First time entrants in the Peace River Zone – was it beginners luck for the Grizzly Valley Players? Performing an original script, the drama company took stage at the North Peace Cultural Centre on Saturday, May 16 at 7:00 pm.
Director Erin Hanna doesn?t concern herself with clichés such as beginner?s luck. The fact that they came away with three awards was indeed rewarding no matter how it happened.
Traveling with as portable a stage as they could, and not having had experience with lighting were two reasons that Hanna assumed would take them out of the running for those specific categories. Costuming was presumably who used glitter and a seamstress. Not so. Winning Best Set; Best Technical (Lighting of Props) and Honorable Mention for Costuming delighted and shocked the cast.
The story involves the fall-out of emotions following the death of their estranged father. It is a dramatic piece, the first of that kind performed by the drama group. Their usual fare is light-hearted bordering on slapstick or farce.
The adjudicator for this year?s theatre competition was Michael Armstrong, a playwright, actor and director with 35 years know-how. His additional experience with set design, stage management, lighting and sound has been to the benefit of community theatre throughout British Columbia. Armstrong?s job was to adjudicate fairly and with that came some hard knocks for directors, actors and everyone involved with the final project of putting on a play
The competition began Tuesday, May 12 with two plays back to back. The first play, ?The Melancholy Minstrel? (Fort St. John) was written and directed by Cynthia Livingstone, in an ongoing series of plays written especially for the drama company, Fort St. John Players. The 15-member troupe is a group of adults with developmental disabilities that usually performs for young audiences and incorporates the means to inspire inclusion of everybody.
Also on Tuesday night, the North Peace Players (For St. John) took stage to perform ?The Spot? which humorously tells the tale of an entourage of people wanting to be part of a political television endorsement.
Wednesday evening was the performance of ?Einstein?, the life overview of the man himself, as played by Dennis Szalia of the drama company Bridge 2 Broadway (Fort St. John). Szalai was the sole performer in this two-act play.
Thursday night, the play ?Rabbit Hole? (Fort St. John) was performed by the Stage North Theatre Society. The play entails the journey of a family searching for some comfort after a tragic accident changes their life forever.
Dionysus Theatre Company (Dawson Creek) performed Friday evening. Their play,
?The Marriage Counselor? was a two-act farce comedy that followed the chaotic misunderstanding that a vacuum cleaner salesman was the marriage counselor for a quarrelling couple.
Saturday evening was the big night for the Grizzly Valley Players (Tumbler Ridge). Nine cast members traveled to the Peace River Zone to perform the two-act play that tells the story of an adult family coming to terms with their troubled childhood and the fall-out from that.
The Chair of the festival Committee for the 2009 Peace River Zone Festival was Bill Unger of Fort St. John. The following awards were presented:
Best Director: Cynthia Livingstone for the Fort St. John Players performance of ?The Melancholy Minstrel? written by Cynthia Livingstone.
Best Costumes: ?The Melancholy Minstrel? (Fort St. John Players).
Best Supporting Actor: Zachary Scott for his portrayal of Jason in Stage North Theatre Society?s production of ?Rabbit Hole?, written by David Lindsay-Abaire
Best Actor: Dennis Szalai for his portrayal of Einstein in Bridge 2 Broadway?s production of ?Einstein? written by Willard Simms
Best Supporting Actress: Aubyn Petryshyn for her portrayal of Izzy in ?Rabbit Hole?.
Best Actress: Terry Boyle for her portrayal of Becca in ?Rabbit Hole?,
Best Ensemble: ?The Melancholy Minstrel? (Fort St. John).
Best Technical: Grizzly Valley Players of Tumbler Ridge for ?The Forgotten House?, written by Erin Hanna.
Best Set: ?The Forgotten House? (Grizzly Valley Players).
Best Newbie Actor: Tryna Gower from Dawson Creek?s Dionysus Theatre Society for her portrayal of Susan in Joey Ouellette?s ?The Marriage Counselor?.
Runner Up Best Production: ?Einstein?, (Fort St. John)
Best Production: ?Rabbit Hole?, (Fort St. John)
John Barry Memorial Award – given in recognition of exceptional service to the Peace River Zone: Cynthia Livingstone.
A local performance of ?The Forgotten House? is scheduled for dinner theatre in mid-July. Please watch for postings. Congratulations to the Grizzly Valley Players on their hat trick of awards for their first Peace River Zone entry.