By John Swartz
There are two plays to discuss. We go a year with nothing, and then all of a sudden we have to consult calendars to work them in.
First, Mariposa Arts Theatre begins a 2 week run on August 25 of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. They’re doing it outdoors at the Leacock Museum, which presented director Randy White with opportunities to do something different with the play.
“We decided to set the play in the first years of the Leacock House,” said Randy. “The world we’re in is the roaring 20s, just as the depression is about to hit.”
The runtime of the play has also been trimmed to about 2 hours. If one is going to do some editing and change the setting, one might as well localize it too.
“There’s some sort of sly, subtle references to the Leacock house, but we haven’t changed any of the references in the script, it’s more like winks and nods about the world that we are in.”
White is taking advantage of the stage he’s been given.
“We’re doing it a way that we are using the grounds, the lake and also the façade of the house and the balcony, so it’s all over the whole grounds. It’s really fun.”
The cast includes some familiar faces, and some new ones imported from Barrie.
“They are a tremendous cast, a really great group of people.”
Speaking of imports, some regular MAT patrons and readers of this drivel night be thinking, “I’ve never heard of a Randy White associated with MAT,” and you would be correct. Randy is not a permanent resident, but he is a frequent flyer. Like one or two other folks around here, he married into the situation. His wife, Ellen MacKay, comes from a long line of the Orillia branch of MacKay’s.
“Her entire family is from Orillia. Her great-grandparents have been here for multiple generations, so we have spent an inordinate amount of time in Orillia. Last summer we were here for a big chunk of time because of the COVID situation. This summer I knew we were going to be back here again for a chunk of time and when a friend mentioned that MAT was looking for somebody to talk to about a Shakespeare play, I said, “Oh that sounds interesting.” Once I found out it was going to be at the Leacock house, I thought, “This could be really great.””
MAT being a community company, will use people in key spots even though those people might not have a history with MAT, but it’s not like anyone can pick up the phone and get a gig directing without some kind of experience.
Randy is from New Brunswick and met Ellen 30 years ago while both were at Mount Allison University. He went to Alberta to continue his education (it used to be a thing) and she went to Columbia University in New York City. He got tired of the distance and followed.
“I was very fortunate in New York I met some folks and got on The Lion King prior to it opening,” said Randy, who spent a year on the production as resident director. If you’re going to start something, why not at the top. From there, they moved to Indiana (more education) and Randy started a theater company there. Ten years later they are in Chicago and Randy is still doing theater.
“I started a children’s theater (Young People’s Theatre of Lincoln Park in Chicago). We just started it and then COVID hit,” Randy said.
He’s probably lucky the in-laws aren’t from Pefferlaw, or something like that, and he has access to one of the most professionally run community theaters in Ontario.
“They are very impressive. Orillia is very lucky to have that company. The number of people who are volunteering on this project the hours and hours, it’s crazy,” He’s also lucky to have one of our best musicians, Neil Barlow, as his music director.
“I feel really blessed in this time of COVID, with my family here, to have this opportunity to do this show with an amazing group of people, I am really delighted and thrilled to be part of it. The shows going to be really fun and I think you’re going to like it.”
You can get tickets online. There are only 50 tickets available for each performance, and there are many different showtimes and matinees. – and you need to bring your own lawn chair.
This is Norm Foster’s take on relationships that are one sided. Bud (Brian Young), a salesman, and Molly (Melanie Janzen), wife of his recently deceased former boss are our subjects.
Have you ever had one of those things where someone won’t give you the time of day, while you are hoping for a lifetime of bliss. This is Bud and Molly. He became instantly infatuated 30 years prior, had a few conversations with Molly, and then nothing until the funeral. “She Doesn’t even know I’m alive,” comes to
Foster’s script is a character study. Bud says and does all the wrong things (like asking for at date at graveside), and she can’t remember a thing about him – despite, as we, see, some interesting and memorable encounters in the past. Those are the kind that a few trigger words should have brought some kind of recognition, but she is so not connected to the things she is involved in she can’t remember a thing about him.
The humour comes from his bumbling attempts to light green wood on fire. She’s not doing anything to be mean, but as with some people of money, her days don’t get save from memory to hard disk. Throughout most of the runtime she is not interested, so she says, in starting anything new, and even calls the police when Bud shows up in the middle of the night.
Foster doesn’t usually write bad plays, and for all but two pages of script he hasn’t here. Because it’s Foster, you know it’s going to end on a happy note, Molly having a change of perspective. She does, but it all comes in the last couple pages and is so rushed it really didn’t make sense to me. Foster’s genius has always been to take the things we are all familiar with and twist them just a little bit to make us laugh, while staying in the realm of believability. Molly’s 180 attitude adjustment is so not like anything anyone in real life could imagine, and if true, one of the things many men find so frustrating about women. What Foster has done is give us the biggest example of stringing along in a nonchalance way imaginable. It seems her plan was, “maybe if I don’t let him know I’m paying any kind of attention, he’ll stay,” which is kind of a weird way to start a relationship.
Old Love runs at the Opera House to September 3 and you can get tickets online. Take note, the bar is not open, but you can bring in a coffee.
Lance Anderson and his band of incredibly talented musicians are playing the Opera House Sunday evening. Matchedash Parish isn’t exactly twelve drummers drumming, but they can play the tune in a way you’ve never heard before – and you will like it – partly because the band has two drummers and a percussionist.
