Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The 2009 Ennotville Summer Season

It's finally here!

It is with great pleasure that I announce our line-up for the 2009 summer season at the Ennotville Library. This will be our 5th season in Ennotville, and we're celebrating our short history in our very old venue by celebrating the pioneers of theatre's long and exciting past. Much like the pioneers who built the Ennotville Library, the theatrical pioneers whose works we're bringing to life this summer have made possible the richness of expression and depth of meaning we see in the great plays of today.

The first show in our season is called Dulcitus. It is a farce, written by Hroswitha of Gandersheim, the world’s first known female dramatist, and one of the only suriving examples of drama from after the fall of classical Rome and before the start of the Renaissance - the period of time often referred to as "The Dark Ages."
The play runs June 11th—June 27th.

Next up we have a very fanciful play entitled The Birth of Merlin. It's a comedy by William Rowley, though it's very likely that he had a collaborator (as was the case with many of his other plays, like The Changeling, which he wrote with Thomas Middleton). Some early editions of the play list the collaborator as William Shakespeare, though few scholars believe Shakespeare had a hand in the writing, and his name was likely affixed simply to make the play simply to make it more popular. However, this broad, comical story about Merlin being born full-grown encompasses much Arthurian legend, and gives us a glimpse of what "the other guys" were writing about from a time period where we are so often blinded by the the plays of Shakespeare alone. The show opens July 2nd and runs to July 18th.

Next up we're bringing to you a show entitled Commedia! This will be my personal contribution to the season. I'm rewriting a scenario from the Commedia D'ell Arte - the hilarious improv-based form of Italian popular entertainment that flourished throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. These plays featured broad, "stock" characters and situations based around mistaken identities and blind sexual desires. It is out of the Commedia D'ell Arte that the plot lines of many popular comedies first emerged, and it is the birthplace of many famous TV sit-com characters, from Al Bundy to Rosanne to the entire cast of Seinfeld. Commedia! plays July 23rd—August 8th.

We close out our summer season with a salute to the popular entertainment of the 19th and early 20th centuries - Vaudeville. This show will feature music, dancing and lots of laughs, as we resurrect some of the great acts and routines of an earlier time. It's much like any other variety show that could have been presented at the Library in its younger days. Vaudeville opens August 13th and runs to August 29th.

Of course, all shows , dates and venues subject to change, but that's what we've got lined up so far (we may be able to add another week in September, depending on when the kids go back to school).

I hope you enjoy our Ennotville summer season, but I understand that not everyone gets as excited as I do about plays from the rich history of the theatre. While we'll strive to make sure all these plays are as open and accessible to everyone as possible, if they just aren't your cup of tea then that's okay, because we have some contemporary theatre for you this summer as well. Tune in tomorrow for our announcement of the three plays that will form our 2009 Belwood Summer Season!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Winter 1-Acts Wrap-up

Just wanted to say a big thank-you to everyone who helped make this past weekend a success! Everyone really pulled together to bring this show to life. Congrats to all.

Now, onwards and upwards - tune in tomorrow for the first of three announcements about what's in store for the 2009 summer season at Grinder Productions!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Quick Note #5 - It's been a busy week on Helium

It's been a very busy week on Helium.com. Please click here to check out my bio page and some of the articles I've written in the past month - some of them are generating a lot of interest, especially this one, on the line between harmless fun and bullying.

And in case you missed it all week long - the Winter 1-Acts open tonight! Call 519-780-7593 for tickets, or get them at the door. Performances at the Ennotville Library 8pm tonight, 2pm and 8pm tomorrow. Hope to see you there.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Quick Note #4 - Summer Season Announcement

Spread the word - next week our summer season in Ennotville and Belwood will be announced, along with our most flexible, most comprehensive season ticket offer ever!

Stay tuned...

... or better yet, come to the Winter 1-Acts this weekend at the Ennotville Library, where you'll find the season announcement on the back of your program!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Quick note #3 - Murder on the Nile

Just letting you know that Agatha Christie's Murder on the Nile goes up this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Grand in Fergus. Grinder is well-represented in this show, and it promises to be a treat. Call 519-787-1981 for tickets...

...but I understand the show is almost sold out! Congrats to Vision Productions for their success. If you can't get a seat in Fergus then come on down Highway 6 to the Ennotville Library this weekend, where we're presenting our Winter 1-Acts. No "whodunit" here, but still some great theatre for all to enjoy!

(and we have a Saturday matinee)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Quick Note #2 - The Winter 1-Acts

Come on out this Friday and Saturday to the Ennotville Library and take in some great Grinder Talent! The Winter 1-Acts are 4 little shows that feature some of the best of old and new Grinder talent (and even a bit of on stage work from yours truly, if he's not careful).

You'll see:

Brendan Linwood making his directorial debut with Grinder, with St. John Hankin's The Constant Lover.

J-P Soucy, the avowed atheist (see his blog here) playing Adam in the Garden of Eden in The Fall of Man.

The irrepressible Kaitlyn Walton reduced to silence by a fast-talking Mme X in August Strindberg's The Stronger.

And Rachel Jones is "moving up" from lowly mechanical in Midsummer Night's Dream to Queen Elisabeth herself in George Bernard Shaw's The Dark Lady of the Sonnets, a timely piece sure to be of interest to anyone concerned about the role of government in the arts in general and theatre in particular.

These and many others form this weekend of entertainment at the library. Tickets are available from any cast member, by calling 519-780-7593, or at the door. Shows are Friday at 8pm, and Saturday at 2pm and 8pm. Tickets are $15 adults, $5 for kids.

Come on out and enjoy these high quality, rarely performed works by some of the world's best dramatists.

