SYTYCA Presents: The Actors!

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Wondering who will help our celebrities shine on stage? Today, we are pleased to bring you our fabulous line-up of talented local actors for our 3rd annual So You Think You Can Act fundraising event! In less than two weeks, seven local celebrity participants will test out their acting chops on stage in front of a panel of judges. Once all celebrities have performed, YOU will vote for the winner of the trophy (and bragging rights of course)! Keep reading to find out more about our actors.

Grant Burr – Look familiar? You may have caught Grant playing the role of Ray in Flood Control by Marilyn Anne Campbell as part of FemFest 2013. Grant is sure to show Eva Kovacs the ropes in a scene from The Fighting Days by Wendy Lill.

Justin OttoAs a recent graduate of the University of Winnipeg Acting Honours program, Justin is the perfect candidate to play Jim Ingebrigtsen’s teaching assistant in a scene from The Essay by Hannah Moscovitch. Will this duo win over the audience’s vote?

Andrea Houssin We are pleased to have Andrea play the role of Hannah in a scene from Good Intentions by Ginny Collins. You may have seen Andrea in this very role earlier this season at the Winnipeg Jewish Theatre. Will Andrea’s experience give Kris Laudien a step-up above the rest?

Lorraine James – Lorraine is no stranger to Sarasvàti Productions! Last year she played the role of Kirsty in All My Day Jobs by Kirsten Van Ritzen as part of our IWW Cabaret of Monologues. Lorraine is sure to make former Winnipeg Blue Bomber Obby Khan work for the prize in a scene from Riot by Andrew Moodie.

Cheryl Gensiorek – At last year’s So You Think You Can Act, Cheryl helped Kerri Salki of Clear FM shine on stage and take home the grand prize! Surely her expertise will give Alison Gillmor the upper hand. Catch these two in a scene from The Girl Who Loved Castro by Colleen Curran.

Elizabeth Whitbread – Elizabeth has appeared in a number of independent productions throughout the years. She is currently in the 4th year Acting Honours program at The University of Winnipeg. Elizabeth will be performing alongside Big Daddy Tazz in a hilarious scene from Kiss The Moon, Kiss The Sun by Norm Foster.

Danielle Savage – In a recent article, Troy Westwood stated that he is excited to be working with a pro like Danielle Savage in this year’s So You Think You Can Act. Having many years of experience on the stage, Danielle is sure to help Troy prove he can act in a side splitting scene from Why Torture is Wrong, and The People Who Love Them by Chirstopher Durang.

There will also be a special voice over appearance by local actor Kevin Anderson!

So You Think You Can Act will take place on February 19th, 2014 at 7:00pm at The Gas Station Arts Centre (445 River Ave). This unique fundraising event is sure to have your laughing in your seats! Tickets are $25 dollars and include a fabulous wine reception after the show. All money raised will go towards supporting the transformative theatre work of Sarasvàti Productions. There will also be thousands of dollars in raffle prizes donated by local businesses and a 50/50 draw (raffle licence #MGCC#5542). Help support local arts and get your tickets before it’s too late! Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here or by calling our office at (204) 586-2236. We’ll see you on February 19th!

 Which pair do you think will steal the spotlight? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and/or on Twitter using the #SYTYCA!

FemFest Features Fabulous Talent!

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With FemFest just two months away, we are excited to start featuring some of our fabulous artists who will be performing! In order for you to get to know them a little better, we posed some interesting questions and we’ll post highlights in various blog entries in the coming weeks. Here is a few to get things started:

Kevin Anderson Kevin Anderson has appeared in several Sarasvàti works including EDEN in 2012, Ripple Effect in 2008 and some FemFest readings. This year he will be in our FemFest 2013 short-list readings:

What is your favourite play? Generous  by Michael Healey
What is your favourite word? pedantic
If you had one wish, what would it be? That the next 65 years are even better.
Fun Fact: What Kevin wants audiences to take away after viewing is work the feeling that he did his job well.

