Tag Archives: Robert Tsonos

A Thin Line Between Life and Life on Stage

Art Imitates Life, or Life Imitates Art?

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Four of the characters in Watermark Theatre’s production of Boeing Boeing this summer begin the play engaged to be married and Artistic Director Robert Tsonos had no idea that two of the actors he cast to play the roles were also engaged to be married (but not to each other). “It’s one of those situations where art imitates life or vice versa”, says Tsonos. “The cast are all in their 20’s and early 30’s so I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised”.

PEI actress Jenna Marie is engaged to Landon Holmes and will be married at the end of August. They met when they were 16 years old at one of Jenna Marie’s first jobs as a tour guide at Cows Creamery at the North River Causeway where Landon worked as a “Scoopervisor”. They became fast best friends, with a little help from the ice cream he would sneak to her, but weren’t romantic in any way, and when Landon left the Creamery they drifted apart. Over the next 7 years they kept in touch very little while Jenna Marie moved all over Canada, but when she returned back to PEI they decided to reconnect over a bowling game which quickly turned into their first date. One month after their first date Jenna Marie moved to Italy for 7 months, and they decided to do long distance. They talked every day, and despite the time change Landon would make sure to Skype her as she fell asleep almost every night. Landon decided to go to Italy and travel with Jenna Marie at the end of her time there and they fell deeper in love and became inseparable.

Toronto based actor Warren Bain is engaged to Katie Ryerson and will be married in January. They met after an evening performance of Macbeth in Prescott, Ontario while Warren was working at the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival. They both went to the same theatre school, Warren was in his fourth year while Katie was in her first, and had seen each other in the hallways of the school but had never really chatted. They hit it off, had an enjoyable conversation, and made no plans to see each other ever again. The world works in mysterious ways though, and a few weeks later they ran into each other at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto. They committed to having a date the following week. They saw a show, dined at a local restaurant, then wandered the streets of Toronto, lost in thought, conversation, and that romantic atmosphere that only warm nights and street lights bring.

Playing characters that were also in love and ready to take the next step made both actors think about their own journeys. “Playing a fiancé in Boeing Boeing is so much fun, and it’s easy to be excited about being engaged to Bernard because I just think of how excited I am to marry Landon.” enthuses Jenna Marie, “Gloria is definitely a little more headstrong then I am, but Landon says that Gloria’s love of all food (and weird food combinations) is something that isn’t too far off from my tastes and I would have to agree!”

Warren also reflected on how the role has made him think of his own situation. “Getting ready and planning for a wedding really makes me appreciate the timetables and obsession with organization that Bernard has in Boeing Boeing, there’s so much to do, it could fall apart at any minute! Katie and I also both work as actors and our careers take us away from each other for long stretches of time. Spending the summer on the Island is wonderful, but it’s three months away from Katie, absence really does make the heart grow fonder.”

Boeing Boeing runs all summer until August 31st at the Watermark Theatre in North Rustico. Visit http://www.watermarktheatre.com or call 902-963-3963 for tickets.

Watermark is a proud member of the PTN – Professional Theatre Network of PEI

For more information 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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Chat With an Actor

A Chat With Actor Alexandra Montagnese

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Q: Tell me about the characters you’re playing this summer?

AM: I am playing Gabriella in Boeing Boeing the passionate, feisty yet forgiving, Italian flight attendant. She speaks a language of love through her actions and soon becomes protective when she starts to catch wind of the situation at hand. All Gabriella wants is calm sensual companionship in an otherwise turbulent lifestyle, hopping airport to airport without much time to lay roots.

In contrast, I play the social butterfly, Chick in Crimes of the Heart letting me dig in the deep rootedness of southern American family matters. I’m playing the cousin to the three sisters at the centre of the story. Every time we see Chick, she is coming from a meeting, or headed to another responsibility, always with an eye for scrutiny and decorum. She is sharp, ready to pounce, and will certainly fill any dead air with her extensively long sentences. She’s got this fast-talking, friendly manner of getting what she wants while tossing jabs here and there, if you catch them.

Q: Have you worked with any of the other company members?

AM: I was lucky enough to spend 2 years at York U with Hannah where we did our MFA together. And when I say together, I mean there were only 5 of us in the acting program, and we spent day and night, every single class, and rehearsals together. We even got to play sisters in Three Sisters as both of our thesis roles.

Q: Are you looking forward to spending the whole summer on the Island?

AM: This is my first time on PEI and I am just delighted to start the summer full of seafood and sandy beaches! I’ve made extensive lists of all the things I want to do while on the island but I am most excited to go on adventures and see things I’ve never seen before. I’ll be the one asking people where I should go on my days off. 

Q: How will you keep it fresh every night when you have such a long run?