For example, go to their Youtube page and listen to their take on Lady Madonna to see what I mean. Or go to the concert and catch their version of Gimme Some Lovin.
Mackenzie Jordan can’t make the gig, because he’s expecting, or his partner is, a baby. Wayne Deadder is filling in. the only other lineup change from their last appearance in Orillia at the Mariposa Folk Festival in 2018 is best brother-in-law, Russ Boswell, will be playing bass. Mariposa is producing this gig too.
Lance told me they’ll play about 3/4s of their album, Saturday Night, two new tunes, and Lance told me he’d have to kill me if he told me about another tune and then said it’s the Spencer Davis Group tune mentioned above, so I should be having some difficulties right about now finishing this column.
Lance also has another band, or several other bands, and one of them is Every Day People (if you guessed they cover Sly and the Family Stone, move up a row). Hugh’s Room’s online live-to-bits concerts has this band streaming for 48 hours starting at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Get tickets to watch here. Earlier in the month Hugh’s Room streamed Lance’s The Last Waltz.
Glen Robertson has been recording some music. He’s got an album’s worth of new stuff on his Youtube channel to listen to. It starts with Mel and Ina, which kind of sounds like a throwback to the Rock Dog days, and then goes off in a bunch of directions. My favourite of the new songs is Something In Your Eyes. The whole album is worth setting some time aside to listen to. Glen is a good songwriter, and his strength is vocal arrangements.
Zachary Lucky has recorded a new album called Songs For Hard Times. He did it on a trip to Algonquin Park and it’s just him and his guitar. The album is completed and the art work is done, but the final steps are yet to be funded. Zachary has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise the amount he needs to manufacture the CD’s, posters and t-shirts. He could just release it digitally but feels the kind of project it is deserves to have something for you to hold on to.
Ayden Miller and his band, New Friends, have another new pop new tune called Purple Candy which will be debuted this Thursday during Global TV’s series, Private Eyes at 9 p.m. Check out other tunes by the band on their Youtube channel. You watch the video now.
Live music happening Friday night; Andrew Woodill is at the Grape & Olive, Gord Valiquette is at Lot 88, Marta Solek is at Theo’s and Scott Olgard is at Boston Pizza. Alex Rabbitson ias at Fionn MacCool’s Saturday night and next Thursday Tim Kehoe is hosting an open mic starting at 7:30 p.m. at Couchiching Craft Brewery.
Blue Moon Junction, on Highway 11 at Sparrow Lake Road has the Jazz Standards (Randy Hoover, Ian Thurston, Bruce Rumble) playing Dixieland Jazz every Sunday in August starting at noon.
Are You from Here?
OMAH has a new exhibit called Welcome Home to Orillia. It tells the story of 11 people who now call Orillia home, but didn’t always. In many cases, people came from places and times that weren’t pleasant, but not all of them. Of the latter, they came and stayed because of marriage. It’s fascinating to read each person’s story and to see some of the things they included in their exhibit space.
Also see Will McGarvey’s exhibit, Sticks and Stones. You can also check out the opening with Will and Jill Price online.
OMAH also has some outside things you can do. A Friday night tour for families is open for registration, and they have a Saturday morning outdoor program for kids. They’ll be on the street Friday nights with activities. They also have an interesting tour called Gangs, Guns and Grog: True Stories of Orillia’s Wild West Days Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. Register online. Looking ahead, OMAH’s Speaker’s Night September 15 is with Dr. Chris Decker who will be speaking about the life of Dr. Norman Bethune. It’s on Zoom, so you have to call, 705-326-2159 to register and get the link to the event.
Mostly Online Distracters, Still.
Mike Bailey created a poster of the Hippy Vans people can buy. It’s available in two sizes (24×36 – $65, or 16×24 – $55) and you can order one by emailing email@example.com You can also get the booklet Streets Alive publishes each year which has images and information about the artists, the sponsors and the art. They are numbered and you can get the book and a ballot to vote on your 3 most liked vans at Jack & Maddy A Kids Store. Votes will be counted and three of the 29 artists are going to win cash prizes ($10k, $5k and $2,500). You return your ballot at Jack and Maddy or OMAH.
The first big community event of the new era is the 171st Orillia Fall Fair September 11. Unlike other years it will be for one day only, but they are packing a lot into it like the Demo Derby (you can register the family sedan here) and truck and tractor pulls. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get tickets ($10 adults, $5 kids, free for those under 4).
The pipe organ at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian is 100 years old this year. The anniversary is actually at the end of September. Marshall Martin, who gets to play the thing all the time, said it’s too soon to be able to say whether there will be an event to mark the occasion. With 5,000 pipes it’s one of the largest organs in Canada.. There’s a video the church has produced that shows all the workings and Marshall explains what all the parts do.
Nate Robertson has some new music to listen to. A drummer, he also can play other instruments and his latest work is more of an exploration of sound. You can listen to the music from his Synchronized Stratification EP (and buy it) on his Bandcamp page. You’ll also find his previous recordings there too.
Aaron Mangoff has put out 5 EP’s and 3 singles in the last year and you can hear them here.
Check out Stuart Steinhart’s excellent new album, It’s About Time, on Bandcamp.
(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia and Images Supplied) Main: Twelfth Night cast members Caitlin Robson, Ted Powers, and David Evans rehearsing at the Leacock Museum – Photo by Deb Halbot.
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