Tag Archives: The (Post) Mistress

Get ‘Em While You Can

The Victoria Playhouse has an exclusive offer for you to attend The (Post) Mistress and receive a free ticket to se Anne & Gilbert: The Musical in October.

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Martha Irving is the post mistress.

“…if you love what theatre can do, it would be a disrespect to miss Martha Irving’s captivating, comic virtuoso performance.” – Jane Ledwell, The Buzz

“This is amazing theatre; a must see performance by this incredible performer…” – Barbara MacAndrew

Here’s the deal …

Buy two tickets to any performance of The (Post) Mistress

and receive one free ticket to Anne & Gilbert

Pick up your Anne & Gilbert coupon at the Victoria Playhouse box office when you attend
The (Post) Mistress. Coupon can be redeemed for perfromances between October 1 – 18.

Book Now or call 1.800.925.2025

Anne & Gilbert Plays at the Guild in Charlottetown to October 18

Anne & Gilbert is an unusual Canadian theatre story. Since its launch in 2005 at the Victoria Playhouse it has become the most successful and critically acclaimed new musical in Canada in recent memory.

With rave reviews in Variety, The Toronto Star, The Ottawa Citizen, and many other publications, it has accomplished in tiny Prince Edward Island, Canada’s smallest province, what few other Canadian musicals have achieved anywhere.

So Close to the Bone

The Victoria Playhouse continues to celebrate its 35th season with Canadian Cree playwright Tomson Highway’s one-woman musical The (Post) Mistress which opened on Sunday night, August 7th. Among the sold-out audience were a number of Island post mistresses and post masters who were invited to the performance.

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“We want to extend the invitation to all Island post mistresses and masters to see this play which pays tribute to their profession,” said General Manager Pat Stunden Smith, “The work they do, and have done, in our communities is invaluable and this play recognizes that fact.”

The (Post) Mistress stars well-known Island-raised actor Martha Irving as Marie-Louise, a small-town post mistress in a time before fax or email. Marie-Louise has the uncanny ability to discern the contents of the townspeople’s mail and, it turns out, her small town has a lot of big secrets.

“So close to the bone,” said Janet Moszynski, one-time post mistress for the village of Victoria.

(Post) Mistress Delivers, First Class!

When you cross a truly unique set (Scenic Design by W. Scott MacConnell, who did a great job creating a post office/cabaret hybrid) & light show (designed by James Clement & technically executed by Dave Nicholson) with musical direction on keyboards by Holly Arsenault, & Ken Fornetran on Saxophone & then let Martha Irving go to town with her magical conversions of a bunch of random letters into song, you get a stage that absolutely beams of enthusiasm & star shine!

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Postmistress Martha Irving (Director of the musical Anne & Gilbert for 5 years) began her career at Victoria Playhouse in Barefoot in the Park in 1977 & returned last year to star in Sexy Laundry. This year, from August 6 to September 4, she owns the stage as a charming postal worker with a lovely French Canadian accent named Marie-Louise (whose raison d’être, she admits during the show, is her service to her post office), a role she originated at Ship’s Company Theatre in Parrsboro, NS, in this dynamic one-woman show by Playwright Tomson Highway (who is the recipient of 10 honorary doctorates & is a member of the Order of Canada, today enjoying an international career as a playwright, novelist, pianist, composer, & songwriter). In The Postmistress, Irving is quick on her feet, hitting all the notes in a variety of catchy tunes from both of Canada’s official languages (the soundtrack album of The (Post) Mistress, received a Juno Award in 2015 for Aboriginal Album of the Year), & taking the audience to school in terms of comedic timing. She also makes very effective use of props.

In many songs she was shelling out the dirt on residential gossip, but nonetheless remains a class act the whole way through. Most of the numbers required a delicate balance of sentimentality, phrasing, & punch-line ad libs (usually with a nudge & a wink) & she was very impressive. I thought the story she told about her younger days in Buenos Aires was just adorable. Director Catherine O’Brien (who is also playing the role of Rachel Lynde in this season’s production of Anne & Gilbert at The Guild), who has demonstrated her talents as an actress & vocalist on many occasions over the years must no doubt be very proud of this performance.

