Tag Archives: Charlotte Gowdy

Backstage at Crimes of the Heart

A Chat With Charlotte Gowdy

Charlotte Gowdy will direct “Crimes of the Heart” by Beth Henley in Watermark Theatre’s 2019 summer season. We had a chat with Charlotte about the play.

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Q: What excites you about the play Crimes of the Heart?
CG: So many things! I love the nuance and subtext of Henley’s writing and the rich history embedded in the relationships between characters. I am also excited by the Southern gothic setting of the play (Mississippi 1970’s) where a lazy, cheerful surface is intensified by an underbelly of explosive desire, deception, desperation and drama. This play has a wonderful mix of comedy and tragedy. I love that the characters can laugh even in the darkest moments. The play has a huge heart.
 

Q: What does the play say about sisterhood?
CG:The bond between the sisters in this play is immensely powerful, and I think it’s what keeps each of them from going off the deep end! Babe, Meg and Lenora are each so different in personality & lifestyle, but their shared history, and being together in times of crisis, serves to empower and embolden them. Of course, they fight and argue, and things are not easy between them, but there is a strength in their bond that is beyond words. It is full of love and optimism. I have been so fortunate in my own life to have experienced the powerful and uplifting force of sisterhood and female friendship. This play celebrates that force.

Q: How does the intimacy of the Watermark help or hinder the play?
CG: Well, the intimacy of the Watermark space will definitely help the actors embrace nuance, subtlety and depth of emotion. So, for the audience the experience will be very immersive and personal. I hope the audience feels like a fly on the wall of a very private, domestic scenario.
In terms of the set, the intimacy of the space is a bit of a challenge. In the original script the setting is described as a “spacious kitchen” with four doorways leading to different parts of the house, plus kitchen appliances (fridge, stove, sink, cupboards), plus a small bed in one corner, plus a kitchen table with chairs etc. So finding enough room on stage for actors to move around all the furniture is proving to be a fun challenge!

Q: What other challenges do you think this play presents?
CG It’s a slow burn. In this day and age, when people are accustomed to being overstimulated by technology and fast-paced entertainment, the play asks the audience to slow down and appreciate the depth of soul in each character and the subtle details of the plot. It asks the audience to appreciate the small things in life and the importance of family and resilience in the face of adversity. That said, with our amazingly talented actors, I am certain the audience will have no difficulty being drawn in to the drama!

Q: How does the play touch you emotionally?
CG: My heart aches for each of the sisters. They have faced immense tragedy in their young lives and still, they move forward, coping as best they can, and with a wonderful sense of humour. It’s inspiring! I am also deeply charmed by the men in the play. They are good men, enamoured by the sisters, and doing their best to help. At its core, the play looks at the complexities of being human, and of being a woman in a man’s world. This is not only relatable to me but also particularly relevant to everyone in the world today. The heartfelt relationships reassure me that connecting with other people is the only thing worth living for. And that fills me with joy!

Warm-hearted, irreverent, zany and brilliantly imaginative, “Crimes of the Heart” teems with humanity and humour as it examines the plight of three young Mississippi sisters betrayed by their passions. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, the play brings you into the Mississippi household of the Magrath sisters. Babe has just shot her husband because she didn’t like his looks. Meg is back in town after a failed attempt in the music business and a nervous breakdown. And poor Lenny – everyone has forgotten her 30th birthday…plus, her pet horse was just struck by lightning! Bad luck certainly runs deep among the Magrath clan. But with warm-hearted laughs and touching family moments, the sisters forgive the past, face the present, and embrace the future in this contemporary American stage classic.

“Crimes of the Heart” runs from July 5th to August 30th at the Watermark Theatre in North Rustico.

For more information, or to set up an interview with Ms. Gowdy please contact Andrea Surich at 902‐963‐3963 or generalmanager@watermarktheatre.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
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Gowdy to Helm Crimes at Watermark Theatre

Watermark Theatre is delighted to announce that Charlotte Gowdy will direct “Crimes of the Heart” by Beth Henley in their 2019 summer season.

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Born and raised on the Island, Charlotte has been performing, directing and teaching at theatres across Canada and internationally for the past 20 years. She is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada’s acting program, the Stratford Festival’s directing program, and trained extensively as a performer at Ecole Philippe Gaulier in Paris, France.

Her work includes multiple seasons at the Stratford Festival and Shaw Festival, shows at Canadian Stage, National Arts Centre, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Thousand Islands Playhouse, Tarragon Theatre, Factory Theatre, The Grand Theatre, St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival, Neptune Theatre and the Blyth Festival, among many others.

Charlotte is an Artistic Advisor for the National Arts Centre, English Theatre, she is an Associate Artist and core member of Troubadour Theatre Collective in London, and she spent two years as the Associate Artistic Director of the Thousand Islands Playhouse where she also led the TIP Young Company on two province-wide touring shows.

She is a professor of acting in the music theatre department at Sheridan College and a professor of clown for the theatre conservatory at Fanshawe College. Charlotte is also a guest instructor at schools across the globe including Queen’s University (Kingston), Wheaton College (Boston), Holland College’s SOPA program, UPEI, and at Unversidad Andres Bello (Santiago, Chile).

Warm-hearted, irreverent, zany and brilliantly imaginative, “Crimes of the Heart” teems with humanity and humour as it examines the plight of three young Mississippi sisters betrayed by their passions. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, the play brings you into the Mississippi household of the Magrath sisters. Babe has just shot her husband because she didn’t like his looks. Meg is back in town after a failed attempt in the music business and a nervous breakdown. And poor Lenny – everyone has forgotten her 30th birthday…plus, her pet horse was just struck by lightning! Bad luck certainly runs deep among the Magrath clan. But with warm-hearted laughs and touching family moments, the sisters forgive the past, face the present, and embrace the future in this contemporary American stage classic.

Last summer Charlotte had the great pleasure of directing “Myth of the Ostrich” for Victoria Playhouse, which received rave reviews and much success at the box office. Having grown up on the island, Charlotte caught the performance bug early as a dancer at Dance Umbrella in Charlottetown and playing violin for the Singing Strings.

On her upcoming directing job, Charlotte enthusiastically says, “I am absolutely thrilled to be back home again this summer, in the land that makes my heart sing”.

For more information, or to set up an interview with Ms. Gowdy please contact Andrea Surich at 902‐963‐3963 or generalmanager@watermarktheatre.com