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Posts tagged ‘Suzette McCanny’

One More Time With Feeling… And A Beer, Of Course! The Cast of “The Comedy of Errors” on the final Fringe hurrah for Shakespeare BASH’d

by Bailey Green

One of my first articles for In the Greenroom was an interview about the Shakespeare BASHd production of Loves Labours Lost. I remember the amazing atmosphere of the rehearsal room and how much everyone laughed. Two years later, I could not be more thrilled to be making my Toronto Fringe debut with this incredible cast, crew and company. Here are some glimpses into our process. We cant wait to share it with you. Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.

Comedy of Errors 2 - Tim Welham and Kelly Penner (as Dromio and Antipholus), photo by Kyle Purcell

Tim Welham and Kelly Penner Twinning. Photo by Kyle Purcell.

Tim Welham, who plays Dromio of Syracuse and of Ephesus, on acting Shakespearean text:

As an actor living in Canada in 2016, my world view is considerably different from someone living in Elizabethan England in 1594. Four hundred years of cultural shifts makes working within the images and references of the text feel like a herculean task. Sometimes when read, the grammar seems awkward, the sentence structure appears backwards and the words sound archaic. So I well understand why confusion and frustration is a common reaction when first reading Shakespeare.

But Shakespeare’s words were never originally intended to be read. They were meant to be spoken aloud and performed; designed for a stage, and intended for ears. This is why the language comes alive in a listener’s ear; crackling and popping into being.

While it sometimes takes serious academic work to comprehend Shakespearean textual meaning, the work of embodying how a character thinks, speaks, feels and imagines is a simpler, more practical process of allowing the language to inspire your imagination and alter your mind, body, heart and soul.

This is how an onstage Shakespearean character is created: through the sounds of the words, and how they affect the imagination of both the actor and audience. This is, of course, more difficult than it sounds, but the brilliance of Shakespeare’s writing makes it possible. By allowing the words to affect an actor’s mind, body, heart, and soul, the character is birthed into being, and a unique imaginative sonic world is created in turn for the audience.

The language, and the images the words conjure, must always be the starting point when working on Shakespeare’s texts. A Shakespearean character is just like any other human being: they have a wide vocabulary to articulate their incredible humanity – and that is a gift for any actor.

Comedy of Errors 1 - Kelly Penner as Antipholus, photo by Kyle Purcell

Kelly Penner as Antipholous of Syracuse and Ephesus. Photo by Kyle Purcell.

Kelly Penner, who plays Antipholous of Syracuse and of Ephesus, on playing double:

I was pretty excited by the idea of playing these two guys. I GET the idea of two actors playing two parts, and I’m sure I could get into it, but I dislike the idea. At least I find it far less interesting, because who are you fooling, really? Not us (the audience) but you would expect us (the audience) to believe this. “Oh, those two guys are wearing the same clothes. They must be TWINS!” So when I was asked to do this I was excited by the idea and the challenge.

Continuing from the idea of the clothes I would also dislike the idea of Antipholous of Syracuse having a limp or glasses or a mustache etc, while Antiphous of Ephesus has a hump or monocle or beard. Again, you expect [the audience] to believe this? When I finally started to build my twins, I wanted things to be simpler. My cast mate/friend/part-time lover Dave Gingerich said to me after the first read that one Antipholous was country and the other Antipholous was city. Once I had those general headings to build under, it happened pretty quickly.

Now, I had an idea where they came from, how they might speak and ideas of how they would have grown up. From there, I tried to find a simple physical and vocal cue that would help give a clear switch for myself. That’s really it. After that I just tried to learn all the lines and be open to ideas and impulses.

Oh, and breathe, listen, and trust. Those old gems.

Comedy of Errors 3 - Suzette McCanny as Adriana, photo by Kyle Purcell

Suzette McCanny as Adriana. Photo by Kyle Purcell.

Suzette McCanny, who plays Adriana, on returning to the Victory Cafe, one last time:

There is nowhere in the world I would rather be July 1st than on the deep carpeted stage of the Victory Cafe. Before I was involved as an actor with Shakespeare BASH’d, I was a dedicated fan! Lining up in the sticky Fringe heat to get a spot and a beer. The energy from the upstairs bar/theatre overflowed down the stairs and drew me in.

