Pine Tree ready with one-act play festival
Thursday, Feb 22, 2018 06:00 am
Once again, Pine Tree Players will offer something for everyone in its one-act play festival.
From comedy to drama and featuring actors young and less young, the one-act festival opens Wednesday (Feb. 28) with Pay What You Can night, then runs evenings on March 1, 2 and 3, with a matinee on March 4.
Included in the festival are: All By Myself, written by Robert Scott, directed by Iain Lock, with a cast of Marilu Adams, John Cherkas, Marianne Gagne Simard, Deb Nettesheim and Sherry Thompson. Home Is Where Your Dog Is, is written and directed by Doon Wilkins, featuring Marty Avery, Kaitlyn Hoover, Craig Lindsay, Jessica Summers and Jeremy White. In The Tank by Rosemary Frisino Toohey, directed by Janell Toews, with a cast of Morgan Lowry and Tyson Night. Scotch at Midnight by Jacqueline Donoghue, is directed by Elaine Smith and Elizabeth Green, with Cheryl McTrowe and Dave Brett.
“We try to select plays so we have about two hours of performance time,” said producer Jen Tweddell. “We have a bit of everything, genre-wise. All By Myself is a comedy, as well as Scotch at Midnight. In The Tank is funny, but a bit philosophical as well and Home is Where Your Dog Is is definitely a drama.”
The plays run from about 10 to 45 minutes, with two of them being originals.
“We encourage people to bring forth original material and work,” said Tweddell. “We produced Melanie DesRoches’ work in the past and Doon had originally started on Home Is Where Your Dog Is as a full-length play, but it wasn’t quite finished, so we encouraged him to make a one-act version and he did.
“Scotch at Midnight is also an original work and the author is a friend of director Elaine Smith’s from Calgary.”
Due to short timeframes with getting plays on and off the stage, sets will be minimal in all cases. Quick setup and takedown will also help when Pine Tree takes the one-act show on the road to High River for a festival there at the end of March for a regional competition.
“And for that competition, you have to be able to set up in 10 minutes and take down in five,” said Tweddell, “otherwise, you’re disqualified. It will be mostly a few props that will be brought on stage.”
In putting together the lineup of plays, directors made pitches of favourite plays to a selection committee, which eventually chose the four.
“And for the one-act plays, we try to bring in new talent or have existing members try new things,” said Tweddell. “So we have a few new directors, a few new actors; it’s a very accessible way to try something new.
“We’re also trying to provide more opportunities for youth actors. So one of the actors in In The Tank is 11 or 12 (Morgan Lowry). We probably have the greatest age range in this we’ve ever had; from a young man to our seniors in Scotch at Midnight. We’re excited about that.”
One of those new director/actor combinations can be found in All By Myself with Lock and Thompson. The play follows the lives of shipwrecked castaways.
“I read about 30 plays and I kept coming back to this one because just reading it, I was bursting out laughing,” said rookie PTP director Lock. Actors auditioned based on which play they wanted to perform in.
“We started the second week of January. Our set is just mixing a rock and a couple of other small bits and pieces because it’s meant to be beach debris.”
Recently, Lock appeared in PTP’s Noises Off, while in the past he’s been in one-acts and God of Carnage.
“It’s been going really well,” said Lock. “The concept of having four women and one guy sort of came out at the auditions and there were some really good auditions. I wondered if we put our women together with one guy, an angry guy and emotional women, if it would work well.”
For her part, it in All By Myself presents her first crack at acting since community theatre a few years ago. “I got interested in it since I came to Canmore to work about five years ago. But I never had the time to fit it in my schedule.
“It’s going well, there’s a lot of people and they’re very enthusiastic. I’ve enjoyed it so much I auditioned again and I’ll be in the next production too (I Hate Hamlet).”
Thompson said she’s pleased to get in on a comedic offering. “I prefer to make people laugh.”
Rehearsals have been going on since early in the new year. “It’s a big time commitment and they’ve put in a lot of hard work,” said Tweddell, “and that will show.
“We have 14 actors in total and that was one of the criteria for the selection committee. We wanted to have opportunities for lots of actors. And going to the festival offers lots of interaction for our actors with those in other communities and we can see what other organizations are doing. It’s a fun time.”