Tag Archives: Professional Theatre Network of PEI

Popalopalots Appears (and Appears) at The Guild

The eight-person Popalopalots comedy group will host P.E.I.’s first-ever improv comedy marathon, Popalopalooza, Jan. 29–30. They’re making it up as they go along.

Improv is comedy created on the spur of the moment without a script, usually as short sketches or games driven by audience suggestions. “Even as I say it, it sounds — like, what am I doing?” Rob MacDonald of Popalopalots told CBC Radio Island Morning host Matt Rainnie.

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All proceeds go to the Cancer Treatment Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to purchase new heated seats for patients.

“Everybody is affected by cancer and a couple of the Popalopalots have or have had people go through there,” Mr. MacDonald said. The marathon will start at The Guild in Charlottetown on Friday Jan. 29 at 8 p.m. and run until the following Saturday night at 10 p.m.

“It terrifies me, and I’m looking at it as a sort of sociological or psychological experiment,” Mr. MacDonald joked.

Members of the group will take turns on stage so everyone will get a chance to take a break over those 26 hours.

Admission to the show is by donation for the first 24 hours. Tickets for the final two hours, from 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday, are $15.

Stamina is required. Even if the audience is nonexistent at 4 a.m., the show will go on, promises Mr. MacDonald. “I’m going to try to be on stage for as many minutes as are humanly possible,” he said.

Participants are now scheduling themed hours so they have a rough plan to follow.

“Saturday morning, I think we’re going to be doing fairy tales for a couple of hours,” said Mr. Macdonald. The group is calling the section from midnight to 4 a.m. “the filthy and the dirty” and tailoring it to crowds coming in from local bars.

The Popalopalots suggest the best time to check out the action is on Jan. 30, from 2 to 4 p.m., when they plan to improvise a complete full-length 2-hour movie slash play, which they’re already promising will be “terrible.”

Predictions are that by the end of the 26 hours the actors will be fighting with one another and sobbing from exhaustion. Members of the brave crew include Rob MacDonald, his son Cameron MacDonald, Graham Putnam, Dylan Miller, Jordan Cameron, Ben Hartley, Kelly Caseley, and Alicia Arsenault.

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‘Holding the Pose’ Opens at Confederation Centre’s Art Gallery

Portraits are often thought of as a fairly straightforward kind of art work. The goal is to produce a likeness of the subject, whether physical or psychological, mediated by the interpretation of the artist. But those portrayed are rarely passive actors in the exchange that takes place when a portrait is made. Through pose, attitude, costume, and other means of self-presentation, sitters always influence the end result.

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The active involvement of subjects in the creation of any portrait is the focus of Holding the Pose: Portraits From the Collection, a new exhibition presented by the Confederation Centre Art Galleryopening on January 27th.

Featuring works from the gallery’s permanent collection by artists from across Canada, the show demonstrates the complexity of the interaction between artist and sitter through a wide variety of portraits in various mediums. From P.E.I. painter Brian Burke’s evocative portraits of local literary figures Milton Acorn and Libby Oughton to the work of David Blackwood, Marion Wagschal, Edward Poitras, and others, the exhibition reflects the richness of the art of portraiture in Canada.

The Gallery’s collection also includes a significant quantity of works by one of Canada’s definitive portrait painters, Robert Harris, and the work of Harris will feature prominently in the exhibition.

“In the work of Robert Harris, we encounter an incredible richness and subtlety brought to bear on the craft of portraiture,” says Gallery Director Kevin Rice. “In the context of this exhibition, we have a great opportunity to see how the artist approached the vibrant subjects of his paintings, and how they played a role in the final result.”

Curated by the Gallery’s Pan Wendt, Holding the Pose will be on display from January 27 to November 27, 2016. The Gallery is open Wednesday to Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, 1-5 p.m.

For more information visit http://www.confederationcentre.com.

 

Aces Are High

Play has resumed for Charlottetown’s first large-scale Chase-the-Ace Lottery. The Confederation Centre’s ‘Chase-the-Ace for the Arts’ fundraiser for theatre improvements is held every Tuesday night in Studio 1, beside Mavor’s. Ticket sales run from 7 to 8:35 p.m. each night, with full bar service and board games on offer. The winning draw is held at 8:45 p.m.

Ace-of-Hearts

Chase-the-Ace is a classic card game that caught fire as a charity fundraiser in the Maritimes over the past year. The game is similar to a 50/50 draw, but has a twist — weekly ticket sales are split with 50% going to the fundraising charity, 30% being pooled into the jackpot, and 20% going to the weekly winning ticket holder, who also gets the chance to draw a card from the deck.

As weeks go on without the Ace of Hearts being drawn, the jackpot grows and the deck diminishes. The Centre has chosen an Anne of Green Gables themed deck of cards, with the hearts suit as jackpot trigger, hoping for good fortune with ‘hearts for the arts.’

Proceeds from the lottery will be put towards the $5-million cost of Phase Two improvements to the Homburg Theatre. The theatre closed in December for four months of essential restoration work to the back-of-stage, including rigging, hanging, and fly systems, access and safety equipment, and needed infrastructure upgrades.