And yes, the library has heat!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Quick Note #1 - Summer 2009

All this week I'm going to keep my postings very short - those of you who Twitter will likely find them familiar - it's just that I've figured I'd rather write a quick little post, just to keep in touch with all of you, than one or two lengthy posts that I may or may not get time to write.

So today's post is just a little update on our summer 2009 season.

We're going to change the programming at Ennotville slightly - we won't be starting off with Same Time, Another Year as we had promised (we're moving it to 2010), and plans are in the works to tentatively take advantage of the extra week of summer (due to the position of Labour Day) and bring in a 5th show or "special event." We'll have to wait and see what the education minister decides before we do more about that, though.

And we're going back to Belwood this summer. For the first time this summer we're going to have a theme for all three shows, one that I think the ladies are going to enjoy....

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday Morning Link Love

I don't have anything to write about today, so I thought I'd share with you some links to some of my Helium Articles, on topics that you might enjoy.

Which High School Courses Should be Manadatory - kind of humourous, kind of serious, this is my highest-ranked article. As of this posting, it was ranked #2 out of a 76 articles.

Bullying Behaviour: The Role of the Target - this one made me a little bit mad, as it cut pretty close to the bone. An important read if you have kids, or if you are a kid suffering through (or inflicting) this kind of behaviour at school.

Steps to Success in Acting - Yes, I write about a lot about theatre! This article is ranked #1 out of 10 on this topic as I post it, and it has proven a popular read. Written more with the professional in mind, it still has a lot of relevance to any actor, anywhere, working on any show.

Should a script be changed to suit the audience? - This is one of Helium's "debate" titles - you pick one side or the other of an argument and write for it. I have chosen to write for the "Yes" side of this. Do you agree with my assessment?

Please click on any title that tickles your interest, and while on Helium do take a moment to look around at what some others have had to say on these and other subjects - there are a lot of wonderful writers who's work deserves to be recognized who labour away on the site every day. And don't forget, Midsummer Night's Dream is now on until Saturday night. Tickets are going fast, so call 519-780-7593 to get yours right today!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Master Plan

Please click here to go to the Township's site and have a look at the draft of the Parks, Recreation and Culture Master Plan for Centre Wellington. This document will help council and staff shape policies in the coming years. As theatre people it's imporant that we stay informed about what's happening at the government level regarding the arts in our community, and I noted with some disdain and some concern that I was the only representative from the theatre present at the public meeting which was held to discuss this plan. Nonetheless, I do think that this is a very good document (the final draft is apparently out, but only contains minor variances from the original), and I believe that the arts are in an excellent position to work with the township over the next decade to create the pillars of a thriving, more diverse, more widespread cultural community in Centre Wellington.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Midsummer Night's Dream at the ECA

Just a quick reminder - A Midsummer Night's Dream opens tomorrow night!

The cast and crew have really worked hard to bring this show together. Please come on out and see this show, especially if you've never seen Shakespeare before. This is The Bard as he was meant to be - up-close, deeply personal, and relevant to all.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Summer Days

Yes, summer is coming. I`ve noticed that this week on my Master Production Schedule the first show of the Ennotville Summer Season has come onto my radar. It will only be a matter of time now before I`m completely inundated by another seven (possibly 8) shows that will form our Ennotville and Belwood seasons.

Actually, I`m looking forward to the summer. Rehearsing gets a lot easier, and moving shows from A to B isn`t as challenging as when there`s four feet of snow on the ground. I`m hoping that I don`t direct as many shows this summer as I often do - I think the contingent of directors that we have been building up over the years will be able to handle the lion`s share of the direcing this summer, and I have a few new directors that I`d like to bring on board as well. All the same, I don`t think I`ll be able to resist the temptation to direct at least one show, likely later on in the season.

Watch the newsletter and the blog for more information about the summer season. As soon as we receive permission from the royalties police we`ll announce our line-up of shows, and start selling our season subscriptions.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Climbing back on the blogging wagon

Hello again everyone. Sorry I've been gone for so long. As per my usual excuse, things have been pretty crazy here at Grinder. We've got a lot going on.

On top of that I'm writing for Helium.com, a writing site where I earn a small-but-respectable income for writing specialized articles on topics I know a little something about. You can view my complete profile and articles here, and please do take a moment to check it out, as well as the larger Helium website. If you think you might be interested in joining Helium and writing for yourself, please shoot me an e-mail so I can refer you.

All the same, my dedication to the blog has had been a bit shoddy of late, and for that I apologize, as I know that what we talk about here is of interest to a lot of people.

This blog is, primarily, a way for me to connect with all of you, and keep you informed and up-to-date on everything that's happening at Grinder Productions. As well, from time to time I'll launch into a tirade about the current state of Canadian Theatre, though given the current economic climate I think I'll cut the big-time players a little slack, just for the moment.

But this blog is also meant to function as a 2-way forum. Please feel free to write and post your comments about a blog post, and I'll do my best to incorporate you in a relevant discussion. Feel free to disagree, argue, question - and see if you can match up with me in head-to-head debate. I should warn you though, the written word is my forte, and I'm more difficult to up-end in print than I am in person.

I am also opening up an invitation to other members to contribute some "guest posts" to this blog to help me keep it fresh and lively. If you would like to share some stories about your Grinder experience, review one of our shows or simply share your thoughts on life and theatre in general I would love to have some company here. As some of you may know, I will be a little busy this June with some matrimonial affairs, and I will be looking for guest posts for at least as week`s worth of entries, possibly more, for that period of time.

Until then, though, it`s great to be back. Here`s hoping that this time I can stay on the wagon a little better, with your help.