SYTYCA presents: Ron Paley

SYTYCA 2012 bannerSome of the celebrities participating in our 2nd annual So You Think You Can Act fundraiser are no strangers to performing in front of an audience! Just take veteran musician Ron Paley as an example! We are excited to see Ron on the stage in a new light, and we know you will be too! Even better Ron will be performing a scene from local playwright Rick Chafe’s hit play The Secret Mask, which premiered at PTE last year and has since gone on to productions in Ottawa and Vancouver. Local actor Tyhr Trubiak will join Ron on stage as a son trying to help the father who abandoned him recover from a stroke. All of this year’s scenes are about ‘Family Ties’ and will offer some familiar exploration of family dysfunction.

Ron Paley:

ronpaley - headshotPianist/bassist Ron Paley formed the Ron Paley Big Band in 1976 after playing bass with the big bands of Buddy Rich, and Woody Herman, with whom he recorded two CDs. His big band has performed in concert with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and toured with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet playing jazz arrangements of songs by Rogers and Hart for A Cinderella Story. They have recorded 3 CDs, the latest containing music for the big band musical Bring ‘Em Back!.

Can’t wait to see Ron perform? Neither can we! Better get your tickets while you still can (at www.sarasvati.ca)!

Advertisements

SYTYCA 2013 – Scene Announcement!

SYTYCA 2012 banner
An Elvis impersonator finding his long lost daughter, sibling rivalry, an absent father and a domineering mother; family conflict will be on display at the second annual So You Think You Can Act. With just over six weeks to go until our 2nd annual fundraising evening, we are pleased to announce the scenes to be featured with our stunning list of celebrities! For the uninitiated, So You Think You Can Act pairs local celebrities with theatre actors to perform short scenes, to be evaluated by a hilarious panel of judges! The winning pair will ultimately be decided by the audience – just like on the hit dancing competition show! This year’s theme is Family Ties and will feature some of the best and most prolific scenes in the Canadian canon.

  • Winnipeg personality Jon Ljungberg will be donning some mutton chops as an Elvis Presley impersonator in Sharon Bajer’s Burnin’ Love.
  • Olympic bronze medalist Desiree Scott will be playing out sibling rivalry in Norm Foster’s hilarious Maggie’s Getting Married. Foster is one of Canada’s most performed playwrights.
  • CBC morning host Marcy Markusa will be tackling the dowdy daughter in Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County, which was a huge hit when it ran at RMTC Warehouse last season.
  • For something a bit darker and edgier Jenna Khan of Breakfast Television fame will tackle George F. Walker’s Risk Everything.
  • A scene from local playwright Rick Chafe’s hit play The Secret Mask will be performed by Ron Paley of Ron Paley’s Big Band. The play ran to raves at PTE last year and this season was picked up for productions in Ottawa and Vancouver.
  • Another local playwright Brian Drader will have a scene from his piece The Norbals performed by World Champion curler Jeff Stoughton.
  • Kerri Salki of Clear 102.3 will be performing a scene from Daniel MacIvor’s Marion Bridge, another Canadian favourite.

So You Think You Can Act: Family Ties takes place on February 20, 2013 at the Gas Station Arts Centre. Tickets are $25 and include a wine reception. Get them while they’re hot @ www.sarasvati.ca!

SYTYCA 2013 Photo Collage2 copy

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