HUNTSVILLE – With no prior experience, a group of women aim high when they decide to not only form a drama group, but to enter their play in a drama festival, with hopes of making it to the finals.
The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society’s Production of Macbeth, opens this week on March 14 with a post-show gala of champagne, wine and cheese.
The Huntsville Community Theatre Company presents The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society’s Production of Macbeth this month.
The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Women’s Guild Dramatic Society diligently work to make their production of Macbeth good enough to impress the adjudicator, Mr. George Peach, so that he will select them for the area finals. And although this enthusiastic townswomen’s guild should stick with selling preservatives and pie raffles, their commitment to their production is an experience not to be missed.
“These ladies, who meet probably once a month, have decided to get together and form a little drama group, and they have also decided to put on a very challenging play – Shakespeare’s Macbeth – and not only that, but they want to enter it into the drama festival and hope to get to the finals,” said director Jodie Auckland. “The fact that this is their very first attempt at putting on a play does not daunt them, and they truly believe they are doing well. As the show unfolds you realize that this is not quite the truth.”
Under the talented direction of Auckland, this British farce comes to life as soon as the audience enters the theatre and promises to have you leaving with sore cheeks from laughter.
“What I love about this play is that we have all been there. Anyone who has acted has experienced the terror of the forgotten line, or the prop malfunction, or the set disaster. These ladies and men lurch from one crisis to another, but keep going in the face of it all. The humour comes not just from all the things going ‘wrong’ but from the interactions between the various cast members,” said Auckland. “We have upstaging at its best, feuds and animosity amongst the cast, friendships and giggles, and of course, a harried producer/director who just about loses it in the end.”
The cast of Macbeth begins with seven members of the Farndale Townswomen Guild, with their production crew being all male. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, substitutions need to be made with the “show must go on” attitude.
The technical crew behind the scenes, are not-so-behind-the-scenes that is typical in a stage production. Jane Morris heads up the backstage crew as stage manager.
“This is my first time performing the duties of a stage manager and I couldn’t have picked a more challenging production. But I love it,” said Morris.
Along with husband Geoff Morris, who is in charge of props and assists backstage, Bryce Drinkwater and Peter Sild round out the backstage crew and certainly have their work cut out for them. At the helm with lighting design and operation is Alastair Dunlop. And in charge of sound design and operation is Clayton Stroud. And of course, those who made the curtains and costumes, constructed and painted the set, took photos, sold tickets, made special make-up effects, handed out programs, designed our posters and sponsored us.
The cast heralds the familiar faces of Emilie Berry, Caroline Heyblom, Cydney Jones, Victoria Hammond, Jayne Drinkwater, Greg Perras, Andy Bartle, Steven Jacklin and making her stage debut, is Nicole Greenfield as president of the Farndale Guild, Mrs. Reece.
“The actors have all invested so much into making these people come to life. If you were to ask them, they could tell you so much more about their character beyond what you see on the stage. They have added all those little nuances that make it so believable, and that is a director’s dream come true,” Auckland said. “To have worked with these amazingly talented people has been an honour. I crafted the bones of the play, but the actors were the ones who put the flesh on the skeleton. And as for the production crew ... they have worked tirelessly to ensure that my vision was able to be put into reality. They are truly out of the box thinkers.”
In the final rehearsals, it comes down to timing, cues and technicalities.
“This is the most exciting time during a production,” said producer Jan Jacklin. “Transforming a community hall into an 84-seat studio theatre, setting up dressing rooms, organizing all the costumes and props, mounting all the stage lighting, hooking up the sound system, hours upon hours of rehearsing and memorizing. It all comes down to that opening night where we are so ready for an audience we are about to burst.”
The theatre company’s production of The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society’s Production of Macbeth, opens this week on March 14 with a post-show gala of champagne, wine and cheese.
“I look forward to watching people’s faces on our opening night, and to hearing much laughter and joy, and to seeing our wonderful cast bring this fabulously funny play to life as only they can,” said Auckland.
The run continues on March 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23 with all shows starting at 7:30 p.m. and are performed at the Studio Theatre at Chaffey Hall (off Muskoka Road 3, just past the hospital). Advance tickets are available at Treasures & Trophies for $15 (including opening night) or are $18 at the door.
Jacklin thanks sponsorship from Rick Wearing and Sandra Parrot of Royal LePage Muskoka Lakes, which allows the theatre company to keep their ticket costs to a minimum. For further information, contact Jacklin at firstname.lastname@example.org.