“There is no shortage of Cape Bretoners who have become nationally recognized for their work in the theatre and we are thrilled to have one join us this year as our guest adjudicator for the 2013 Elizabeth Boardmore One-Act Play Festival,” says Todd Hiscock, Director of the Cape Breton University Boardmore Theatre about East Bay native, Ron Jenkins.
Jenkins began his theatrical career as a high school student performing in multiple productions playing everything from young kids to old men at the Boardmore Playhouse in the early 1980s. Most memorable was his physically daunting performance in The Elephant Man.
Since then, Jenkins, after to moving to Toronto and points west, has become one a Canada’s most sought after directors. He has earned rave notices for work with theatre companies all across Canada and the United States.
Jenkins has won 10 Sterling Awards as a director and playwright and received a Betty Mitchell Award for Direction for The Black Rider and Playing With Fire. He is also the winner of the 2004 Syncrude Award for Artistic Innovation. Ron was shortlisted for the 2007and 2010 Siminovitch Prize in theatre for Direction.
“Ron will bring to our festival his extensive knowledge of acting, directing, playwriting, and theatre management. He will certainly prove to be a positive influence on our young Cape Breton theatre artists,” says Hiscock.
Jenkins will deliver his adjudications every night in The Pit Lounge following the performances in The Boardmore Playhouse.
For the first two night of the four day festival, running from Thursday, March 21, to Sunday March 24, Jenkins will have a wide variety of material to comment on.
The opening night of the festival, Thursday, saw two productions featuring young directors and casts.
Hippies, Trees, and a Curse, a romantic comedy written and directed by Kristen Woodford, is described as being about a young hippie named Olivia Garrick who finds herself torn between two potential boyfriends: Peter and Balthazar. But Olivia has problems bonding with people, preferring the company of trees instead.
Daniel on a Thursday, written by Garth Wingfield and directed by Anna Spencer, has a succinct précis: “A guy approaches Daniel in a bar and the games begin…. Whether Daniel is ready or not. “
Spencer, a theatre veteran still in her teens, says, “I chose the play Daniel on a Thursday by Garth Wingfield purely because of its quick paced hilarity. The script has you laughing right from the get go with its interesting concepts and hilarious characters. Wingfield has a great hand with comedies. During rehearsals there have been points where the cast needed to pause to laugh at what has just been said. The script also gives an interesting director challenge in that the entire show takes place on two bar stools. It doesn’t allow for much movement so the director has to be sure that the audience remains enthralled with what is going on onstage.”
Friday, March 22, features two productions directed by Todd Hiscock, starting at 7pm.
Teardrops and Ashes, written by Amy Grant, is about a young girl who thinks she has found a safe haven only to discover she landed back into a life of drug addiction and crime. The play comes with a warning of possibly offensive material that is not suitable for younger children.
3’s are Wild offers a variety pack of material by Anton Chekhov, Eugene O’Neill, and Bev Brett: three monologues and a three-hander presented as a final project by the DRAM 3106 second year acting class.
Hiscock says, “The three monologues are from Chekhov’s The Seagull, and Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night and The Hairy Ape. The three hand scene is from Out the Meadow by Bev Brett. I chose these monologues because it gives the acting students an opportunity to speak text that is filled with imagery and heightened emotion, which forces the actor to use all of his or her resources–breath/voice, physicality, imagination–and forces them to slow down with the delivery. Too often young actors want to race though their text without much consideration for the meaning of the content.”
“The three character scene is an exercise in ensemble playing; paying attention to your scene partners while giving and receiving focus. The scene is also a comedic contrast to the heavier/darker monologues,” Hiscock says. “So the festival is the perfect event for acting students to experiment with different styles of writing and group work. As the dedication, from Samuel Beckett, outside the playhouse says: No Matter, Try Again, Fail Again, Fail Better.”
Anna Spencer agrees with this assessment of the Festival. “The One Act Play Festival is the perfect opportunity for young theatre makers to experiment and take on jobs that they would otherwise not be given the chance to undertake. The festival gives you the chance to try your hand at writing a script, directing, stage managing, and operating the technical elements of the playhouse. Not only does it give new or young theatre makers the chance to expand their skills but it offers them a chance to learn. The festival is full of experienced artists who are always willing to help out or answer questions.”
Following the Friday evening adjudication, Bella Rebellion will provide live entertainment in the Pit Lounge.
For more information, visit cbu.ca/boardmore.