AM: The wonderful thing about theatre is that it’s humans every night, and as long as I remain true and honest with where I’m at, it will be fresh and interesting and new. I really value the work my fellow actors do, and out of respect to them, I listen, and respond authentically to what they’re offering. To me, honouring the work stage management, direction, lights, sound, front of house, and all the folks working to put me there onstage keeps me motivated. I also like to dedicate each night to a new person in the audience, whether I know them or not.

Robert Tsonos Artistic Director

Watermark Theatre

 

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

Off the Stage

A Chat With Actor Hannah Wayne-Phillips at the Watermark Theatre

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Q: How will you keep it fresh every night when you have such a long run?
HWP: The incredible thing about live theatre is, every night is different because every night we get a new scene partner- the audience. One of the wonderful things about working in an intimate space like Watermark is that as actors we can really be present with the audience and have an exchange with the audience. That relationship, or that exchange, is very different with different groups of people and that alone keeps the work fresh. Sometimes I also like to focus on one detail and see how it changes the action. So I might focus on how a certain memory from childhood, or a relationship with a character in the play, affects the character’s journey in the play.
Q: Are you looking forward to spending the whole summer on the island?
HWP: I am thrilled to be spending the summer on the island. I’m excited for many things about being in PEI this summer, but top of the list is getting to swim in the Atlantic Ocean everyday.
Q: Tell me about the characters you are playing this summer?
HWP: I am very excited about the two characters I will be playing this summer! In Boeing Boeing I’m playing Berthe, a Parisian maid, who already has me busting a gut at her bold and slightly cantankerous way of communicating with her boss. Amidst her boss’ chaotic lifestyle, Berthe applies her shrewd and exacting mind to holding the house together, and with great success (most of the time). Berthe runs a tight ship; she has a ubiquitous watch over her domain. I cannot wait to jump into the skin of this fiery, smart-as-a-whip, subversive, fretful, wonderfully dramatic Parisian.
I’m also playing Lenny in Crimes of the Heart. Lenny and her sisters have already captured my heart and imagination. Lenny is the sister who is the caregiver; she is reliable, and self-sacrificing. She’s very interesting to me, because at face value she appears meek, but just below the surface she has a depth of soul and an emotional life that is very intense and at times quite dark. When we meet Lenny at the beginning of the play her life is very hermitic. Yet, she yearns for a life that’s bigger, with more passion than she believes she is able to have. That internal tension and Lenny’s journey to becoming an active person is extraordinary to me. I am very excited to fall further in love with this wish-making, horse-riding, yearning, cautious, sensitive, intense, empathetic misfit.
Q: Have you worked with any of the other company members?
HWP: Yes! Alex Montagnese and I were in the same class for our MFA in Acting at York. We always hoped we would be able to share the stage again soon, and I’m thrilled that the opportunity has come again so quickly. Alex is a truly gifted artist and I can’t wait to jump into the ring with her and the entire cast this summer.

Robert Tsonos

Artistic Director
Watermark Theatre

 

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

Watermark Announces 2019 Summer Season

Watermark Theatre’s Artistic Director Robert Tsonos, and General Manager Andrea Surich are proud to announce the 2019 Summer Season.

The season will include the classic farce Boeing Boeing by Marc Camoletti and the Pulitzer Prize winning play Crimes of the Heart by Beth Henley. Our popular music series Classic Music Reignited returns for its 6th year, and the Watermark Play Reading Series will once again focus on new plays in development by PEI Playwrights.

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Fasten your seat belt for a non-stop ride that will take you up, up and away! Boeing Boeing is a riotous farce about a successful architect named Bernard who is juggling three flight attendant fiancées – an American, an Italian and a German. Unexpected schedule changes bring all three to Paris, and Bernard’s apartment, at the same time. Bernard, his maid, and his visiting friend Robert must navigate the hilarious turbulence ahead. A non-stop comedy and a romp of international proportions.
“It’s deliciously, deliriously innocent. Pure pleasure and unconditional bliss!”
– The New York Times

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 everyone has forgotten poor Lenny’s 30th birthday. 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.
“From time to time a play comes along that restores one’s faith in our theatre…”
– NY Magazine.

For the 2nd year in a row, the Play Reading Series will showcase new work in development by PEI playwrights. A selection process will begin in the next few months to choose three new, unpublished, and unproduced plays, to be read by our company of actors during the month of August. A list of plays and playwrights will be released in the Spring of 2019.

Our Classic Music Reignited series returns, curated once again by Rob Oakie. As always, Island musical artists interpret classic composers in a way that you have never heard before. Stay tuned for our list of composers and Island musicians to be announced very soon.