Cheryl Gensiorek

Cheryl Gensiorek was most recently seen in Wild Women, our International Women’s Week Cabaret of Monologues, with some interesting props. She is also in our short-list readings: 

What is your favourite play? MTC – Gone With The Wind
If you had one wish, what would it be? To Always be happy/content despite challenges in life.
Fun Fact: Cheryl works as an educational assistant

Brittany Thiessen's photo (3)Brittany Thiessen was seen last year in Empty. She is a recent U of W graduate and will be presenting a devised piece in our opening cabaret and performing in Harold and Vivian Entertain Guests:

What is your favourite play? This is a very difficult question! Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov.
What is your favourite word? “Yes.”
If you had one wish, what would it be? A paid trip to travel the world for a year!
Fun Fact: Here is how Brittany would introduce herself to a stranger: “If the stranger was from Winnipeg, I would tell them my name, ask for theirs, and find out how we already know each other.”

DSC_5887David Fox is currently playing Tommy in The WHO’s TOMMY at the Winnipeg Fringe and will be making his debut with Sarasvàti Productions in Harold and Vivian.

What is your favourite play? Fat Men in Skirts by Nicky SIlver
What is your favourite word? Frisky
If you had one wish, what would it be? To lead a long life as a professional actor.
Fun Fact: David is a member of the Oscar Wilde Memorial Society and Rainbow Pride Mosaic

Alissa Watson (3)Alissa Watson was also seen in Empty last year as well as having done a couple years of our cabaret of monologues. She will be coming back from performing The Anger of Ernest and Ernestine at the Edmonton Fringe to perform in Harold and Vivian:

What is your favourite play?  Currently:  The Anger in Ernest and Ernestine by Robert Morgan, Martha Ross and Leah Cherniak
What is your favourite word? Laughter
If you had one wish, what would it be? I’d wish that every person could have the capability and courage to follow their dreams.
Fun Fact: Alissa attended Brandon University, School of Music and majored in Classical Percussion

For more information on our artists, shows, and performers, visit www.femfest.ca

EDEN Rehearsal Blog – Hope McIntyre

First week of rehearsals are complete! It’s been an amazing start to the process. At the meet and greet the rehearsal hall was full, several tables surrounded by actors, designers and production team members. It is both rewarding and scary to think all these people are here because I wrote a play.

After a week workshop in January, I’ve been rewriting in whatever spare time I had with the excellent guidance of dramaturg Rick Chafe. His attention to detail is amazing, but he’s also been a great cheerleader – giving encouragement to keep me from feeling overwhelmed. Terrence McNally once said that writing is a supreme act of self-confidence. It does certainly take a lot of guts, particularly to keep working through the fog hoping that in the end things will be clear. Since November, the entire structure of the play has changed. It took a lot to let go of the former skin of the play. To find that balance between letting go of what is not working but to hold on to what I know deep down is vital to the story. Then at the reading on Tuesday to hear yet another completely reworked version and to hope that it works. You think it does but you listen to each word watching for reactions, hoping you’ve made it better not worse. The laughter, at the right spots, are so comforting. Then afterwards just a couple of script notes from Rick and director Sharon Bajer – much better than the pages and pages of notes from the previous months!

Terrence McNally also said you have to love your collaborators. What’s not to love about the great group we have! Not only are they talented artists but they care enough to really think about the piece, provide insights and ask really great questions. Plus they’re fun to be around! Even rehearsing over Easter weekend was made less of a chore when Andrea del Campo, who plays Evelyn, decided to organize an Easter egg hunt over lunch.

Director Sharon Bajer and actor Tracy Penner on lunch break

As a playwright watching director Sharon Bajer clarify each moment with the actors is so valuable. Her experience as an actor and playwright really feeds into her work as a director. She’s not even overwhelmed by the fact we have a lot of video to shoot for the play, Cree translation, technical challenges and a tight rehearsal schedule.

Paula Vogel recommends that the playwright not answer questions directly in the workshop and rehearsal process. Of course the actors keep asking them though. I work hard to listen and observe, to see what they get from the script before explaining anything. I’m much more interested in their choices and discoveries than in telling them what I intended. It’s the only way to find out if the script is off the mark.

Okay, yes, it has been an exhausting week with some final script massaging and tweaking. It meant having to ignore everything else for a while, but it is so exciting to see it coming to life! It is a joy to see the work of our amazing design team, to see the actors finding a way to deliver each moment so effectively and to also continue the investigation of the themes that propelled me to spend seven years working on this piece.

Check out the EDEN webpage for tickets and info.

Kevin Anderson as Ophidian in video by Jordan Popowich

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