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All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 returns to help LSCO

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All is Calm:The Christmas Truce of 1914 blends the sentiments of Christmas with the memorial of Remembrance Day, so director Fran Rude is  excited to bring the show back to the Yates Theatre, Nov. 19-21.

 

Stephen Graham prepares for a tech rehearsal for  A Christmas Truce, this weekend in the Yates Theatre. Photo by Richard Amery

“It’s been on the books since 2020, but because of Covid, we couldn’t do it, so I’m excited to  finally get a chance to bring it back to stage,” said Rude, choking up with the emotion of finally being able to do live theatre again.

 

“ Artists were hit so hard by Covid. we couldn’t do anything,” she said.

 

 This production will be a fundraiser for the Lethbridge Seniors Organization (LSCO) as was the last production in 2019.

 She recruited a top notch cast of actors and singers including John Conlon, Dan Hall, Tyler Leavitt, Jonathan Northcott, Ken Rogers who is also musical director for the show, Don Robb, Josh Sherwood, Brenton Taylor, Tony Zappone, Stephen Graham, Devin Law and Jeff Steed, who play 39 different characters performing 34 a capella songs in four different languages. They have been rehearsing since mid-September.

 

“These are all classically trained singers,” Rude enthused.

“Three days is enough because all of the actors have jobs,” she said.

 

  The Peter Rothstein penned  “All is Calm: The Christmas Truce on 1914” (Erick Lichte and Timothy C Takach composed the musical arrangements) is inspired by an actual event which happened on Christmas Eve, 1914 in the middle of the First World War.

 

“It’s a miracle. A German soldier waving a white flag proceeded to walk across No Mans Land abut 50 miles outside of Ypres, Belgium, singing ‘Silent Night.’  It’s a miracle he wasn’t killed. A British officer met him and shook his hand. They soldiers ended up singing  Christmas carols and exchanging gifts. But the truce only lasted until the end of Christmas Day,” Rude summarized, noting all of the dialogue in the production comes from the journals, letters and poetry written by the soldiers, which makes the story all the more poignant.

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University of Lethbridge glad to be back on stage with Design for Living

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The University of Lethbridge is excited to be back, live on stage with  their production of Noel Coward’s 1932  comedy “Design For Living,” running Nov. 16 - 20  at 7:30 pm in the University Theatre.

Melanie Friesen, Andrew Burniston and Carter Debusschere rehearse for Design For Living. Photo by Richard Amery

 

“Design For Living” is about three young and up and coming artists , Gilda (Melanie Friesen), Otto (Andrew Burniston ) and Leo ( Carter Debusschere) coming of age who find themselves in the middle of a love triangle.

 

“ It’s a play (director) Jay Whitehead and I wanted to put on stage a couple of years ago,”  but we couldn’t because  of Covid,” said set and costume designer  and faculty member Julia Wasilewski.

 

“It’s a comedy of manners. Noel Coward really was ahead of his time,” she said, adding   the play explores love and gender.

She said  though Coward penned the play almost 100 years ago and  would have got into trouble over the subject matter if  not handled delicately, the theme of love is universal regardless of gender.

“ Love is love is love,” she said, adding that is what the main trio discover as they resolve their issues.

 The 11 cast members play 12  characters living at the end of the roaring ’20s and beginning of the Great Depression, 1928-1932 in Paris, London and New York City. 

 

They have been rehearsing since the beginning of October.

 

“A lot happened during those years,” Wasilewski said noting she and her crew had to  create three different apartment sets spanning several different years, and supply  numerous props,  all of which had to be sanitized and made Covid safe.

 

Assistant director Kacie Hall, who was involved with last year’s Zoom theatre presentation during which the cast rehearsed and  performed  from their individual residences, is excited to be back on stage.

 

“We‘re very excited  to be back in this space in front of people,” Hall said, emphasizing the issues explored in the play are still relevant today.

“Surprisingly it is. It explores sexuality and different relationships,” she said.

Actor Andrew Burniston, who plays Otto, is excited to be in front of an audience.

 

“ It feels so good to be  in the same space again. With Zoom, I don’t know what it was, we may have created a whole new medium,” he said, adding he is excited to play a character living in the ’20s and 30s.

 He is excited about opening night.

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Makiisma to be part of local filming of Roku’s RiseUP series about touring musicians

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Megan Brown and her band Makiisma are excited to “Rise Up” on streaming service Roku.

 

The local doom folk band are part of a new series called RiseUP exploring the effects of Covid on touring musicians, which will be filming at the Slice, Tuesday, Oct. 26.

 

Makiisma play a special filming of RiseUP at the Slice on Tuesday, Oct. 26. Photo by Richard Amery

“ The series follows five different bands as they tour across Canada and the U.S.,” Brown said, adding she was excited when Slice owner Derek Hoyle approached her about being part of the Lethbridge shoot, which features Calgary singer songwriter Kyley Styles supporting his album  ‘Creating my Colours,’ Edmonton rap rock band Revolution Engine, Mexican hard rock band the B34st, Vancouver musician Tim Steinruck and Edmonton heavy rock band Sun of the Moon.

 

 This episode begins with  the Lethbridge date starting the Albertan leg of the tour in Lethbridge, Oct. 26, followed by Red Deer, Canmore, Calgary and ending in Edmonton.

 

Brown noted Makiisma will only be part of the Lethbridge show and expects the episode to air in the Spring.

 

 Makiisma includes Megan Brown on vocals, guitar and violin, drummer Keenan Pezderic, keyboardist TJ Waltho and bassist Kieran Swinney. His brother James Swinney will play extra guitar when Brown is playing violin.

 

“ We’ll be playing  a half hour, the other bands will be playing about 20 minutes. It will be a great night of music, ” she said.

 

“ I was so excited when Derek asked me to be part of it. I’ve never been on a reality TV show ,” she enthused.

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New West Theatre cautiously announces first part of new season

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New West Theatre is proceeding with caution due to Covid, so they have only announced two new  shows in their upcoming season.

 

“We’re still proceeding with caution,” said New West theatre artistic director Kelly Reay, who is excited to be back in the Yates Theatre.

 

New West Theatre has announced some of their new season. Photo by Richard Amery

He noted the Yates and Sterndale Bennett Theatre are both part of the vaccine exemption program, so patrons will have to show proof of vaccination, medical proof of exemption or a negative Covid test and wear masks while enjoying the show.

 

“ But we’re still optimistic. So we’re only releasing the schedule a piece at a time,” Reay continued, noting with so much negativity in the air, it is all the more important to spread joy and positivity.

 

 The first big show will be “Ode To Joy,” another of New West Theatre’s much enjoyed comedy-music revues. It will run in the Yates Theatre from Dec. 15-31.

 

“It will star the usual cast of characters performing new and old favourites,” he continued.

 

“Given the way the world is today, we really feel like our duty is to bring joy and laughter to people. Live performances bring people together. We want to provide a little bit of levity,” he said, adding they will announce more shows as things hopefully improve.

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