Newsletter June 2016

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Congratulations to Theatre Sarnia

Theatre Sarnia represented WODL at the Theatre Ontatio Festival.

Way to go Theatre Sarnia!

  • Audrey Hummelen, Outstanding Performance by a Female
  • Andrea Hughes, Outstanding Performance by a Female in a Supporting Role
  • Dan Sonier, Special Adjudicator Award "The Theme and Variation Award"
Honourable Mentions
  • Henri Canino, Outstanding Director
  • Darryl Heater, Outstanding Performance by a Male in a Supporting Role
  • Alexandra Weselaken, Outstanding Technical Achievement
Theatre Ontario Festival 2016 - North Bay - Awards

Theatre Ontario Festival Awards are presented to Ontario's best community theatre productions, showcased at the annual  Theatre Ontario Festival.


Award winners and nominees are chosen by adjudicator Mimi Mekler (unless otherwise specified).

  • Boeing Boeing, Northumberland Players
Honourable Mention
  • The Drowning Girls, The Curtain Club

Outstanding Director
  • Joan Burrows, The Drowning Girls
Honourable Mentions
  • James Finan, Boeing Boeing
  • Henri Canino, 33 Variations

Outstanding Performance by a Female
  • Audrey Hummelen as Dr. Katherine Brandt, 33 Variations
Honourable Mentions
  • Patsy McVicars as Wavy, Curved
  • Tanya Webb as Del, Curved

Outstanding Performance by a Male
  • Jamie Hunt as Robert, Boeing Boeing

Outstanding Performance by a Male in a Supporting Role
  • David Hoare as Bernard, Boeing Boeing
Honourable Mention
  • Darryl Heater as Mike Clark, 33 Variations

Outstanding Performance by a Female in a Supporting Role
  • Andrea Hughes Coleman as Dr. Gertie Ladenburger, 33 Variations
Honourable Mention
  • Johanna McPherson as Chloe, Curved

Outstanding Visual Presentation
  • Boeing Boeing: James Finan, Set Designer; Ken & Jody Forsyth, Set Décor; Joe & Diana Flynn, Properties; Jamie Finan, Costume Designer; Mary Smith & Melissa Thornton, Make-up & Hair
Honourable Mentions
  • Curved: Arndt Vonholtzendorff, Set Designer
  • The Drowning Girls: Wayne Milliner, Set Designer; Mark Hayward, Lighting Designer

Outstanding Technical Achievement
  • The Drowning Girls: John Willcock, Master Plumber
Honourable Mention
  • 33 VariationsAlexandra Weselaken, Projection Design

Outstanding Coordinated Production
(This award is chosen by the Festival Stage Manager)
  • Northumberland Players

Special Adjudicator Award For Outstanding Ensemble
  • Tamara Van Bakel as Bessie, Nicole Wahl as Alice & Shelly Meichenbaum as Margaret, The Drowning Girls

Special Adjudicator Award: "The Cherry on Top Award" for that special something in a curtain call
  • Alina Adjemian, choreographer,Boeing Boeing

Special Adjudicator Award: 
"The Taboo Award" - For openness in dealing with difficult subjects
  • The cast:  Johanna McPherson as Chloe, Tanya Webb as Del, Joanne Bernier as Estelle, June Keevil as Granny Wave, Stephanie Haines as Nurse & Patsy McVicars as Wavy, Curved

Special Adjudicator Award: "The Theme and Variation Award"
  • Dan Sonier, the pianist, 33 Variations

