Tag Archives: Peter Smith

Fury: Life, love and loss on stage in Blyth

2 Aug

 

Fury at the Blyth Festival.

Fury at the Blyth Festival.

By Diva Shari Parsons

BLYTH – Though waves may crash, this play doesn’t.

Having never before attended any production of the Blyth Festival, I looked forward to the opening night performance of Fury, along with a girlfriend who had also never attended.

The Blyth Festival is summer theatre that celebrates original Canadian theatre. The professional productions are held in the cozy and comfortable theatre housed in the historic red brick Blyth Memorial Hall.

Fury is a thought-provoking and, in the end, heart-wrenching look at the effect of The Great Storm of 1913 on the lives of five different people from various walks of life in the Port of Goderich.

I found that the script, written by playwright Peter Smith, was intelligent, sensitive, witty and even humorous at times.

Jeff Irving did an excellent job playing the boyishly handsome Michael Grey, a young farmer from Carlow with a mischievous grin, a twinkle in his eye and a devil-may-care attitude.

Michael’s love interest, the slightly repressed yet opinionated Margaret Mackey, niece and ward of Judge Cassidy was given what I felt was a somewhat wooden performance by Rachel Cairns.

Comedic relief and camaraderie was wonderfully provided by Keith Barker in the character of somewhat simple-minded and kind-hearted Bernard Smoke, the offspring of an Aboriginal mother and a Scottish father. Bernard may seem simple, but his “mind roads” can lead him to some profound places.

David Fox was a very convincing autocratic Judge Cassidy. His speech and mannerisms exemplified the character of a crotchety old man who was more concerned about public appearance and his standing in the community than he was about his niece’s happiness. But he is hiding a painful past and his frosty reserve thaws slightly in the end.

The young and up-coming lawyer, David Cooper, was well portrayed by Jason Chesworth. David, who comes across as slightly, annoyingly, obsequious and ingratiating has struck a bargain with the Judge that will give David career advancement and increased standing in the community. Margaret is the unwilling pawn in this agreement.

The stage setting, designed by Ronnie Burkett, was simple but very effective. There were four separate sections constructed to resemble a wooden pier. These sections were moved around to create the various settings, including what I thought was an ingenious rowboat. A large structure in the background served as both the stone balcony of the Judge’s house and the bow of the ship, the Wexford. The effective use of lighting and sound created the necessary changes in atmosphere and mood. The storm scene upon the Wexford was particularly well done.

Fury literally explodes upon the scene, pops up unexpectedly in the audience, makes you think, makes you laugh and if you are sentimental like me, may even bring a tear to your eye. My girlfriend and I both really enjoyed it.

Fury runs until Sept. 12 at the Blyth Memorial Hall. Tickets are $30 & $34 for adults and $15 for youth. Tickets for preview performances are $22 & $26. Tickets may be purchased at the online box office; by phone at 519.523.9300 or 1.877.862.5984 during box office hours: non-performance days 9am-5pm, evening performance days 9am-9pm; in person at 423 Queen St., Blyth; or by mail with cheque or credit card information and including a $4 service fee to Blyth Festival, Box 10, Blyth ON, N0M 1H0

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2013 Blyth Festival Season

1 Apr

By Diva Jenna Ujiye

Blyth Festival has got an amazing season ready to go for 2013 and today is the first day you can buy tickets!!!

Here is a quick overview of the season:

DEAR JOHNNY DEERE

by Ken Cameron
Based on the music of Fred Eaglesmith​
Additional music & arrangements by David Archibald​
Directed by Eric Coates​
June 11 – 22: limited run

​Rebecca Auerbach, J.D. Nicholson, photo by Terry Manzo

Johnny and Caroline struggle to keep the farm afloat while the bills pile higher and The Man from Toronto wants to put a big ol’ overpass right through their farm. What will it take to keep it all together?

There will be more drivin’, shootin’, cheatin’, schemin’ and boozin’ down on the farm complete with a whole lot more singin’ as the cast rock it with Fred Eaglesmith’s biggest hits.

BEYOND THE FARM SHOW

World Premiere june 26 – august 16
by The Collective
Directed by Severn Thompson

An original play about the people who make it work.

Inspired by the original Farm Show, these are the stories of the men, women and families who work the farm now. Led by Severn Thompson, a group of actors have gone out along the concession roads and built a play based on the sights, sounds and characters of the barns, fields and homes of Huron County – a play about the incredible and ever-evolving culture of agriculture.

From the farm, of the farm and for the farm.

YORKVILLE – THE MUSICAL

July 3 – August 11 – world premiere
Book & Lyrics by Carolyn Hay
Music by Tom Szczesniak​
​Directed by Donna Feore

photo by Azarah Eells
Instead of city folks coming to the country without a clue, this is the story of two country gals heading to the heart of Toronto seeking love, fame and fortune. Their gift? Step-dancing.
What could possibly go wrong? Yorkville – the Musical is a whole lot of singing and step-dancing fun all the way to the final kiss.