Season Ticket Passes are now on sale at early bird rates until December 31st, 2018.
$104 for 4 tickets
$144 for 6 tickets
$220 for 10 tickets
902-963-3963 or visit http://www.watermarktheatre.com

Watermark Theatre strives to produce the finest professional theatre on the Island. By producing and presenting theatre, music and artwork, our goal is to enrich and contribute to the community in which we work, the province in which we live, and the Canadian theatre community to which we belong. Watermark believes in the development of the next generation of theatre artists and arts administrators through mentorship and professional training. Plays are chosen from the international repertoire of classic and modern classic plays that are at least 50 years old and Canadian plays at least 30 years old. In all of our programming we strive for artistic excellence and a diversity of voices, while endeavouring to inform, to affect, and to engage with our audience.

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

For more information please contact Andrea Surich at 902-963-3963 or generalmanager@watermarktheatre.com

Dial M Busts Out

Watermark Theatre is thrilled to announce that box office revenue for the recently completed 2018 summer season was up by 10% over last year. Productions of Dial M For Murder and A Moon For The Misbegotten both exceeded expectations while season subscription passes increased as well. In fact, Dial M For Murder became the highest grossing production in the history of the company. The productions’ success is attributed to the extremely high quality of work from all the artists involved, wonderful word-of-mouth throughout the Island, a successful marketing plan, and exceptional reviews from both The Guardian and The Buzz.

This marks the third year in a row that box office revenues have increased for Watermark since Artistic Director Robert Tsonos and General Manager Andrea Surich took over the company in the Fall of 2015.

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Robert is of course thrilled with how audiences have responded to his programming. “We seem to have reached a tipping point where word of mouth across the Island has boosted our audience numbers. People have started to spread the word about the work we do here in North Rustico and it’s very satisfying to see so many full houses. People are driving from across the Island now to see our shows and letting tourists know how to find us. We feel like we really have the support of the whole Island behind us now. It’s a great position to be in”.

Andrea Surich says that the theatre has become an economic engine for the community. “The restaurants and shops in North Rustico and surrounding area keep getting busier and busier. We help them out by luring new visitors to the area and they help us out by allowing our patrons to have a bite to eat or do a little shopping before one of our shows. A full summer evening’s experience.”

Programming for Watermark’s 2019 summer season will be announced very soon.

For more information please contact Andrea Surich at 902-963-3963 or generalmanager@watermarktheatre.com

Hear Ye Hear Ye

Plays Announced For Play Reading Series Featuring Local Playwrights

Three local PEI playwrights will have their plays read at the Watermark Theatre this August as part of the theatre’s Play Reading Series. The three plays are “Through Eden”  by Stuart Smith, “Past Artistry” by J.J. Steinfeld, and Jennifer Platts-Fanning’s play “Held to the Fire”.

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Actors from the Watermark acting company, with scripts in hand, will read the plays to an audience. This allows the playwrights to further develop their work. “Plays are meant to be heard and it’s so helpful to the development of a play for a playwright to be in a theatre amongst the audience to hear how the play is working”, says Watermark Artistic Director Robert Tsonos.

Stuart Smith‘s play tells the story of Evey Gaudet who has arrived back on PEI to see her old flame, Aden MacKenzie, after a three year absence. Over the course of a single, storm-filled evening, old resentments are revisited, and new secrets are revealed. Can the pieces of the past be put back together again? Stuart studied theatre arts at Acadia, where he completed a thesis on the plays of Peter Shaffer. In the decades since then, he acted, directed, and produced shows in New Brunswick and Maine, in both community theatre and through drama programs at schools. In the early 90s, he co-founded the St. Croix Theatre Company in New Brunswick. He was artistic director of that company for six years, until he moved to PEI. Since moving to the island in 2000, Stuart’s focus has been on educational theatre in junior high, but he has recently started writing again for the stage as well as getting back on the boards as an actor.

J. J. Steinfeld is a fiction writer, poet, and playwright who lives on Prince Edward Island. He has published eighteen books, including Anton Chekhov Was Never in Charlottetown (Stories, Gaspereau Press), Would You Hide Me? (Stories, Gaspereau Press), Misshapenness (Poetry, Ekstasis Editions), Identity Dreams and Memory Sounds (Poetry, Ekstasis Editions), Madhouses in Heaven, Castles in Hell (Stories, Ekstasis Editions), An Unauthorized Biography of Being (Stories, Ekstasis Editions), and Absurdity, Woe Is Me, Glory Be (Poetry, Guernica Editions). Over fifty of his one-act plays and a handful of full-length plays have been performed in Canada and the United States, including the full-length plays The Franz Kafka Therapy Session, The Golden Age of Monsters, and A Television-Watching Artist; and the one-act plays Godot’s Leafless Tree, The Waiting Ends, The Entrance-or-Not Barroom, The Word-Lover, Laugh for Sanity, Back to Back, Imaginative Drinking, In a Washroom of a Prestigious Art Gallery, More Than Money, A Play of Disbelief, Memory Sounds, and A Question of Eternity.

