This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

People who want to check out bands at Couchiching Beach Park Canada Day can see Mil and the Thrills and The Latest News at the Aqua Theatre between 9 and 9:30 p.m.

I had the presence of mind to notice the light conditions when I was in the park last weekend and at 9:50 p.m. the western sky was still light, so don’t expect the fireworks to go boom until 10 p.m.

The midway is already up and running at the park and will stay until Sunday night.

One of the biggest draws is the parade at noon. The other parade, The Wheely Great Parade is at 10:30 a.m. and you, or more likely your kids, can register at the park entrance at 9. The Children’s Village opens with free activities right after the kid’s parade is done.

Other things to maybe include in your activity calendar is the pancake breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and the cutting of the cake (and eating) at the pavilion at the shoreline at 2 p.m.

There might still be time to register as a volunteer. Sharp readers might have notice last week I made a typo in the email address, this week it looked very obvious to me, but last week not so much. Send a note to

Mark Boddy

Washago has their Canada day stuff happening at the Lion’s Hall. In keeping with past years it’s a full day of bands. Here’s the run order. The Washago Jam Band is on from noon to 2 p.m. Then every hour the lineup is Mark Boddy (who will have his son, Ethan, join him for a tune – Ethan just earned the Doreen Phillip Memorial Music Award on graduation from Rama Central School; he’s the first student to earn 100 for his final mark in music), Samantha Windover, Moon River, Buck20, the Wendy Whelan Band, Large, and Shoot the Moon. There is a pancake breakfast at 8 a.m.

Play Reviews


Mariposa Arts Theatre is doing The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) (revised) on a stage on the north lawn of the Leacock Museum.

Larry Cooper, Conal Derdall and Peter Merkle In MAT’s The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) (revised).

The three actors, Conal Derdall, Larry Cooper and Peter Merkle, do a very good job morphing their way through the various characters they play (over playing? for the laughs?) and using local references and ad libs. The first half covers 36 of Shakespeare’s plays. He wrote 37. The second half is all about Hamlet – and isn’t it always all about Hamlet.

There also is a bit of audience participation involved in the second half. Don’t worry, except for two audience members everyone else gets a minor amount of involvement which won’t totally embarrass you.

There are a lot of sight gags. One of those strings the audience along, making three appearances. The first is funny, the second is more like ‘oh that again,’ and the third unexpected and downright hilarious. There is also a fair amount of slapstick humour.

Most intriguing is how the words of old Billy get twisted and soliloquies get mashed together and sometimes just plain mauled (except for one from Hamlet Conal pulls off relatively straight). You don’t need to be familiar with the plays in order to be able to laugh because the bits the scriptwriters used are ones you’ve heard before (and in some cases never knew they were Shakespearean in origin). It’s a bit of cleverness the scriptwriters use (I want to say playwrights, or authors, but I also don’t want you to think I mean Shakespeare) to tie everything across the 37 plays together coherently into one narrative, and also director Doug Ironside for devising the inclusion of local references and in-the-moment vis a vis the audience bits.

The play runs to July 7 and you can get tickets online.

Foster (The Other Foster)

Norm Foster’s Doris and Ivy is a very well written piece of theatre. The story concerns the interaction between new resident at a home, Doris (Debbie Collins) and two other residents, Ivy (Teri Cherniack) and Arthur (Daniel Karpenchuck).

The first thing I noticed about the play is it seems to have been written for Debbie, based on the off stage Debbie I know and some of the characters she regularly seems to get. As Doris, Debbie brings a unique expressiveness, bombast, and gregariousness that seems effortless – because it is, for her.

I asked summer theater artistic director Jesse Collins about Foster writing the part for Debbie sand he said, “I know, what you mean” and said Norm Foster who had seen some of the rehearsals said it seemed like he wrote the part for her.

All three are in the home because they have illnesses. Ivy’s is between her ears, maybe depression, because she was once a famous athlete, a skier, in her country, Austria, but had the misfortune of having a spill at an important race and her last name became a euphemism for choking in the clutch, or bad timing, or making a public gaff, hence ending up in Canmore, AB where no one knows who she is – except for Doris. Arthur has cancer and a time table, which changes, twice, during the course of the story.