GARRISON’S GARAGE

July 31 – August 31
canadian classic
by Ted Johns
Directed by Peter Smith​

photo by Daniela Martin

First premiered in Blyth in 1985, it became an instant hit and toured the province to great acclaim!
A Revenue Canada field officer’s car breaks down in the ‘middle of nowhere’. He brings it to a local
garage and the eccentric mechanic who runs it. He inadvertently discovers what he thinks is the
scam of the century, but the truth of the matter is something else entirely. Filled with humour and a
cast of characters you’ll not soon forget, Garrison’s Garage has no idea how to your fix your vehicle
but certainly has your fix for plenty of laughs.

PRAIRIE NURSE

August 7 – 31 – world premiere
by Marie Beath Badian
Directed by Sue Miner

image courtesy H Holdsworth

It’s November 1969.
Two young nurses, just off the plane from the Philippines, arrive at a rural hospital in Arborfield, Saskatchewan – population 300. No one in town can tell them apart, including the lab tech at the hospital whose real job is playing goalie for the Arborfield Flyers. He falls in love with one of them but accidentally courts them both. It’s a comedy of errors with a great heart.

FALLING: A WAKE​

August 28 – September 7 – phillips studio
by Gary Kirkham
Directed by Peter Smith​
Featuring Catherine Fitch & Tony Munch

image by Alyzen Moonshadow

One autumn night, high in the sky above an isolated farmhouse, there is an explosion. Retired couple Elsie and Harold figure it must be a meteor. Their yard is suddenly filled with falling debris from a jetliner. They run for cover. When all is quiet again they venture out – sitting in their front yard is an airplane seat. And in that seat is the body of a 20 year-old man. The story that evolves is an emotional ride that is laced with humour. Inspired by a real life event, Falling: A Wake is driven by a pair of unforgettable characters – people who will stay with you long after the lights go down.

It’s World Theatre Day

27 Mar

Created in 1961 by UNESCO, World Theatre Day is celebrated annually on March 27 by theatre communities around the globe.  UNESCO’s goals were to

1)  Celebrate the power of theatre as an indispensable bridge-builder for mutual international understanding and peace.

2)  Promote and protect cultural diversity and identity in communities throughout the world.

Here, in Huron County, we’re fortunate to have two professional theatres.   I asked the artistic directors to share their comments on World Theatre Day.

Artistic Director - Peter Smith, Blyth Festival

Artistic Director – Peter Smith Blyth Festival

Blyth Festival‘s, Artistic Director Peter Smith ~ I believe there are two stories. The first is our experience; the second is relating that experience to another. There are many ways to relate a story about something that happened. I’ve heard terrific tales on a long prairie car ride, from someone at the front of a classroom, late at night around a kitchen table, coming from a radio on the windowsill, or on a small or big screen. I’ve also had experience related to me while gathered with a collection of others in one of the many theatres from across our blue planet.

Theatre is a live event – it’s people together in a room, or maybe somewhere outdoors, that has another crowd relating an experience back to them. It is shared.  It’s like being at a wedding. So many generations represented, so much anticipation, so much joy. Life is theatre and theatre is life. I encourage those who haven’t been to a play to check out the original 3D story this year. And for those who have, to head up or down the road and check out a theatre they’ve never been to before and witness the experience being related there.

World Theatre Day is every day for me. Theatre is simply the best of story.

_ _ _ _ _

Alex Mustakas, Artistic Director, Drayton Entertainment

Alex Mustakas, Artistic Director, Drayton Entertainment

Alex Mustakas, Artistic Director of Drayton Entertainment, including Huron Country Playhouse ~

Today, Drayton Entertainment proudly celebrates World Theatre Day in each of the unique southwestern Ontario communities in which it operates:  the original Drayton Festival Theatre in Drayton, Huron Country Playhouse and Playhouse II in Grand Bend, King’s Wharf Theatre in Penetanguishene, Schoolhouse Theatre in St. Jacobs, St. Jacobs Country Playhouse in Waterloo, and the new Dunfield Theatre Cambridge, located in the heart of Galt.

At its core, Drayton Entertainment has always understood that good theatre doesn’t just portray life – it encourages us to participate and experience it at a much deeper level. It encourages us to think, to cry, to laugh, to learn, to form a sense of the purpose of life, to be sympathetic with others – the list goes on and on.

Theatre is one of the cornerstones of a healthy, vibrant society. It is a conduit for the convergence of community, commerce, and creativity, building new synergies between the traditional and innovative … enhancing the lives of all Canadians in the process.

_ _ _ _ _

Watch for details of the 2013 season’s in upcoming blogs at OntarioTravelDivas.com or visit these websites today.

Blyth Festival Drayton Entertainment’s
Huron Country Playhouse
P.O. Box 10, Blyth, ON R.R. #1, B Line, Grand Bend
519.523.9300 519.238.6000
1.877.862.5984 1.855.372.9866
www.blythfestival.com www.draytonentertainment.com