

Photo Credit: Bryde MacLean and Gracie Finley. Photographer was Mike Viau.

 

Blithe Spirit Transcends Time and Space

Director Alan Kinsella could help a cucumber sandwich achieve its fullest theatrical potential. I know this because I played witness to the managerial marvel at the Watermark Theatre in North Rustico Friday night. What he was able to do with a misbehaving wooden table during a séance was pretty impressive as well. With such direction, it is no small wonder the cast and crew of Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward pulled off a transcendent performance on opening night, July 15th.

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The show was written in 1941 but the set, lights, and music were done in such a way the show could have been set in any decade. The play is no doubt British but, with some imagination and talent, it could take place in any village or city. That’s the joy of life, death and jealousy. The themes transcend both time and space.

Watermark stalwart Gracie Finley set the standard in her exuberant portrayal of Madame Arcati, a vivacious medium who unwittingly turns Mr. and Mrs. Condomimes’ lives upside down by granting Mrs. Condomine the Former, Elvira, a visit of indeterminate length. Mr. Charles Condomime is at first rattled by the sojourn of the free-spirited spectre and quickly becomes comfortable with the idea of being an ‘astral polygamist’. Charles is played marvellously by Daniel Briere who has a wide repertoire of facial expressions, reminiscent of Rowan Atkinson of Black Adder fame. Briere and Suzanne Roberts Smith (Elvira) play off each other nicely and make the relationship between Charles and Elvira quite believable and, oddly, not creepy.

Enter Ruth, Mrs. Condomime the Current, played by PEI native Bryde MacLean. Understandably, Ruth is not happy with the new living arrangement but she keeps a stiff upper lip. For a little while, anyway. MacLean’s portrayal of Ruth was fun to watch. It was exquisitely executed and made more visually arresting by MacLean’s resemblance to Anne Hathaway. Her presence was made ever more magnetic with the outfits put together by costume designer Kathryn Sherwin. MacLean’s absence for part of the show was very remarkable as I was excited to see what she would be wearing next.

Joshua Browne makes the most of his time on stage, as Dr. Bradman, who takes Madame Arcati’s jabs like a champ. I’m anxious to see Browne play Tom in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams on July 16th.

Leah Pritchard returns to the Watermark this year to work double duty in this piece; first as Edith, the ready-to-serve maid who may be more than she appears and, second, as Dr. Bradman’s chatty better half. I very much look forward to Pritchard’s portrayal of Laura in The Glass Menagerie. With Pritchard’s easy beauty, light complexion and nuanced performances, Laura may be the role she was born to play.

Robert Tsonos had a very successful first opening night as the new artistic director. Tsonos is no stranger to the Watermark stage and seems very eager to take on new responsibilities. In addition to his artistic director duties, of which I’m sure there are many, Tsonos will be directing The Glass Menagerie. Tsonos is making great strides in making the Watermark a community-integrated space. The theatre acts as a fine gallery for local artisans, serves local beer, and hosts a mentorship theatre program and teenage conservatory to foster the next generation of theatrical professionals.

Bottom line: If you’re looking for some cerebral comedy with a splash of slapstick, Blithe Spirit is the show for you. It’s playing now until August 27th at 7:30 p.m. on selected dates with one matinee on August 10th starting at 1:30 p.m.

Review by Kimberley Johnston. Used by permission. Originally posted on http://www.onrpei.ca.

Watermark Theatre on Verge of Summer Season

The sets are being built, costumes designed, music composed and the lights are being focused as Watermark Theatre prepares for their 2016 summer season. There is definitely an excitement in the air this summer as the company embarks on several new initiatives and two famous plays that are sure to please local audiences and visitors alike.

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Everyone is waiting with anticipation for the announcement of which plays are to be included in the new Play Reading Series in August, the new Watermark Mentorship Program has a series of design and backstage interns already hard at work preparing for the season, but of course it is the plays of Tennessee Williams and Noel Coward that has everyone eagerly awaiting the start of the season.

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams is one of those beautifully written, honest, and heartbreaking plays that come around once a decade, if not once a century”, says director and new Artistic Director Robert Tsonos. “The cast and I are mining the script for any clues into the minds of these very human and flawed characters. The play is about hope, about family, about dreams and aspirations. It’s based on Tennessee Williams’ own family and depicts his life growing up in St. Louis during the Depression. It’s a play that is sure to touch the heart and reach into the soul.”

Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit is his most famous play and thought by many critics to be the best constructed of his comic plays”, says director Alan Kinsella. “The cast and I have had so much fun bringing this fantasy-comedy to life with its larger than life characters and hilarious situations. The play was first produced in the spring of 1941 in London during the Blitz as an antidote for those troubled times. Years later the play still stands the test of time and is as relatable and funny to a modern audience as it was then.”

Blithe Spirit begins performances on June 28th and The Glass Menagerie on July 8th and both run until the end of August at the Watermark Theatre in North Rustico.

Cead Mile Failte, in Other Words

Watermark Theatre is delighted to bid Céad Míle Fáilte – A Hundred Thousand Welcomes – to Irish Director Alan Kinsella, who will be staging Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit for the 2016 Watermark Summer Season.

Mr. Kinsella is a native of County Wexford, Ireland, who began his career as an actor at the famous Abbey Theatre in Dublin, and continued in Ireland as a director of plays such as “Dedalus Lounge”, “Decadence”, and “Angels in America”, as well as musicals such as “Victor/Victoria”, “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”, and “Singing in the Rain”.

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An accomplished director of the classical theatre, Mr. Kinsella has staged plays such as “Edward II”, “Henry IV”, “Major Barbara”, and “A Streetcar Named Desire.” In 2010, he made his Off‐Broadway debut, directing Stephen Berkoff’s “Lunch”. Above all, Mr. Kinsella has made himself a master of the works of Noel Coward, having directed Coward’s “Still Life”, “While We Were Dancing”, and “Ways and Means”, at the Civic Theatre in Dublin as well as the Coward musical reviews “Marvelous Party”, and “Noel and Cole”.

Mr. Kinsella settled in Canada in 2013 and over the past three years has directed more than 20 Canadian productions in Toronto including “The Woman in Black”, “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “Hair”, and “Anything Goes”.

In the hands of an experienced and able director – and one with such an extensive background in Coward’s works – the Watermark Theatre production of Blithe Spirit promises to deliver all the wit, dazzle and spark which marks the comedy of one of modern theatre’s great playwrights.