Hamlette, Virtual Reality headline An Evening of One Act Plays
It’s that time of year again, when plays travel in twos at the Studio Theatre in Perth, for An Evening of One Act Plays. This year’s edition brings you two comedies for the price of one — actually less than the price of one, but more about that later…
The first one-act play of the evening is Hamlette, a parody of Shakespeare’s masterpiece, written, with tongue firmly in cheek, by Alison Williams. Something is funny in the state of Denmark! Hamlet is not a man at all, but a woman. And although the story is (roughly) the same — ghosts, castles and strange marriages — it’s all very much played for laughs. Sort of a cheese Danish with sugar on top.
Annie West stars as Hamlette, along with Studio Theatre veterans Lucas Tennant, Janet Rice, Annette Cole (Huton), and Barb Guthrie. Behind the scenes, Yogi Sepp mans the lighting board, while Roberta Peets directs traffic as stage manager. The set is designed and built by Reiner Silberhorn, with set dressing and propping by Penny Silberhorn. Costume designer Patricia Parry creates the period attire for the stars to shine in, and Laurie Reesor makes the whole zany affair come together as Director.
The second short play of the evening is Virtual Reality, written by the legendary actor/playwright Alan Arkin. In this quirky one-act gem, two shady characters wait for equipment to arrive for an unspecified job, and the one in charge insists on doing an inventory of the crates. What follows is pure theatrical magic, calling forth virtual objects and bones of contention. As the characters are transported to a frozen wilderness they grow close, they grow apart, they become mortal enemies. Imagine the testy, silly one-upmanship of Abbott and Costello crossed with the menacing ambiguity of Harold Pinter (screenwriter of “Sleuth”) and you’ll get the idea. Jane Stott directs this deeply funny, finely honed tribute to the conjuring powers of theatre, starring award winning actors Lucas Tennant and Joanna McAuley Treffers.
“I saw a rehearsal of this show last week and it’s really something unique — hard to describe because we’ve never seen anything like it — no set, no props, just two brilliant actors, two characters telling a story that relies entirely on body language and comic timing.
I was mesmerized by the way actors Joanna McAuley Treffers and Lucas Tennant disappear into their roles as two shady characters at odds with each other, all the while taking inventory of imaginary objects that they make us see in our imaginations. It’s really something to witness. It’s theatrical magic!
I should say that there is some language in the show, but it’s not gratuitous, and it’s there to help define the characters. I loved this show.”
– Paul Joyce
As in years past, An Evening of One Act Plays is a tantalizing preview of the Eastern Ontario Drama League’s One-Act Play Festival, this year hosted by Rural Root Theatre in Constance Bay Nov. 3 & 4.
Hamlette will be the Studio Theatre’s entry in the 2017 edition, where our theatre has a storied history of success: last year alone at the Festival (held here in Perth) the Studio Theatre’s production of The Real Inspector Hound won Festival awards for Best Director, Best Acting, Best Production, and the People’s Choice Award for Favourite Play. This year’s entry will no doubt continue that winning tradition.
An Evening of One Act Plays premieres at the Studio Theatre in Perth for four shows only, October 26, 27 and 28 at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, Oct. 29 at 2 pm. And this year you can experience both of these bite-size one act comedies, Hamlette and Virtual Reality, for just $15!
Tickets Please, in the Matheson House Museum Visitor Centre, 11 Gore St. E. (613 485-6434; ticketsplease.ca) both of which accept in-store, phone, online and credit card purchases and charge a modest convenience fee.
Tickets are $15 at the door, and $10 at the door for students with ID.
PLEASE NOTE: Studio Theatre Season Pass holders may be eligible for a partial rebate on their ticket, except on tickets purchased for opening night performances. Please visit the Box Office on arrival for details. And go to studiotheatreperth.com for more information.
Enjoy a smile and a little theatre magic as An Evening of One Act Plays takes the stage at the Studio Theatre, October 26th through 29th. It’s the best entertainment deal in town!
Article by Paul Joyce / Photos by Bruce Raby