J.J.’s play Past Artistry deals with the relationship between creativity, the past, family, artistic life and artistic vision. A forty-seven-year-old artist is visited by the man, now old and wanting to confess his act before he dies, who shot him thirty-two years before. The shooting, when the artist was fifteen, led him to become an artist and he does not want to know the truth about the unknown assailant who has never been caught. The entrance of the old man into his life affects the artist’s relationship with his artist daughter and with his art-dealer friend.

Jennifer Platts-Fanning is a playwright and short story writer. She spent a year acting in various ACT (A Community Theatre) gigs including Plays in a Day, A Man of Two Minds and Our Town.  As a backpacking vagabond in her 20s, she slung pints for a living at The Worlds End in Edinburgh, Scotland and “worked” alongside Christopher Lee as an extra in the movie Greyfriars Bobby. While living in Cork, Ireland she once sat sipping warm Guinness in a small, brightly lit IRA pub teaching the gruff old men the lyrics to Barrett’s Privateers. Jennifer’s ultimate goals for writing Held to the Fire are twofold. Firstly, she hopes people struggling with bipolar will feel represented, understood and heard. Secondly, she hopes those outside the disorder will have a better understanding of this life-changing illness.

Jennifer’s play’s main character, Phoenix, is spinning, caught in her own maelstrom. Inner demons threaten to dismantle her life. A lover, a mother, a woman saddled with a frenzied mind, she journeys from constellation mythologies to moon gardening, yurts to communing with Death. A raw and unveiled window into the dark depths of human consciousness.

The dates and times of the plays are:

August 4th at 1:30PM – Through Eden by Stuart Smith
August 15th at 1:30PM – Past Artistry J.J. Steinfeld
August 22nd at 1:30PM – Held to the Fire by Jennifer Platts-Fanning

Tickets are only $10 and can be purchased by going to the company’s website http://www.watermarktheatre.com

For more information, or to set up an interview with any of the playwrights please contact Andrea Surich at 902-963-3963 or generalmanager@watermarktheatre.com

Atlantic Drama Festival On Tap

Next weekend, Watermark Theatre will host the National Theatre School of Canada’s Atlantic Drama Festival at their theatre in North Rustico.

Formerly known as the Sears Atlantic Drama Festival, the event which runs from May 18th to 20th, brings together high school students from throughout the region to view, discuss and enjoy each other’s creative efforts, under the guidance of experienced adjudicators. The Festival facilitates and inspires a love of theatre, team work, problem solving, originality and entrepreneurship. “I am excited for students, teachers and community members across several provinces as we enter this new period in our history. Now, under the banner of the National Theatre School Drama Festival we look forward to our first season of compelling and unique theatre for and by theatre students,” said Wayne Fairhead, Executive Director of the organization.

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“I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the volunteers, teachers, coaches, theatre professionals, adjudicators, parents and friends of the festival who give their time, expertise and encouragement to make this festival possible. At NTS, we believe that theatre allows people to imagine, think and feel collectively. The Drama Festival is a fine example of the power of theatre to encourage empathy, creativity, debate and community building,” said Gideon Arthurs, CEO of the National Theatre School of Canada.

The Atlantic Drama Festival is part of a trio of Drama Festivals, the other two are in Ontario and B.C. all now under the umbrella of the National Theatre School. The Ontario Drama Festival, founded in 1946, is Canada’s oldest theatre festival. It helped launch the careers of numerous actors, directors and production professionals, including actors Margot Kidder, Rachel McAdams, Yanna McIntosh and R.H. Thomson, as well as movie director David Cronenberg. In 2018, the National Theatre School of Canada added new artistic resources for participants and is working to eventually expand the festivals to include more young artists, as well as provide financial and administrative support.

About the National Theatre School of Canada: Founded in 1960, in Montreal, the National Theatre School of Canada (NTS) offers incomparable training for theatre artists of all kinds, actors, directors, designers, writers, production specialists, to create work that matters. A co-lingual school, NTS includes both an English section and a French section. The School has graduated some 2000 artists who have made incalculable contributions to our collective identity. Some of this country’s most important theatre, performance, film, and television artists are among their ranks, and the School’s influence is felt from coast to coast to coast and across the globe.

Watermark is thrilled to host this remarkable event and look forward to inspiring the next generation of theatre artists. “We continue to focus a lot of our energies on training, mentoring, and inspiring young theatre artists”, says Watermark Artistic Director Robert Tsonos. “This Festival, along with our professional mentorship program and our teenage acting conservatory really sets our theatre up as a training ground for the future of theatre in this province and across the country”.

For more information, or to set up an interview with any of the participants please contact Andrea Surich at 902-963-3963 or generalmanager@watermarktheatre.com

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

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