So, the blog has been fairly slow lately, but I haven’t been! After joining the Sage team I went on to intern with Verb Theatre as part of their devised creation: Of Fighting Age. (Which premeired at the Glenbow Museum as part of the High Performance Rodeo!)
That took us through to Christmas, and directly afterwards I jumped into co-producing and directing No Exit, by Jean-Paul Sartre. This is exciting for me; it’s the first show with a company that I’m starting up specifically with the focus of presenting some of the classic works to Calgary audiences.
You know, I wrote a press release specifically to inform people about the show, so maybe I’ll just leave that here…
VIA THEATRE AND THEATRE BSMT TRANSFORM AN ART GALLERY INTO A CLASSIC VISION OF HELL
Theatre BSMT presents the second show of its season, Jean-Paul Sartre’s classic play, No Exit. Co-produced by VIA Theatre (VIA’s first show) and with the Endeavor Arts Gallery, this production will transform the art gallery into a performance space and will feature some of Calgary’s skilled performers.
The play suggests a drawing room with “Second Empire” furnishings, contrasting the expected image of Hell with an opulent, aesthetically pleasing space. VIA Theatre provides that contrast by presenting the story in the Endeavor Arts Gallery. VIA’s focus is on presenting classic and contemporary plays from the theatre canon and producing these shows in unique spaces that contribute to the story and themes.
Three people are brought by a valet into an opulent drawing room, which, apparently, is situated in Hell. Cradeau, a journalist and deserter from the War; Inez, a secretary with a passion for manipulating others; and Estelle, a high-society woman who denies her reasons for being there. Over the course of the play, the characters replace their practised lies with brutal honesty. They prod each other; they switch between looking for understanding and salvation (and failing), to simply looking to spread some of their pain around.
Endeavor Arts is an excellent home for our production. Endeavor is owned by Maria Elena Hoover and Shannon Hoover, who were both in Avenue’s 2013 class of Top 40 Under 40. The venue has a long history as a music and nightclub scene, but has been many things in its history, and was built by theatre owners in 1908.
Our cast collects excellent Calgary talent:
Joel Cochrane, playing newspaperman Cradeau, is a talented, established voice in Calgary theatre. He has performed with The Shakespeare Company and Downstage, as well as with Ground Zero Theatre. He has been seen in such plays as Sequence, Titus Andronicus, and A Steady Rain. Jennifer Roberts plays socialite Estelle. This talented actress has been a part of the Swallow-a-Bicycle iRobot experience, most recently as part of the Beakerhead city-wide event. She has also won awards for playwriting and poetry, and brings sharp artistic instincts to the production. Tara Marlena Laberge, as middle-class Inez, performs and teaches in Calgary. Recently she performed with Fire Exit Theatre in The Savannah Disputation. She’s also a director, educator, and vocal director. She has worked with such organizations as Minnesota Opera, Saint Paul Conservatory, and StoryBook Theatre. Newcomer DJ Gellatly is a recent graduate from the University of Lethbridge, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. We’re happy to be presenting him to the Calgary theatre community! Theatre BSMT’s mandate to showcase emerging artists is boosted by giving DJ the chance to draw on the combined experience of the No Exit cast and crew.
The show is co-produced and directed by Jason Mehmel. For Theatre BSMT, he last directed Pink Sugar: A Dark Tale of Love, Betrayal and Stolen Body Parts, with sold-out performances. He also participated in Ghost River Theatre’s three-week 2013 Devised Creation Intensive, creating End of the Line with the intensive ensemble. Jason developed VIA Theatre with a core team of collaborators.
No Exit is mentored, as part of Theatre BSMT’s mandate, by the acclaimed Calgary director Kevin McKendrick. His specific experience with classic and contemporary theatre texts informs and deepens our our production. Shane Anderson develops the stage design for this production. He is also the Technical Director for VIA Theatre. He and Jason have collaborated on numerous occasions. Another long-term collaborator, Vanessa Oakley, is the Costume Designer.