Special Adjudicator Award: "The 3 Cs Award" - For Creativity, Commitment and Comedy
  • Kristy Bird as Gloria, Helen Pitt Matthew as Berthe, Jody Ledgerwood as Gabriella & Anne-Marie Bouthillette as Gretchen, Boeing Boeing
For more information about the Theatre Ontario Festival 2016 Awards, please contact  Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager at brandon@theatreontario.org or 416.408.4556 x.13.
By Brandon Moore, Community Theatre and Communications Manager, Theatre Ontario
Highlights of the detailed adjudication by Mimi Mekler of Theatre Sarnia's production of 33 Variations by Moisés Kaufman (representing the Western Ontario Drama League-WODL)
  • Director's research process began two years ago; actor handled research of ALS; learned that even research can lead astray (pronunciation correction that came up following their performance in WODL Festival); virtual tours of the places described.
  • Gertie's German accent involved Skyping with a friend in Germany.
  • Conversation with actors around their goals, objectives, tactics for each character.
  • Is assisted death legal in Germany? If so, why not in the hospital? Company believed character would want it at home.
  • Used projections as required in script; established pre-show with the title of the play and single light on the piano.
  • Opening moment: the pianist behaving as if starting a concert.
  • Good choice in set design to use piano benches as furniture.
  • First audience laugh in the opening scene-line helps us recognize the character and go with her.
  • Diabelli's costume-Could it have told us more about his personality, beyond shabby and worn (needs money), evolves as his status grows.
  • What is the status between Schindler and Diabelli; Diabelli is lower status, trying to grow his company.
  • Katherine was well blocked in the negotiation scene between Diabelli and Schindler: demonstrating she is "immersed" in her work.
  • Brought great clarity of choice to Katherine-there is no other possibility for her than work.
  • The next Diabelli / Schindler scene had a lot of presentational blocking.
  • Mike and Clara at the tech support office: Find ways to "turn up the heat" in this scene between them. Why does she kiss him? A thank-you for a break in the stress of being a caregiver. When we're feeling stressed, the moment that makes us cry is when someone is nice to us. Explore these significant moments.
  • Beethoven's hair-he walked on stage and got a laugh, which was not the intention. Went to a place of caricature. They realized at performance that it was bigger than it had ever been before.
  • Found ways to use projection scenes when not projecting by showing images of windows.
  • Gertie's initial costume made her seem dowdy, but the remainder of costumes were successful.
  • Projection of the archives room was challenging: hard to convey size of the room on the smaller screens.
  • One folio was small and hard to read in projection; may have benefitted from giving up realism.
  • Strong balance of sound, awareness of music.
  • Mike's tie for the date was a great choice of costuming: he got dressed up, but he clearly has odd taste in clothes.
  • Find ways to bring specificity and focus to the stakes in a scene: Example was the "When will it be ready?" scene between Beethoven, Diabelli, Schindler.
  • Excellent projection at train station; nice intimate bench as set piece to physically force Katherine and Gertie together; great clarity between the two.
  • Disco music-Did they try keeping it going? Experimented at rehearsal but decided to keep it like the other sound cues. The pounding music does reinforce Mike and  Clara's relationship, similar to the way Beethoven's music does.
  • X-ray scene was extremely tasteful: brief flashes of light gave us impressions, sound cues were percussive, with actor's breath over top of it; moment ends with Katherine leaning on Beethoven's back.
  • Blocking of finale of Act One: Choice made between options of realism vs stylized; carefully choreographed.
  • The walker brought colour onto the stage; fortunate that it fit the colour scheme.
  • Opening monologue-Mike and Clara were not frozen (which had previously been convention), drew focus.
  • Well-executed comedy: humour is not in the line, but in the reaction to the line.
  • Beethoven's hair-Was it possible for the greying to layer over time? No, given backstage logistics, actor's own hair.
  • Schindler's active listening while Katherine is discovering the lies in his biography, example of how you can own a moment without having dialogue.
  • Cafeteria scene was extremely well-blocked with straight line, order of characters.
  • Beethoven wandering while composing-Director wanted him to take up the full-stage; the fugue as struggle in all spaces. Did they ever try the monologue in stillness, with the full stage lx eventually reducing itself to a spotlight? Did his movement convey to us anything we didn't already know.
  • Clarity of Gertie's accent was excellent-carried through to the final words of sentences. Emotionally she is withdrawing, theatrically she must keep going.
  • The stakes of the Katherine/Gertie friendship falling apart were high and well-played.
  • Wonderful directorial choice of the wheelchair dance, which was not written into the script.
  • Kyrie was lovely to hear-strong vocal range by the cast.
  • Great contrast of Katherine playing the opposites in the subsequent hallucination scene.
  • Chose not to use the German pronunciation of Beethoven to keep it simple for the audience.
  • The cuddle between Katherine and Clara in the bed was a wonderful, active choice.
  • Minuet steps were historically accurate.
  • Vocal warm-ups included singing Kyrie on piano; had homework and exercises to find their own.
  • Props creation involved significant detail, and read well.
As always, this is my best effort to record the conversation at the Detailed Adjudication, with a standard apology for any misrepresentations of the ideas of the adjudicator and the members of the company. 

You can read the summaries of the adjudications for the other plays here.
WODL has a new Theatre Ontario Liaison
Linda Lloyd-McKenzie, sponsored by WODL, has been elected to the Board of Directors of Theatre Ontario. Linda replaces Mark Mooney as WODL's Theatre Ontario liaison. She is also joining the WODL Board.

Linda Lloyd-McKenzie, (Brantford): Although her parents would state she always had a flair for the dramatic, Linda had only acted a few times in school and had never gotten involved as an adult.

