K-W and Beyond
by Irena Wandschneider
Theatre & Company
It was last September when a new location for the 12 year old Theatre & Company was open in its first permanent location on King Street in downtown Kitchener. The theatre was operating for 12 years in temporary rented premises and had over 60 plays both Canadian and other to its credit. Some titles were well known, some were first time premieres. Most recently "Lettice and Lovage" was played and I had an opportunity to see it and also view the new facilities.
The theatre has a great location and good exposure; the interior is modern and promising, the main hall allowing for different configurations of seating and stage presentations. It is interesting, it is modern, if a little stark. Once seated and the play started one becomes aware of its strong and weak points. On the strong side the excellent acting, especially of two main characters stood out, less noticeable with the figures. Linda Bush and Kathleen Sheehy carried their parts really well, George Joyce added extra strong comic elements to the last act. The stage design was ingenious and impressive (how to make a huge staircase disappear?).
The weak point is due to the design of the space: The stage was arranged as a protruding island surrounded by a seated audience in U-shape – half of the time the actors were standing with their backs to half of the audience, then turned and stood with their back to the other half. The results - with very poor acoustics- actors could not be heard for half of the time.
If in future the intend is for actors to move freely and
naturally turning around then the voice support system needs to be used. In
modern days it is a common feature in lecture halls or conferences – why not
use it in a several hundred seats theatre?
Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre
Another local theatre – really small, about 45 seats – staged "No Exit" by Jean-Paul Sartre. It was an ambitious endeavour. In most cases small theatres put comedies on, the audience laughs, not much to be prepared for, not much to think about. Nobody gets tired or offended.
Well, "No Exit" is not a comedy. The centre play of French existentialism, the famous play with famous quotations – it was a challenge. On the minimum budget, with the wallpaper being the main expense of the stage design – all other pieces I assume were borrowed - the impression of France from the fifties was created. It was also a first directing engagement of Robin Bennett, the actors had been around other small theatres in Ontario. The actors were doing their best with a difficult and demanding play; maybe under more experienced directing it would have been even better.
I read Sartre and his plays when I was a student of
literature at university and always wanted to see them performed This
performance left quite an impression on me – I am glad to have seen it. Many
good wishes to the ambitious Little Theatre. It will get better with
practice and time. Guaranteed!
A Gala Evening with Martin Fischer-Dieskau
This fund-raising event was carefully planned, eagerly anticipated and finally the evening arrived. Bingeman’s Marshall Hall was tastefully decorated with trees, special lighting effects and general atmospheric lighting for the occasion. Members of the orchestra and guests all were attired for this special event.
Some 300 gracious and appreciative guests attended the event with MC Tom Allen, host of CBC 2’s morning show "Music and Company". Among the many dignitaries were also Mayor and Mrs. Zehr. German General Consul, Dr. Ulrich Hochschild came from Toronto to join the festivities. The guests listened and enthusiastically danced to the classic Strauss waltzes, admired the style and spirit of our conductor, bid on live and silent auctions and generally supported the spirit of the evening. The dance floor was filled to capacity making it sometimes difficult to fully execute the waltz steps, which require much space. The introduction to the waltz by Canadian Champions Roger and Moira Hollingworth from Waterloo showed us what it would look like if you not only had the space, but also the energy to do it right.
There was an opportunity to dance with the Maestro and a number of ladies gladly added to the donations for this honour and privilege. It was the Maestro’s spirited idea to add to the financial success of the evening in this way. There were other opportunities to raise additional contributions: bids, live and silent, for paintings of Canadian artists, tickets to Shaw, Stratford or other theatres, weekend getaways to Grenada – or Ottawa, cases of vine, dinners at fancy restaurants, individual performances of musicians from the Symphony Orchestra.
The live auction was a highlight, which totalled in bids over ten thousand dollars. The highest dollar bid went for the extraordinary arrangement of having Brian Jackson, pop conductor and pianist, give a piano concert in the home of Ana Sabados, who will prepare an 8 course meal with wine for 16 people. And Stephen Sitarski will be happy to delight guests at a private performance for the successful bid he attracted.
The evening concluded with the After Hours Band of 7 fine musicians
It was a great evening, with ample courses of excellent dishes accompanied by equally excellent red and white wines. The event generated much needed funds, it made participants feel good about the cause and themselves.
The community is indebted to the volunteer committee of the K-W Symphony, with Margaret MacDonald as the convenor, and to the many sponsors, who made fundraising a joy for the organizers and the donors.
It was commented that it would be nice to have similar events like this, but on a reduced scale in the future. Whether for the sake of fundraising or socializing, dancing or just having a splendid meal – it would be a good idea. Hopefully the results of this evening were what was needed for the orchestra.
We wish the Symphony and Mr.Fischer-Dieskau all the best –
the subscription for the Fall concerts are available for new or for renewal
subscriptions. The program lists a number of interesting series and is
available at the Centre-in-the-Square box office or by telephone request at
578-1570 or 1-800-265-8977.
Das Buch mit sieben Siegeln
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