While the public areas of the 1,100-seat theatre recently underwent significant restorations, the stage facilities and back stage areas have not seen major enhancements since the Island’s largest theatre first opened in 1964.

Setting the Stage

Watermark Theatre’s Board of Directors announced that it would be naming its stage for newly retired founder and artistic director, Duncan McIntosh. McIntosh, whose contribution to dramatic arts in Prince Edward Island and throughout Canada is well‐known, retired this past summer after bringing the Watermark into its most successful season to date.

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Past chair of the Watermark Board of Directors, Mary Crane, commented at a recent celebration in honour of Duncan: “During my time as Chair of the Board, I came to truly respect the talent and passion Duncan brought to every aspect of writing, directing and theatre development. No challenge defeated him and every season was a triumph.”

“Duncan’s respect for the people with whom he engages is admirable and much appreciated,” remarked Lois O’Neill, current Board Chair. “His energy, creative mind and nature, and his determination to build an exceptional classical theatre in our province are inspiring. We are fortunate, indeed, to have had him to lead us to this point. Naming our stage in his honour is tangible recognition of his exceptional gifts, all devoted to nurturing this Theatre since its opening in 2008. At that time, it was to honour the 100th Anniversary of the publication of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables; since then, he has held true to presenting professional and classical theatre on Prince Edward Island.”

Mr. McIntosh’s visionary perception of Canadian theatre led to the creation of ReIgnite Inc., a unique Watermark endeavour focused on the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation talks that took place on PEI. Its production of ‘Canada 300’ presented nine short original plays in twenty‐one venues across Canada from February to April, 2015.

Each play, grounded in an historical or current facet of Canada, contemplated the future unfolding of Canadian society. Following every performance, audience members discussed the plays and their own wishes for Canada in the next 150 years. The process continued as part of last summer’s Watermark season where it was well received.

In September, this year’s Palmer Conference at UPEI further explored considerations for Canada in the next 150 years. There were thought‐provoking presentations, panel discussions, and opportunities to engage in discussion with delegates from each of the twenty‐ one communities in which ‘Canada 300’ played last winter. From examination of First Nations concerns and immigration, to discussion about what Canadians should consider if we are to thrive as a nation, this year’s Palmer Conference was the brainchild of Mr. McIntosh.

David Bulger, an actor in several Watermark productions, observed that McIntosh is a master at building enthusiasm and collegial atmosphere within a theatre company. “Watermark was the best place I had ever worked at in my many years, and that it was owing to Duncan’s ability to create a positive working and learning environment”, he said.

The Duncan McIntosh Stage will be a reminder for future casts, crews and audiences of Mr. McIntosh’s remarkable legacy. Without a doubt, his artistic vision will continue to touch others for years to come.

Watermark Theatre Announces 2016 Season

The Watermark Theatre’s Artistic Director Robert Tsonos, and General Manager Andrea Surich are proud to announce the 2016 Summer Season.

The season will include the American modern classic The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, and the Noel Coward comedy Blithe Spirit. A new initiative, The Watermark Play Reading Series, will be presented throughout the month of August, and our popular music series Classic Music Reignited rounds out the programming for the summer.

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The Glass Menagerie became an instant and enduring hit when it appeared on Broadway in 1945, winning the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best American Play and brought Tennessee Williams, until then an obscure young playwright, to prominence. In a cramped St Louis apartment in 1945 the regrets, hopes and frustrations of an abandoned family are revealed with the truth, humour, and compassion for which Tennessee Williams is renowned. Celebrated as one the greatest plays of the English‐speaking world!

In Blithe Spirit, while 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!

A Play Reading is as simple as it sounds. Actors, with scripts in hand, using minimal movement on stage, act out plays for an audience. Plays by Arthur Miller, Eugene Ionesco, Lillian Hellman, Eugene O’Neill, Henrik Ibsen, George Bernard Shaw, Dario Fo, Clare Boothe Luce, and Harold Pinter are only a few of the possible playwrights featured in the series. Classic Canadian plays will also be included in this series. Plays by David French, Sharon Pollock, Michel Tremblay, John Murrell, and Judith Thompson.

In addition to the great plays of the English‐speaking world, we will also present play readings in French from the masters of French theatre as well as some French‐Canadian classics. Plays by Moliere, Marivaux, Michel Marc Bouchard, Jean‐Paul Sartre, Jean Cocteau, Jean Racine and Gratien Gélinas, to name a few.

Classic Music Reignited is our popular music series curated by Rob Oakie. Island musical artists interpret classic composers in a way that you have never heard before. Last summer we celebrated the music of Edith Piaf, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and The Rat Pack trio of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Junior and Dean Martin. Our 2016 lineup will be announced soon.

Season Tickets are now on sale at early bird rates of $99 for 4 tickets and $124 for 6 tickets. For more information please contact Andrea Surich at 902‐963‐3963 or generalmanager@watermarktheatre.com

The Watermark Theatre is at 57 Church Hill Ave in North Rustico, across the street from the Church of Stella Maris.