I was blessed with a cast of extremely well-trained actors who were willing to explore and play, and we ended up with a show that remains near and dear to my heart.
I was also invited, out of the blue, to direct The Pirates of Penzance for a summer theatre in the very middle of Ohio. That summer in Ohio led to two more, and by the time I wrapped up Forever Plaid there I knew that I had a vocation for directing in tandem for that one I had found as an actor
Since those early years, I’ve directed at other theatre schools (Grease! for Sheridan College, and She Loves Me for Randolph College), for indie companies (Not in This Lifetime, Jean Harlow and Will he - nill He, both for Shaking Ground; Jaques Brel … for Golden Apple), and several plays for Saskatchewan’s Globe Theatre (everything from Stones in His Pockets to a ground-breaking production of Anne of Green Gables).
“Ebenezer Scrooge: A Carol for Christmas” isn’t a note-for-note staging of “A Christmas Carol.” It isn’t one of the endless other variations of the classic. It’s the world premiere of a new, streamlined version by Toronto playwright Geoffrey Whynot, and if you’ve been burned by Scrooge before, it’s time to give the old coot another shot.
Writer/Director Geoffrey Whynot also knows Dickens’ story – great as it is – is a bit long in the tooth. He speeds things up by using the actors as narrators, transitioning scenes and removing dry chunks of the narrative.
It also works visually thanks to a functional set … a simple thing like moving the window breaks up long scenes and gets the audience visually involved.
Golden Apple will be a welcome addition as another opportunity for theatre lovers to enjoy professional work, if its delightful production of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well & Living in Paris is any indication.
Directed by Geoffrey Whynot, … Golden Apple's production was a treat to experience.
It's simply nice to have another home grown option to see professional artists giving stellar performances on a Regina stage.
With a show as well-known -- and well-loved -- as Anne of Green Gables, the biggest challenge facing anyone staging a new production is to make the familiar fresh.
Director Geoffrey Whynot and his large and talented cast have more than met that challenge at Globe Theatre, whose production of the Canadian classic opened Thursday.
Whynot's greatest challenge was staging the show in the round, and he's succeeded brilliantly. Take the picnic at the end of the first act: the three-legged and egg-and-spoon races take performers off-stage through one gangway and back on through a different one, effectively expanding the Globe's small playing space while providing opportunity for humour and more of Whynot's clever, amusing, and often very-high-energy choreography.
I confess that I went into the opening night performance of Marion Bridge at the Globe Theatre feeling skeptical.
The straightforward direction (by Geoffrey Whynot) allows the play's core strengths -- sharp writing and beautifully portrayed character relationships -- to shine through. Almost all of the action takes place in the kitchen: Chairs, tables, a wooden floor. Look close at that floor, though: it's supported by hundreds of books, a subtle, moving reference to the dying, never-seen mother, who "always had a book in her hand" ... but never turned the pages.
Marion Bridge took me on a journey, too, from skepticism to appreciation ... and the three talented actresses who took me on that journey also ultimately succeeded in building a bridge to my heart.
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