On Friday, March 19th, some of Cape Breton’s most talented actors, writers and directors will be taking the stage at The Boardmore Playhouse for The Elizabeth Boardmore One Act Play Festival.
Since 1971, the CBU Dramagroup has been celebrating Cape Breton’s theatrical talent with this yearly one act play festival that is named after the dramagroup’s co-founder, Elizabeth Boardmore. “Liz” came to Cape Breton alongside her husband, Harry Boardmore, in 1966 and developed a rich and thriving theatre community. Over the years, Liz and Harry’s love for theatre inspired a generation of talented artists and in 1990, the CBU Theatre was named The Boardmore Playhouse to commemorate their contributions. The festival was named after Liz when she passed away in 2004.
The Elizabeth Boardmore One Act Play Festival gives everyone who has a passion for live theatre an opportunity to produce their work in a professional setting. The young and the old, the experienced and not-so experienced all get a crack at the chance to stage their scripts in front of a paying audience. The lessons learned from a festival like this can last a lifetime and the best way to learn how to produce a play is by actually getting up and doing it!
“It’s open to everyone in the community,” says Todd Hiscock, the manager of The Boardmore Playhouse. “It is a great learning environment for anyone interested in theatre.”
Over the past 10 years, Hiscock has noticed that the festival is attracting more and more original plays. “It is really what sets this festival apart from any other one of its kind. It is so unique.” There is a very long list of writers who produced their earlier works during this festival and went on to have great careers. “Daniel MacIvor and Bryden MacDonald come to mind right away.” Hiscock also insists that, “The festival can really be a springboard for artists to get started.”
After each performance, the audience has the pleasure of listening to festival adjudicator Marguerite McNeil’s thoughts and ideas on that evening’s plays. She will give constructive criticism on everything from the acting right down to the costume design and all the advice she gives is built from her years of experience in film and television. McNeil has studied theatre in New York and London and not only is she an active member in the Nova Scotia and Canadian theatre scene, she also has a massive list a film and television credits that include Marion Bridge and The Divine Ryans. With McNeil’s resume, it is no wonder she is the adjudicator for this amazing festival.
The one act play festival this year has a great line up that is certain to showcase the large amount of talent that Cape Breton’s theatre community has to offer. Here’s a look at what to expect this year:
Friday, March 19
Forgive Us Our Trespasses
Written by Wesley J Colford and Mark Oliver
Directed by Mark Oliver
‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ Luke 23:34
Forgive Us Our Trespasses introduces us to three characters, desperately seeking guidance, hope and forgiveness. Will they find what they’re looking for? Or is forgivesness even possible?
The Feast of St. Nicholas
Written by Ken Chisholm and Paul Macdougall
Directed by Ken Chisholm
The Feast of Saint Nicholas re-visits Grandmother Rosa, her daughter Sylvia, and granddaughter Maria of the Prato Family (seen in “O Night Divine”, “All Souls’ Eve”, and “Ave Maria”). Maria’s best childhood friend, Brigid, returns home with her three children after her husband deserts her. Seeking Maria’s help, Brigid locks horns with a disapproving Rosa before a long held secret threatens to end their friendship.
Sunday, March 21
All My Love, Walter
Written and Directed by Kyle Capstick
“We need to talk.” Everyone in All My Love, Walter has something they need to say, but no one seems to be saying it. Monique, her daughter Maria and Maria’s best friend and ex-boyfriend Sam are forced to deal with this evasion by the presence of the unseen Walter. Who is Walter? What does he want? And why does he send all his love?
Notte del Partito
Written and Directed by Jenn Tubrett
A bride and groom set out with their two best friends for their individual bachelor and bachelorette parties. What happens from there you’ll have to see to believe…well… not really, it’s actually all fairly typical. Hope you enjoy the ride.
Tuesday, March 23
Zombies vs. Robots
Written by Kristen Woodford
Directed by Scott Sharplin
When a young amateur witch who doesn’t know her own strength accidently brings a group of zombies to life, a family of scientists create a zombie-killing robot in order to defend themselves. However, the two sides of this bizarre conflict don’t know just what they’re in for when the zombies and the robot actually meet. Join Jack McNally and Zoe Beausavant in this thrilling, and chilling, romantic comedy adventure. It makes a great date night, so be sure to bring your girlfriend/boyfriend to the show!
Breaking the Tower
Written by Lindsay Thompson
Directed by Nicole Macdougall
What happens when the princess doesn’t want to be rescued by either prince that shows up? Breaking the Tower is the comedic story of a princess stuck in a tower of her own making and two Princes who help her to see things for what they really are.
Thursday, March 25
In The Blood
Written by Colleen Gillis
Directed by Todd Hiscock
A woman’s life is shattered by the discovery that her brother has AIDS. His illness and death force her to confront her inner conflict with his homosexuality and the Catholic Church, and jeopardize her relationship with her husband and son.
Written by Sam Sheppard
Directed by Todd Hiscock
A young man is about to be electrocuted.
Written and Directed by Darren Andrea
Fort Petrie was developed from a screen play written about some of the events which occurred at the Fort during World War 2. The site has been in use for over 200 years, starting as a lookout for Pirates and Privateers who frequently raided coastal towns. In service until the 1950’s, Fort Petrie still stands as a museum to honour the men and women who served in conflicts of war.
Saturday, March 27
The Sky is Purple
Written by Michael MacKenzie
Directed by Brian Gallivan
The Sky is Purple follows the life of Jason, a sixteen year old thrown into turmoil by his parents’ divorce and the bitter custody dispute that follows. An unwilling participant in an unfriendly battle, Jason is forced to face reality and make tough decisions that will not only alter his life, but the lives of his parents and friends forever. But people have a way of seeing that which isn’t true, and it’s up to those who care about Jason to make him see the real truth before it’s too late.
Written by Harold Pinter
Directed by John Lingard
Beth, seated in an armchair away from the table, speaks to herself about events in the past. She appears not to hear Duff when he speaks to her. She is obsessed with a love affair from a time when she was young and beautiful. Duff, seated at the table, speaks to Beth, but appears not to hear her spoken thoughts. He talks about his day—a walk in the park, a chance encounter in the local pub, his new interest in fishing.
The team here at whatsgoinon.ca will be providing reviews of all of the plays during the festival, so stay tuned for our thoughts and feedback on every show. Each evening begins at 7pm. Ticket prices are $8 general and $5 students and seniors. If you plan on attending every performance, you can purchase a festival pass for $32 general or $20 students and seniors. For tickets or more information you can call The Boardmore Playhouse box office at 563-1652.