It therefore came as a surprise to her that what started as minor involvement with her daughter in a children's play awakened a passion in her that has blossomed into nearly a decade of acting, directing and producing community theatre in and around Brant County.

Linda strives to promote theatre and the arts in general and holds memberships with several local cultural groups. She helped establish the Youth Theatre Program and Summer Youth Camps for Paris Performers' Theatre in Paris, Ontario where she is the Artistic Director.

She has worked on various community theatre boards, and is currently the Secretary of Stage 88 Brantford. Linda resides in Brantford and is supported in her passions by her husband, Dan and their two children, James and Elizabeth.
WODL Festival 2017 - Guelph
Dennis Johnson, Chair WODL Festival 2016

The word SESQUICENTENNIAL is still in use, but not by the Canadian Federal Government. Check out the official logo (above) and you'll see we are celebrating "Canada 150" in 2017. The logo and funding program by Heritage Canada were put in place by the previous government, so there is nobody around to blame for the design and code name.

Hmmm.  What should we do?  In 2017, will our WODL festival celebrate Canada's Sesquicentennial?  Or "Canada 150" (good for a bilingual festival if we had one)?  Or "150 years of theatre in Canada" (not necessarily Canadian theatre).

Hmmm.  Let's table this question and play a trivia game!
What do the following have in common ?
  • WAITING FOR GUFFMAN, the hilarious film about community theatre written by Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy.
  • MOUNT RUSHMORE (the mountain, not the film).
  • Liberty's right arm and the torch from THE STATUE OF LIBERTY.
  • THE PEACE TOWER in Ottawa.
Give up?  They are all connected to anniversary celebrations with numbers attached.
  • Waiting for Guffman is set in a small town in Missouri, which is celebrating its SESQUICENTENNIAL by staging a pageant about its history. The creators think it's good enough for Broadway (of course) and Guffman is the Broadway producer who (of course) never shows up.
  • Mount Rushmore - the sculpture - received initial federal funding from the U.S. Congress, as a SESQUICENTENNIAL project, celebrating 150 years from 1776 to 1926. President Calvin Coolidge spent his summers fishing in South Dakota and was won over to the idea by local politicians. Washington's face was not completed until 1934. The sculpting was ended - unfinished - at the start of World War II.
  • The Statue of Liberty was intended as a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States in 1876 for the CENTENNIAL of the American Declaration of Independence. One arm and the torch were displayed at the Philadelphia World's Fair in 1876 but it took another 10 years to raise the money for the complete installation in New York harbor.
  • 1917 would have been the SEMI-CENTENNIAL of Confederation (50 years), but Canadians were busy winning battles at Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele that year.  Besides, the Parliament Buildings had burned down in 1916. So Canada waited until 1927 to celebrate the SEXAGENNIAL of Confederation (60 years). The central clock tower of the new Parliament Building was named The Tower of Victory and Peace. Have your cake and eat it too.
  • Gustave Eiffel designed the observation tower named for him, which was built at the entrance to the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris, celebrating the CENTENNIAL of the French Revolution.  He also designed the interior iron structure of the Statue of Liberty.
  • George Washington Ferris designed a moving observation wheel with 36 passenger cars attached, based on the design of a giant bicycle wheel. It debuted at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago (1892-1893) celebrating the QUADRICENTENNIAL of Christopher Columbus arriving in America.
Perhaps we should call our festival the "sexagennial" just for fun. Nobody will know what it means. But they WILL know what they WANT it to mean.
WODL Annual General Meeting

The AGM of WODL takes place in Elmira on Sunday 24 July at 11:00 am.

We need as many people to come along to this as possible.
News from Around the WODL Region

This is a potpourri of news from the groups that belong to WODL. I must thank all the Area VPs as I have looted their reports for this information.

Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk Region

Paris Performers Theatre

Next season Paris will be producing
  • The Heiress, by R. & G. Goetz. November, 18th. - 27th.
  • Harvest, by Ken Cameron, February, 17th. - 26th.
  • Suburban Standoff, by Michael Grant. May, 19th. -28th.
They sell a 3 show season subscription for only $45.
PPT will be holding a "Voice for the Stage" workshop, Saturday, July 16th. From 10am. - 4:00pm.

Also a "Directing" workshop Saturday, August 13th. From 10:00am - 4:00pm.

Both workshops at their home base at The Paris Fairgrounds. Workshop leader Marion J. Smith.
After running a successful youth winter programme Paris now has a Youth Summer Camp for ages 8-13. July, 11th. - 22nd. Cost $260.
Due to eager enrollment in the youth workshops they are planning a fall programme.

