EDEN Feature – Ti Hallas

Ti Hallas had the chance to travel to Australia this month, but instead chose to stay in Winnipeg in order to perform in EDEN. She plays Stacy, the Minister of Labour, who is forced to question her life choices. Here are her responses to our questionnaire:

1. What is one thing every actor needs to know? It’s not about you.

2. What does every great story have to have? Guts.

3. What is your favourite word?  I love words. Today my favourite is smooch.

4. If I could grant you a single wish, what would it be? A compassionate planet.

Complete the sentences:

5. If I wasn’t typing this email interview right now, I would be… on my way to Australia.

6. The most surprising thing that happened to me was… moving back to Winnipeg.

7. A common misconception of me is… that I don’t like to party. I do!

8. You know me as a actor but in truer life I’d have been… Jane Goodall II.

Ti Hallas as Stacy in EDEN; photo by Janet Shum

Ti co-founded Chinook Theatre which toured throughout western Canada and produced Canada’s first Fringe Theatre Festival in Edmonton. During her 10 years with Chinook, Ti was actor, director, playwright, stage-manager, tour-coordinator and General Manager. Ti has worked in television as actor, narrator, host and broadcast journalist, for the NFB, the CBC, and the Alberta Access Network, for CBC radio, and in numerous industrial films. She has documentary and docudrama writing credits.   She holds professional teaching certificates for three provinces and has taught Acting, Dance and Voice at various institutions including Grant MacEwan and Laurentian Universities.   Since returning to Winnipeg Ti has performed in AlbeeFest, TremblayFest, and FemFest, toured with Green Kids and performed in several independent film productions, commercials and fundraisers. She is a longstanding member of CAEA and ACTRA, has served as Councilor for ACTRA MB for 8 years and sits on the Community Outreach Committee for PAL Winnipeg.

EDEN Log – Week 3

EDEN Playwright’s Log – Hope McIntyre

Yesterday we moved out of the rehearsal hall! Monday we load in to the theatre and we open on Friday. Hard to believe how quickly the time is going. We have an intensive four days of tech coming up but it is exciting to see it take shape. Tracy Penner, our fabulous Delilah in the play, said to me yesterday “your baby is almost done.” After so many years of working on the piece it does feel very much like I’ve created something very personal, although I can’t compare it to a human child, it will be a very special thing to share it with the world as well as being extremely nerve-wracking. At the same time it won’t ever feel like it is complete. I’m sure there will be adjustments after seeing it before an audience and hopefully with publication and second production…

Andrea del Campo and Tracy Penner in EDEN; photo by Janet Shum

This week was a mix of run-throughs of the play, working sections that needed cleaning up, costume fittings and final videotaping. The actors have made huge leaps thanks to director Sharon Bajer. It was great to have Wab Kinew take on the role of Eduardo, a character who appears on video at a key moment in the play. Our tech genius, Chris Coyne, also brought cameras in so the actors could start playing around with the live video feed. It looks really cool and really helps capture the world of the play. A key idea in the play is the power that comes with the control of the air waves.

Music was also starting to be integrated by yesterday and it adds a whole other element to the play. It will be amazing to see it on stage and the lighting design by Dean Cowieson will certainly add a great deal to Kim Griffin’s stark set design. After seeing what great work Jordan Popowich did with the promo video, I can’t wait to see the video sequences he has created for the play. There are some pretty crazy dream sequences that I haven’t seen yet!

It’s also really neat to see how Ali Fulmyk, our props coordinator extraordinaire has dealt with some of the challenges like a video camera that gets smashed to the ground in every performance. Not to mention military uniforms, quick changes and an array of dirtied-up clothes that our costume designer, Kelsey Noren, has had to deal with.

Of course the week before opening also means ramping up with media coverage and promotions. Our administrator, Robyn Pooley, has been very busy in the office working on all of this. Actor Andrea del Campo was on both CKUW’s Say It Sista and Eat Your Arts and Vegetables last Thursday. Marsha Knight will be on the NCI morning show on Tuesday and we hope to have a wide array of media out to our media call on April 25th.

Marsha Knight and Ti Hallas in EDEN; photo by Janet Shum

I’m starting to feel like the host of a party, hoping lots of people will show up. Winnipeg is so great, but there is always lots going on. I can’t wait to share the play and mostly the great work all of these artists have been doing. Hopefully everyone can make it out!

For performance dates and tickets check out the EDEN web page.

EDEN Log – Week 2

EDEN Playwright’s Log – Hope McIntyre

We’ve just finished the second week of rehearsals and wrapped it up with a first stumble-through of the play. It’s wonderful to see the play take shape in a first run and get a real sense of how it all fits together. The actors get a real feeling for their character’s through-line and the designers get a clear sense of technical needs. This show does certainly have its technical challenges with both recorded video and live video feed. There is a camera on stage that will project live footage but also an actor offstage who has video conversations with characters on stage. This all means balancing the rehearsal time with working the live action and shooting video footage. It’s amazing though to picture what it will be like when it all comes together!

Kevin P. Gabel as Adam and Andrea del Campo as Ev; Photo by Janet Shum

As things continue to progress beautifully in the rehearsal hall, I am still hit by things outside that echo the world of the play. For example, last Saturday when I was reading the paper I came across an article about refugees fleeing Syria who are using video to prove the government is massacring citizens (http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/world/syrian-refugees-bring-tales-of-horror-146514835.html). There were some lines that seemed to have come straight from the script for EDEN. This relevancy of the piece is sad. When writing the script I was really projecting forward to explore what would happen if a culture of fear continued to dominate, a culture where those who are different or disagree are branded terrorists and sanctioned. Unfortunately, with the global situation we don’t have to project forward to see the extremes in the play. In fact the research the team has been doing has found many historical examples that echo the play.

Throughout the rehearsals, director Sharon Bajer, and the cast have been drawing on many sources. In fact Sharon has been consistently referencing 24 with Keifer Sutherland. There is a character in the play very similar to Jack Bauer, except Jack Bauer is seen as a hero. It will be interesting to see if the audience sees George, played by Tom Soares, to be justifiable in his interrogation techniques. Some of the cast also recently saw The Hunger Games and found many parallels. But again, real life trumps fiction as Ti Hallas who is playing the Minister of Labour, Stacy, was intrigued by reports that our current Minister of Labour Lisa Raitt allegedly asked the RCMP to “arrest these animals” after Air Canada workers slow clapped and sarcastically said “Oh, great job” to her as she walked through Lester B. Pearson Airport on March 22nd. Of course there have been two sides to this story but it all feeds in to what EDEN is exploring – an ‘us and them’ mentality with two versions of the truth.

With such a great group of actors, there were even moments of goose bumps for those of us watching the run yesterday. It’s hard to brag about my own writing but I feel okay saying that the performances will be amazing and the direction has truly brought the script to life. I also was so pleased with having the involvement of grass dancer Wayne Ruby. We shot video of him on Tuesday and he is truly a wonderful dancer and a very special person. I was so impressed with his dedication to the traditions he has chosen to carry forward. He does Pow-Wow Clubs for youth every night of the week at different places in Winnipeg. He is such an important role model to them. Also this week actor Marsha Knight met with our translator and coach to work on the Cree chants in the play. We’ve been pleased to have the support of so many associations and community groups. All of these elements mean there is a lot to keep on top of but they truly make the play into a very special event.

Marsha Knight as Essa; Photo by Janet Shum

The rehearsal hall is also such a positive and creative environment. The apple pie, cookies, Tim bits and chocolates people keep bringing in surely help!

Hard to believe there is less than two weeks until opening – more info and tickets on the EDEN webpage.