I have been privileged to be involved in the Shakespeare BASH’d Fringe show for the last three years and in that time I have been so lucky to work on some of Shakespeare’s lesser known plays. To the Shakespeare geeks out there perhaps Love’s Labours Lost, The Merry Wives of Windsor and The Comedy of Errors would not be considered obscure but I had not seen any of them in production before I was cast in the shows. What freedom and what a treat to pour myself into a brand new work from an old friend.

The women in these shows are mature and feisty. Fireballs who are full of love and justice. Even when the 400 year old text is complicated politically or sociologically, in the hands of Julia [Nish-Lapidus] and James [Wallis], I find that Shakespeare’s love for and understanding of humanity bubbles up from the depths and cannot go unnoticed. No character is shallow or incomplete.

When I first graduated from theatre school, that first year felt impossibly long and lonely but then summer came around and that first Fringe erupted. I was overwhelmed by the tent, the community, the celebration of one another’s accomplishments! I had lived through the dreary winter and had discovered manna from heaven! All my long lost friends, all the people I admired crowded into these two weeks of joy. I didn’t know then that it was cyclical and that this feeling would be back next year and that it is a part of the Toronto Theatre ecosystem, there to sustain us and give us energy to get through the dank months of February and March.

So this year, as Shakespeare BASH’d gets ready for the most exciting party of the year and says farewell to the space that has housed their overflowing energy for years, I am comforted because I know this feeling is not going anywhere. This energy is ours forever. Thank you to the community for your talent, your energy and your enthusiasm. Merry Fringemas to all and to all a good tent! See you at the Vic!

The Comedy of Errors

Presented by Shakespeare BASH’d as part of the 2016 Toronto Fringe Festival

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Photo by Kyle Purcell

Who:
Written By: William Shakespeare
Company: Shakespeare BASH’d
Director: Julia Nish-Lapidus
Cast: Bailey Green, David Mackett, Suzette McCanny, Brenhan McKibben, Julia Nish-Lapidus, Drew O’Hara, Kelly Penner, David Ross, James Wallis
Creative team:
Megan Miles – Associate Director
James Walllis, Julia Nish-Lapidus – Producers
Jade Douris – Associate Producer
Kyle Purcell – Director of Marketing
Nate Bitton – Fight Director

What:
It’s the biggest party of the year and you’re invited! Join Shakespeare BASH’d in bidding a fond farewell to the Toronto Fringe the only way they know how…by having a huge party with the best audience in the city. Don’t miss their final Fringe performance: The Comedy of Errors, the Bard’s hilarious tale of shipwrecks, mistaken identity, and all out madness!

Where:
Victory Café, 581 Markham Street

When:
July 1st at 7:00 PM
July 2nd at 5:00 PM
July 2nd at 9:00 PM
July 3rd at 5:00 PM
July 5th at 7:00 PM
July 6th at 7:00 PM
July 7th at 7:00 PM
July 8th at 7:00 PM
July 9th at 7:00 PM
July 10th at 5:00 PM

Tickets: fringetoronto.com

Connect:
Web: shakespearebashd.com
Twitter: @ShakesBASHd

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2014 Fringe Preview – Love’s Labour’s Lost – Shakespeare BASH’d

Interview by Bailey Green

As I entered the rehearsal hall for Love’s Labour’s Lost (presented by Shakespeare BASH’d) I was struck by the amount of people in the room. With no role double cast, the cast of 16 generated such an exuberant atmosphere that I couldn’t believe they had just finished a run. Their attitude as an ensemble reflected the youthful energy of the play.

In Love’s Labour’s Lost, the King of Navarre and his three men swear an oath to remain celibate so that they can focus on academic pursuits. Unfortunately the day after the men swear this oath, the Princess of France and her three ladies—a group of fierce, grounded, intelligent women—arrive on a political mission. Passion, poetry and chaos ensue. I sat down with the four—that’s right, four—pairs of lovers to chat about their character’s relationships, their own quirks and the upcoming Fringe production.

