May. 18, 2011 - Issue #813: Choose your own adventure
From Cradle to Stage
A glimpse inside Walterdale's annual one-act festival
The three new scripts—all written by local playwrights—were selected by a jury as the best of 21 one-acts submitted to From Cradle to Stage, the Walterdale's annual one-act festival. Two of these three plays are Poetry Unbound by Robert Zimmer and Even the Walls have Eyes by Sherryl Melnyk. The last is Hope is Dead, a dramatic piece written by Mike Czuba that will cap off each evening.
"It's about a girl in her mid-to-late teens and an old man around 40 to 60 years old," J Nelson Niwa, the director of Hope is Dead, explains.
"They meet each other under rather strange circumstances—both at a rather low point in their respective lives—and they kind of accidentally start this relationship where they learn about each other and a bit about themselves too, I guess.
"Eventually, it grows into ... well, still a rather unusual relationship, but the play goes to show that there are layers to everyone and sometimes your saviour can come from the most unusual place."
Over the years, Niwa has acted in many plays at the Walterdale (his first role with the Walterdale was as Algernon Moncrieff in 2003's The Importance Of Being Earnest) but this is his first time being the director of a play. The experience, he notes, has been exciting:
"I actually got into directing a few shows ago when I assistant directed Mail Order Bride under Alex Hawkins," he says. "One of the things that I learned from that was that sometimes actors come out and they surprise you," he laughs.
"They come up with something that you never even envisioned. And—even though you never thought of doing it that way— it's a gem. So you keep it, and you adjust the rest of your vision accordingly."
"Last night was a dress rehearsal—and we'd done a few dress rehearsals already," Niwa says, "but for some reason last night it drew me in so much that I forgot that I was supposed to be taking notes and looking for things to work on."
May 18 – 21 and 24 – 28 (8 pm);
Sun, May 22 (2 pm)
Written by Mike Czuba, Sherryl Melnyk, Robert Zimmer
Directed by Vivien Bosley, Sarah Jackson, J Nelson Niwa
Starring Gabby Bernard, Isabelle Chatelain, Alexandria Fortier, Melanie Kerr, Bob Klakowich, Robert MacDougall, Heather Patton, John Trethart
Walterdale Playhouse (10322 - 83 Ave) $12 – $16
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