Simcoe Little Theatre

They will be staging 39 Steps,  from June 10-12th. 

Elgin-Middlesex-Perth Region

Elgin Theatre Guild

2016-2017 Playbill:
  • Ned Durango (September 22nd - October 2nd, 2015)
    Auditions occurred in late May
  • Alice in Wonderland (December 1st - December 11th, 2016)
  • Caught in the Net (February 23rd - March 5th, 2017)
  • Run Father Run (April 27th - May 7th, 2017) 

London Community Players

Palace Theatre Main Stage:
  • Prelude to Kiss (September 29 - October 9, 2016)
  • La Ronde (October 27 - November 6, 2016)
  • The Secret Garden, A Musical (December 1-11, 2016)
  • Jenny's House of Joy (January 12 - 22, 2017)
  • A Raisin in the Sun (February 9 - 19, 2017)
  • Twelfth Night (May 11-21, 2017)
Procunier Hall (Palace Theatre):
  • The Weir (July 6 -16, 2016)
St. Marys Community Players

  • Steel Magnolias (Fall 2016)

Essex-Lambton-Kent Region

Theatre Sarnia

Congratulations on the beginning of their 90th season. They will present Rock of Ages, Beauty and the Beast, Willow Quartet, The 39 Steps and Oliver.

Theatre Ensemble

Their next production is Skin Flick by Norm Foster May 26-29 and June 2-6.-- 

Theatre Kent

Theatre Kent will be holding auditions this coming week for Anne of Green Gables The Musical which will be the first production in the 2016-2017 season.

Sun Parlour Players

Their next event will be the Queen's Breakfast on June 11th. 
They will also be holding auditions for On Golden Pond June 12th from 1 to 5PM.

Lincoln-Wentworth Region

Many members of theatre groups in this area are involved in the Hamilton Fringe Festival which runs from July 14 to July 24.

Binbrook Little Theatre

Binbrook will be opening their 2016/17 season with The Day  they Kidnapped the Pope, a comedy by Joao Bethencourt . Auditions have taken place. The show runs Oct 14, 15, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29 - 2016.  They currently do not have their fall play announced.

Peninsula Players

2016/17 season for The Peninsula Players starts with Neil Simon's Jake's Women, auditions are schedule for June 8 & 9.  The show opens in fall, dates to follow. Again their spring show has still to be announced.

Players Guild Of Hamilton

Well, the Guild's 2016/17 season opens with Trying by Joanna McClelland Glass, followed  by  To Kill a Mockingbird  by Christopher Sergel from the book by Harper Lee, It's Only a Play by Terrence McNally,  The Second Life  by Tottering Biped Theatre and to close, Closer Than Ever Lyrics   by Richard Maltby, Jr.  Music by David Shire

Theatre Burlington

And for a truly Sesquicentennial season Theatre Burlington will be presenting three Canadian comedies. They open with Mending Fences by Norm Foster September 16-17 23-24  29-30-Oct 1. This is  followed by Papers by Allan Stratton February 3-4-5* 10-11-12* 16-17-18  2017. This will be their entry into WODL Festival. And to close the season, Return Engagement by Bernard Slade, April 14-15 21-22 27-28-29  2017. Oh, and if that's not enough Canadian content for you, their annual children's play will be Cinderella by Vic Hyde.

Oxford Region

Ingersoll Theatre of the Performing Arts             
  • The Odd Couple (women's version) opens on June 17 for a 2-week run.
  • The 40-year celebration was held on May 14 and a good time was had by all.
  • The November show is M*A*S*H*.
Theatre Woodstock
The 2016/17 season is:
  • October: Sitting Pretty
  • Nov/Dec: It's a Wonderful Life
  • February: The Black Bonspiel of Wullie Macrimmon
  • Mar/Apr: The Willow Quartet
  • May: The Drowsy Chaperone (by the Theatre Woodstock Youth)
Theatre Tillsonburg
  • Our original WWI musical Keep the Homefires Burning closes June 5.
  • Summer camp continues to be a huge hit with strong registration.
  • We participated in Open Doors Oxford and showed off our backstage facilities to the public.
  • We are very excited to be moving to an online ticket sales system for September 2016!
Thistle Theatre
  • The November show is The Nerd.
  • In the Spring of 2017 Ed Williams will be directing Strangers Among us by Aaron Bushkowski.
  • Queen Milli of Galt directed by Harold Arbuckle will be the November 2017 show.
  • 2018: Brigadoon. 