I’m sure the collective abundance of theatrical experience between everyone involved had a lot to do with the seamless flow of a range of emotions from sadness, to madness, to seduction, to utter silliness (sometimes even bordering on going absolutely postal), & huge rounds of applause were definitely not in short supply. Unless you find the thought of listening to a French-Canadian accent for a couple of hours annoying there’s a pretty good chance you’ll have a great time watching Martha Irving strutting her stuff. If you can get a ticket to this feel-good, must-see PEI theatre event, it’s well worth the drive out to the Victoria Playhouse.

Review by PL Holden. Used by permission. Originally posted on http://www.onrpei.ca.

 

A Small Town Musical with Big Secrets

The Victoria Playhouse is delighted to present award-winning aboriginal Canadian Tomson Highway’s one-woman musical The (Post) Mistress. The production stars popular Halifax-based actor Martha Irving performing under the direction of Catherine O’Brien, with musical direction and keyboards by Holly Arsenault and Ken Fornetran on saxophone.

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Irving was first approached by Matthew Tiffin, past Artistic Director of Ship’s Company Theatre in Parsborro, Nova Scotia to play the title role of Marie-Louise.

“The idea terrified me! But I like to do things that terrify and challenge me,” Irving recalls.

She pushed her fears aside and discovered that she loved the role. Since then, she has performed the part of Marie-Louise, not only at Ship’s Company, but also at Neptune Theatre in Halifax and the Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque, Ontario.

The Chronicle Herald of Halifax, Nova Scotia wrote of The (Post) Mistress, “Martha Irving gave an astonishing performance … that drew shouts of bravo and standing ovations as she became the colourful French-Canadian Marie-Louise running a village post office.”

The (Post) Mistress is at the Victoria Playhouse August 6 through September 4.

(Post) Mistress Opens at Victoria Playhouse

As part of its 35th season, the Victoria Playhouse is delighted to produce award-winning aboriginal Canadian Tomson Highway’s one-woman musical The (Post) Mistress. The production will star popular Halifax-based actor Martha Irving performing under the direction of Catherine O’Brien, with musical direction and keyboards by Holly Arsenault and Ken Fornetran on saxophone.

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Irving was first approached by Matthew Tiffin, past Artistic Director of Ship’s Company Theatre in Parsborro, Nova Scotia to play the title role of Marie-Louise.

“The idea terrified me! But I like to do things that terrify and challenge me,” Irving recalls.

She pushed her fears aside and discovered that she loved the role. Since then, she has performed the part of Marie-Louise, not only at Ship’s Company, but also at Neptune Theatre in Halifax and the Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque, Ontario. This August she brings her Marie-Louise to the stage in Victoria.

The (Post) Mistress is set in a small multilingual town in Northern Ontario in 1968, a time before electronic communications, when the post office was still the hub of the community. Marie-Louise, the town’s post mistress, tells the stories and gossip of the town which she gleans from the residents’ mail.

Irving knew that in order to play Marie-Louise, she would need to perfect not only her French accent, but also her Cree, as some lyrics are written in that language. It was Tomson Highway himself who stepped in to coach her in the latter. Highway, whose mother tongue is Cree, uses his writing as a means of promoting the preservation and usage of the language.

“The Cree language is so beautiful,” says Irving. “It’s like poetry. And it is deeply rooted in nature and the concept of Mother Earth.”

Irving is happy to be back on the Victoria Playhouse stage once again. In 1977, she made her theatrical debut there in a production of Barefoot in the Park and last summer she starred opposite Rob MacLean in the Playhouse hit production Sexy Laundry. But she is especially pleased to be bringing Marie-Louise to Victoria.

“Marie-Louise is a wonderful character. I wasn’t done performing her,” says Irving.

(Photo of Martha Irving by Jay Kopinski for the Thousand Islands Playhouse. Logo design by Ron Walsh.)

Irving Stars as (Post) Mistress

Continuing its Canadian theme, Victoria Playhouse is staging the award-winning Canadian Cree playwright Tomson Highway’s The (Post) Mistress, starring Martha Irving. This “little musical with big secrets”, opening August 7, has been lauded by critics and audiences alike for its upbeat, jazzy tunes and engaging story.

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Martha Irving has performed this role previously at Neptune Theatre, Ship’s Company Theatre, and The Thousand Islands Playhouse.