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Theatre Outré to give Didi d’Edada Christmas spirit with a drag interpretation of “A Christmas Carol’

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Even Didi d’Edada need a boost of Christmas spirit.

 Theatre Outré puts their own twist on Charles Dickens’ Christmas classic “A Christmas Carol” as they welcome the family home for the holidays to perform two shows of “ A Very Didi Christmas Carol,” Friday, Nov. 26 and Saturday, Nov. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at Didi’s Playhaus.

 

David Gabert, Tiny Tim and Jay Whitehead are excited to celebrate A Very Didi Christmas Carol. Photo by Richard Amery

“We have a lot of our favourite local actors,” said Theatre Outré  Artistic director Jay Whitehead, who penned the original musical comedy with Kathy Zaborsky, featuring beloved drag performers Didi d’Edada (Jay Whitehead) and Castrati (Kathy Zaborsky) and a lot of Lethbridge drag favourites. Aaron Collier and Richie Wilcox also make an appearance through sound cues.

 

“It’s the whole Club Didi family. We’re workshopping this script with a staged reading for the world premiere,” Whitehead said.

 

“The whole family stops by to give Scrooge character Didi d’Edada the Christmas spirit. Didi’s heart is opened by a Tiny Tim puppet, ” Whitehead said.

 

The 12 member cast includes familiar faces from numerous local theatre groups including New West Theatre, Shakespeare In the Park, Impromptu and Theatre Outré.

 

 Whitehead and Zaborsky will be joined by Cole Olson, Erica Barr, Katie Fellger,  Ashley Thomson,  Deonie Hudson, Jordan Payne, Erica Hunt, David Gabert, Stephanie Wickham and Katrina Violet.

“But there’s costumes and music and decorations,” added Theatre Outré General Manager, David Gabert.

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Playgoers of Lethbridge on the way to 100 uninterrupted years with An Evening of Three-ater

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Playgoers of Lethbridge doesn’t want to break the streak of being Canada’s longest running Theatre Company. They’ll break 100 years in 2023, so to m ensure they reach that goal, they are putting an evening of Three-atre, Nov. 18-20.

 The evening features Elaine Jagielski”s “Loves Best by, Artistic director Rita Peterson directs  a reader’s theatre of “The Best  Christmas Pageant Eve,” and Rob Berezay brings John Carroll’s “ Oh What  A Tangled Web.

“ Because of Covid, it has been extremely difficult to  put on theatre, but we wanted to put on something,” said Peterson.

 

“Covid has made it  challenging to cast a full production, so we thought we’d put on three smaller productions.” she continued. 

 

There are a lot of familiar faces involved with the evening. Rob Berezay directed and starred in “ Where’s Oscar” in 2018.

 

Elaine Jagielski and Shelley David are involved in “Love’s Best By” and  “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.” They are involved with most Playgoers of Lethbridge presentations.

 

 Jagielski debuted  “ Love’s Best By” in the 2018 One Act Play Festival.”

“We want to reach 100 years as Canada’s longest running theatre company,” Peterson said.

 

 The last Playgoers of Lethbridge production was “Daisy,” which closed last March, right before the pandemic hit.

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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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