Waterloo-Wellington Region

Cambridge Community Players

  • The playbill for the 2016/2017 season is as follows: The Games Afoot, by Ken Ludwig, directed by Patsy McCleery Sept 16, 17, 23,24,25,30, Oct. 1; A Dickens Christmas Carol by Mark Landon Smith, directed by Steve Robinson Nov 25,26,Dec 2,3,4,9,10; Albertine in Five Times by Michel Tremblay, directed by Robin Bennett Jan 27,28, Feb 3,4,10,11; Don't Dress for Dinner by Marc Camoletti, directed by John Edwards March 24,25,31 April 1, 7,8
  • AGM will be held June 22 at 7:30 pm in the green room

Elmira Theatre Company

  • ETC has announced their playbill for next season and it is an All Canadian Season. Next year the playbill will be reduced from 4 shows to 3 shows and dinner theatre will be offered at both the fall and spring performances. The 2016/17 playbill is the following: Buying the Moose by Michael G. Wilmot, directed by Deb Deckert; In-festival entry will be Outlaw by Norm Foster directed by Thom Smith and the spring show will be Staff Room by Joan Burrows directed by Denise Gismondi.
  • Auditions for Buying the Moose will be held June 20-21at the theatre.
  • Year end June dinner and awards banquet will be held June 18 at the theatre.
Elora Community Theatre

  • Shakespeare in the Park at Bissel Park will take place in July and August. Much Ado About Nothing is directed by Deb Stanson and David Tanner and will take place July 15-17, 22-24 and The Tempest directed by Denise Gismondi will take place Aug 26-28, Sept 2-4 pm
  • Next year's season has been announced: Christmas Cabaret will be held on Dec. 17, 2016. The regular season will be the following: It's a Wonderful Life, directed by Deb Stanson Nov. 4-13, 2016; The Sting, directed by Jim Monaghan Feb 24-26 & March 3-5, 2017 and finally Alice in Wonderland, directed by Jennifer Zirk May 5-15, 2017
  • Auditions for A Wonderful Life will take place June 20 & 21 at 7:00 pm at the Rehearsal Space 
Guelph Little Theatre

  • The season ends with PS Your Cat is Dead by James Kirkwood, directed by Gerry Butts. This play opens May 27 and closes June 11.
  • Acting Workshop Series with Robin Bennett will be held May 28 & June 4 at the theatre
Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre

  • The 2015/16 season closes with the musical Hair directed by Colleen Matthews which opens June 9 and closes June 25.
  • Next year's season was launched as a "trailer" and can be found on the website. Check it out it's quite clever. The season is as follows: Lucky Stiff by Lynn Ahrens, music by Stephen Flaherty runs Sept 22-Oct 8 and is directed by Elizabeth McFaul. Scrooge Macbeth by David MacGregor is directed by Carolyn Galvin and runs from Nov 17- Dec. 3. Festival entry will be Lion in the Streets by Judith Thompson and directed by Erin Birdsell and runs Jan 26 until Feb 11, 2017. The 4th play of the season is called Immigration Acts. Each act is a different play. One Officers Experiences by Joe Mahoney and Arthur J. Vaugh and the second act is The Komagat Maru Incident by Sharon Pollock. Both plays are directed by Diana Lobb and run April 13-29. The season closes with Legally Blonde: The Musical book by Heather Hach, music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin, directed by Rebecca Petricevic and runs from June 8 to June 24
  • AGM will be held at the theatre June 28 at 7:30 pm with a BBQ starting at 6:00 pm
  • The company is looking for board members, apply through the website
  • Auditions for Lucky Stiff take place July 4-6 at the theatre
  • Popcorn Plays take place July 14-16, 21-23. This is a free workshop where participants have a taste of what it's like to be involved in a theatre production.
Canadian Play Map of Canada

Each month the Playwrights Guild of Canada publishes a map showing which Canadian plays are being produced and where. To see the map for June  click here.
ONstage Theatre Listings

Theatre Ontario publishes an online list of current and upcoming productions by its member groups. To see what is on  click here.
Is your WODL Membership Information Up-to-date?

Are you on the board of a theatre group that belongs to WODL? If your group has:
  • A new President
  • New WODL delegates
  • A new Treasurer
Please let our membership chair, Sue Perkins, know at  membership@wodl.on.ca
Dates for your Diary

24 July 2016 - 11:00 am WODL AGM, Elmira

7 to 13 August 2016 Theatre Ontario Summer Theatre Intensive

13 to 18 March 2017 WODL Festival 2017, Guelph

May 2017 Theatre Ontario Festival 2017, Ottawa
This newsletter was prepared by:  

Tricia Ward
Communications Coordinator

Western Ontario Drama League | communications@wodl.on.ca | http://www.wodl.on.ca