Love's Labour's Lost - Hallie Seline & Jesse Nerenburg - Photo Credit: Jesse Griffiths & Kyle Purcell

Love’s Labour’s Lost – Hallie Seline & Jesse Nerenberg – Photo Credit: Jesse Griffiths & Kyle Purcell

Princess of France (Hallie Seline) and the King of Navarre (Jesse Nerenberg)

Hallie’s Pet Peeve: Slow walkers.
Jesse’s Fave Rehearsal Snack: The vietnamese steamed buns from Banh Mi Boyz
Post-Show Drink of Choice: “Wine wine wine” (Hallie), Hawaiian Pale Ale (Jesse).
Describe your characters’ relationship:
Hallie: We’re both people in power. We like to outwit each other, top each other. We don’t want to admit that we’re into each other but we are. We totally are.
Jesse: We’re both the leaders of our kingdoms so that definitely plays a part. But why I’m attracted to her is because she’s not afraid to push back. I don’t see her for many pages after the first meeting, but when I do, I am really in love with her. I’ve written all of these poems about her. Once you’re in, you’re in.

Love's Labour's Lost - Suzette McCanny and Jeff Hanson - Photo Credit: Jesse Griffiths & Kyle Purcell

Love’s Labour’s Lost – Suzette McCanny and Jeff Hanson – Photo Credit: Jesse Griffiths & Kyle Purcell

Rosaline (Suzette McCanny) and Berowne (Jeff Hanson)

Suzette’s Pet Peeve: Bus windshield wipers.
Jeff’s Favourite Rehearsal Snack: Chocolate chip cookies.
Post show drink of choice: Apricot beer (Suzette), “Any drink anyone will buy for me” (Jeff)
Describe your character’s relationship:
Suzette: They have such a love/hate relationship, as in they love to get the best of one another. Rosaline would like to pretend she doesn’t love him or that she’s better than that. But she’s very intrigued by his wit. She thinks he’s smart and he can hold his own next to her. She also sees his cons and can be open about that. She can be herself with him.
Jeff: They had met before at the same party [as Longaville and Maria] and for Berowne he doubts the oath the men all swear to right from the beginning. He doesn’t really think it is going to work. Berowne’s always had control over his emotions and has never fallen madly in love. When they first meet, what Rosaline says to him, how she uses her wit and beats him at his own game, it really intrigues him. He doesn’t really get it, being in love, he’s taken aback. He almost goes through the seven stages of grief, but more like the seven stages of love. He doesn’t understand why but he does truly love her.

Love's Labour's Lost - Catherine Rainville & Joshua Browne - Photo Credit: Jesse Griffiths & Kyle Purcell

Love’s Labour’s Lost – Catherine Rainville & Joshua Browne – Photo Credit: Jesse Griffiths & Kyle Purcell

Katherine (Catherine Rainville) and Dumaine (Joshua Browne)

Catherine’s Pet Peeve: People chatting in the background while she’s rehearsing a scene
Josh’s Rehearsal Snack: Cigarettes. If he could eat ’em, he would.
Post show drink of choice: A glass of Scotch (both).
Describe your character’s relationship:
Catherine: It’s so instantaneous for everyone, but Dumaine and Katherine have moments of looking at each other and trying to figure each other out. It’s really playful. I get to be aggressive which is fun. We all tease the boys, which for Katherine is her way of playing hard to get. But she’s so obvious when she’s around him.
Joshua: We don’t have a lot of text together, or any really. But we have built this aspect of Katherine being the aggressor. I catch her checking me out at the beginning and I’m a bit more timid. I’m sort of shocked she likes me. Similarly [to the Princess and the King] we have many pages where we don’t see each other at all yet I’m madly in love and have written horrible poetry about her. She’s also pretty sassy. I like that.

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Love’s Labour’s Lost – Andrew Gaboury & Sheelagh Darling – Photo Credit: Jesse Griffiths & Kyle Purcell

Maria (Sheelagh Darling) and Longaville (Andrew Gaboury)

Sheelagh’s Pet Peeve: People who stand really close to you for no reason. Also, toe shoes.
Andrew’s Favourite Rehearsal Snack: Nuts, specifically almonds.
Post show drink of choice: Oatmeal Stout (Andrew), St. Ambroise Apricot Beer (Sheelagh)
Describe your character’s relationship:
Sheelagh: We really like each other right from the beginning. There’s no qualms, we know we’re going to get together. I play along with the Princess but whenever Longaville’s around I’m just making googly eyes and waving. Even when the rest of the girls are berating and chiding the boys, I’m just still waving at Longaville.
Andrew: We kind of met before, it seems we were at the same party. I’m the most serious in terms of the oath the men swear [to stay away from women]. And then I see Maria and I throw it all away. It’s funny watching how I try to logically get around the oath in my poetry.