Doris plays matchmaker when she learns Arthur’s story and fondness for Ivy. In this case, Ivy’s been married enough times, and Arthur has no confidence. Doris has enough enthusiasm to compensate for the resistance of the other two. The other thing about Doris is she has no filter and will say what sounds like the most ego defeating things you can think of, but she’s so earnest it isn’t received as such. She also can’t keep a secret. Of course those are a key ingredient for a recipe for humour.

And while Ivy and Arthur have some good lines to draw laughter, Doris has more of them, or maybe Debbie just makes more of them.

The play runs to July 15 and you can get tickets online.

Also Duck Soup Productions is doing Newsies in the Studio Theatre from July 5 to August 16. It’s every Tuesday afternoon and through the August long weekend.

An Art Project

The Orillia and District Arts Council is managing an art project for the County of Simcoe. Artists are invited to submit designs to paint bike stations. Each one has three components, a bike rack, a bench and a bike repair station.

Send an email to expressing interest and once they have a handle on how many artists want in they will send back the particulars on the pieces to painted and how to submit a design. If you are selected, you’ll be paid $500 for each set of three pieces and you may get approved to do up to two locations. There are 17 locations around the county where these will be installed. You’ll also get a mileage allowance (up to 50 km).

The Shorts

  • Two things you’ll want to see at the Mariposa Folk Festival next week.. OK, three things. 1. Everything. 2. Don’t be late Friday evening because Lance Anderson is first up at 5 p.m. with a tribute to 60 years of the festival with 60 minutes of music covered from artists who have performed at Mariposa. The band now includes Ronnie Douglas as a special guest. The rest of the band is Matt Weidinger, Quisha Wint, Selena Evangeline, Mike Daley, Wayne DeAdder, Russ Boswell and Bucky Berger (and of course Lance). 3. The John Prine Tribute Band playing Sunday at 5:30 p.m. has 4 original band members – Jason Wilber, David Jacques, Fats Kaplin and Bryan Owings, plus Tommy Prine, Kathleen Edwards, Aleksi Campagne, Colin Linden and Begonia. Get tickets online.
  • Roger Harvey is returning to the area to do fundraising concerts for the Orillia Youth Centre’s Nelson Bell and Jake Beers Bursaries. See him July 1 at Farmfest in Sebright. Opening are Kayla Mahomed and Alex. Then he’s playing in Collingwood July 2 with Lola Eden opening. Get tickets here.
Art by Raune-lea Marshall
  • OMAH also has the 25th Annual International Women’s Day Art Show with 112 pieces in the show you can see right now. Upstairs, Hospice Orillia is sponsoring Dying Matters: Reflections Of Growth Through Grief (closing reception July 7 from 5 to 7 p.m.). This is an exhibit of smaller pieces by local artists, except for the art Chantal Kreviazuk donated to the cause (4 prints) and all of it is for sale. There two other exhibits up as well, Return To Sender and Reflections Of Ourselves. Peter Street Fine Arts has Deby Melillo’s art in the gallery this month. Hibernation Art has Raune-lea Marshall’s art featured this month and many of the other regular artists have new work hanging around. Also, every Friday night starting next week the downtown is closed to cars and Peter Street galleries and artists will be out with their stuff.  Send a note to if you want to take part showing your art.
  • The Park Street Collegiate reunion the weekend of July 16 at the Barnfield Recreation Centre has Even Steven, Liz Anderson, Mark Stewart’s band and Pete Sanderson’s band performing, a hockey team reunion at Quayle’s Brewery in the afternoon and a restaurant tour. Find out more details and how to get tickets at the reunion website.
  • Couchiching Craft Brewing has Rock Steady  playing Saturday night; Will Dunlop (Wilverine on 89.1 Max FM) hosts Vinyl Night July 7 starting at 7 p.m. and Jeff Young plays July 15… the Kensington has an open mic night hosted by Tim Kehoe on Tuesdays from 8 to 11 p.m. … the Hog N’ Penny has trivia night every Thursday.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia and Images Supplied) Main: Director Jesse Collins with Teri Cherniack, Debbie Collins and Daniel Karpenchuck of Norm Foster’s Doris and Ivy now playing at the Orillia Opera House (Photo by Cole Bennett).

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