Arts & Culture News

Open Season

King’s Theatrical Society’s Frist Season Brings Big Changes

By Seana Stevenson -October 28th, 2011

The King’s Theatrical Society decided to take a different route with their 81st year. The executive choose a smaller season of five strong plays, where directors have more than beautiful dialogue but intricate sets, techniques and costumes. This season offers more comedies, and different approaches to stories King’s students know well.
Dave Etherington, KTS vice president, explained the rationale behind this year’s decision to switch up the format of the KTS seasons. “The reason we did that is that Chloe (Hung, director of Noises Off) came to us with a pitch that required an immense build, and this is a show that everyone wanted to do.” Choosing Noises Off for Second Season meant that Hung would have three weeks undisturbed in the Pit to build her set. “We were trying just to think outside the box,” Etherington said.
Thinking outside the box seems to be the theme this year. With a smaller season, they’ve allowed more elaborate productions and longer production weeks.
Another update to the KTS is the KSU-funded, and King’s Dance Collective co-ownership of the floor for the Red Room. The Mylar flooring is also portable and can be used in other rooms as well as the Pit. “The King’s Student Union just gave us $2,400 to purchase three rolls of Mylar flooring.” Said Etherington.
This floor will help to transform the Red Room from a classroom into a more viable performance space. “This flooring we got for three main reasons. One is a dark surface that can be applied and than taken off the red room floor. The second is the floor is very slippery, so if you are doing a show with a lot of movement, it is very dangerous for the actors. And the third reason we went with Mylar is it’s springy, which is an ideal dance surface,” said Etherington.
While the Red Room is opening up its doors for more use, the Pit will be lowering its capacity in 2012. “We are waiting for a decision from the Property, Grounds and Safety committee as to whether or not they are going to put the fire capacity on immediately,” said Etherington. That capacity is 60 people.
Luckily, the capacity issues will not be affecting the first show of the year, Art directed by two first-year students, Laura Gallagher-Doucette and Miranda Jones. The two were thrilled to be able to discuss their show, and when asked what the show meant to them, they looked at each other with giant smiles on their faces and replied “So much!”
Gallagher-Doucette describes the show as a “three-hander. It’s a dark comedy and it revolves around a work of art. It’s about three friends. One of them buys a modern art painting that is completely white.”
“For 200,000 Franks,” Jones chimes in. “Right, and the three friends get into an argument about whether or not that’s a valid expression of art and what art is. That leads them to question their friendship and what they have in common,” continued Doucette.
Having first-years direct is also a point of pride with Etherington and the KTS. “We think one of the best things about the King’s Theatrical Society, unlike other theatrical groups, is that you don’t have to wait until your third or fourth year to get some of the top jobs. Directing is a thrilling experience and you don’t have to wait.”
Art runs in the Pit, Wednesday, November 9th through Saturday, November 12th.
The Penelopiad
“I’m incredibly thrilled for that show. It’s got an all female cast, which I think is excellent because…we have so many women actors here, and they are always struggling, generally, for a smaller number of parts… That was very exciting for us. Ideally we would like to see that ratio continue in a direction where we have more female roles than male to reflect the people who come out and audition,” Etherington said.
The Penelopiad is directed by fourth-year student Shannon Ireland and will take place Tuesday, November 15th through Saturday November 19th. This show not only shows off the immense talent of the female population at King’s but it also gives a female viewpoint to a tale written by a man.
As Ireland explained, “the play starts off with Penelope standing up in the underworld, she’s been dead for years and year by now and says, ‘Odysseus has been telling this story, and everyone knows that version. Now it’s time for me to tell my version of the story.’ So it’s sort of about giving a voice back to women. It’s written by a current living Canadian woman (Margaret Atwood) but it’s about getting us to start thinking about examining women’s voices at the time.”
“It’s going to be different in that it is a much smaller musical than before; it’s only four parts. We’re doing it in the Red Room. Before we’ve done these giant chorus-filled pieces, so this is definitely going to be a different look,” said Etherington.
“[title of show] is about two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical,” said director Jasmine Hare. “The catch is that they are the characters in their own show. The show chronicles its own creation from its humble beginnings to its opening night on Broadway.”
“I think it will resonate with King’s students because it’s about writing and creating, and I think we have a very creative community here. It’s very funny and heartfelt, and also has a lot of swearing and jokes about masturbating. Who doesn’t love that?”
[title of show] is taking place Monday November 21st through Saturday November 26th.
Third-year student Laura Vingoe-Cram is directing the first play of second semester, An Ideal Husband. “It means an exploration of different interactions and really getting at the heart of personal and public interactions. That I think is fascinating because I think we all go through it all the time. Who we are comfortable with and who we have to put on a mask for.”
Vingoe-Cram is taking the play and is experimenting with a variety of techniques, acting, directing, and costumes, in order to achieve a more stylized look.
“I’m basically taking that idea of the public and private sphere that is represented in the play and am playing with it with different acting techniques. So I want to make the public sphere very stylized…just cobbling together a certain directing technique to sort of work through the play. Also in the costumes and the set…they are going to be very representational of the time period, using a lot of found materials…but also trying to get to the underpinnings of the characters and their histories.”
An Ideal Husband takes place in the Pit Wednesday, January 11th through Saturday January 14th.
The last full show of the first season is fourth year student Brendan Sangster’s A Mouthful of Birds. This piece is a dance drama, which deals with very intense subject matter. “How the plot works is its seven individual vignettes and seven individual characters totally separate from each other and it’s all connected through the story of Euipides’ ‘Bacchae’. Each of the characters shows a different side of possession, or depression or violence within their lives,” said Sangster.
Sangster hopes that working closely with his cast and crew will bring out an organic, original piece. “I’m really hoping to bring something new to it with the cast and with Julia Hutt, who is the choreographer and basically assistant director. I’m hoping just to bring a new light to something we don’t know. It’s so different; it itself and the script are so ultimately different that hopefully people will walk away feeling something.”
A Mouthful of Birds takes place in the Pit Tuesday, January 24th through Saturday January 28th.

By David J. Shuman

David is the current editor-in-chief of The Watch and writes on student issues and events. Find him on Twitter: @DavidJShuman

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