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Bailey: What makes this production stand out? What will an audience member experience coming to see your show at the Fringe?

Jesse (King): Love’s Labour’s Lost is a very youthful play, it’s one of Shakespeare’s earlier work and it has a rhyming structure which is really unique. The women hold their own. And it’s not a play that is done very often. People are going to be coming out to see a show where they can have a beer and experience a classic that they may have never seen on stage before.

Josh (Dumaine): It’s zany. The men are writing really bad poetry and dressing up as “Russians”. The show is going to be fast, snappy, fun and silly, but it also has vulnerable moments. It’s really relatable.

Hallie (Princess): James [Wallis], our director, said at the beginning that the best way into this story is through yourself. These characters come alive through the energy of the people doing them. And in this cast you have a bunch of really interesting, funny, weird and smart people who come out through the words of these characters. That’s what makes it fun. I hope that will stand out to our audiences.

Suzette (Rosaline): The characters play the whole time! Let’s play this game, let’s play that game. Whenever I see a BASH’d show I feel like I’m part of the team as an audience member, that I’m part of how the story unfolds. Each time we run the show there’s new surprises. And it’s so refreshing to be in a play where my character doesn’t have to be a lost puppy who only cares about being in love. It’s a love story, for sure, but there’s an edge. My goal in life is not just “to be loved by another person.” I still feel that’s very rare.

Jeff (Berowne): People will get a sense of [director] James’ respect for the text, but there’s also a joy and a sense of ensemble and the fun that this rehearsal room has been that I feel will be evident for anyone watching. The audience hopefully should go through the journey with us.

Andrew (Longaville): There’s a real sense of great respect for the text, but also using it as a blueprint. There’s a balance of not bulldozing the words, but really using them and at the same time using yourself in the text.

Hallie (Princess): All pomp is taken out of it with a BASH’d show. It has that “Fringe” energy. You go to the Victory Cafe just a step away from the tents and everything that’s going on in the Mirvish alley. You can sit down and have a beer and listen to a classic tale that is so clear and fresh and fun and full of energy. It’s enjoyable, which is sometimes exactly how you want to spend your time. There’s also wonderful dance that happens that I cannot WAIT for each audience to experience.

Bailey: Well I for one can’t wait for the dance number.

Love’s Labour’s Lost

by William Shakespeare, presented by Shakespeare BASH’d

Love's Labour's Lost - Photo by Jesse Griffiths and Kyle Purcell

Love’s Labour’s Lost – Photo by Jesse Griffiths and Kyle Purcell

Directed by James Wallis

Where? The Victory Cafe, 581 Markham St.
When? Thursday, July 3 @7:00pm
Friday, July 4 @ 7:00pm
Saturday, July 5 @9:00pm
Sunday, July 6 @5:00pm
Tuesday, July 8 @7:00pm
Thursday, July 10 @7:00pm
Friday July, 11 @7:00pm
Saturday, July 12 @7:00pm
Sunday, July 13 @5:00pm
Tickets are $12 and can be purchased via the Toronto Fringe website: https://www.fringetix.ca/

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Follow this wild bunch on Twitter:

Shakespeare Bash’d@ShakesBASHd
Hallie Seline (Princess) – @HallieSeline
Joshua Browne@joshu_ashua
Andrew Gaboury (Longaville) – @afieldofcrowns
Jeff Hanson (Berowne) – @The_Hanman
Suzette McCanny (Rosaline) – @suzettemccanny

In the Greenroom Writer Bailey Green: @_baileygreen

** Want In the Greenroom to catch your Fringe show or have an interesting idea for an interview? Email us at inthegreenroom.ca@gmail.com! **

Speaking about the Unspoken with Written on Water Theatre

April 26th, 2012

By: Ryan Quinn

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This past week, I caught up with a few of the members of Written on Water to speak about their contribution to the Tennessee Project, Something Unspoken…

Click here to read the interview.