PUSS in BOOTS - PineRidge Arts Council



PUSS in BOOTS - PineRidge Arts Council
The Backwoods Players of Pickering Museum Village Newsletter
WINTER 2006 Edition
Panto-Monium Two:
By Julie Oakes, photos by Dianne Fordham
“Whatever happens, we will not cry”, we said -- and the
only tears from the two happy directors were shed at the
cast party, when it hit them that all of the great joy of Puss
in Boots -- the work, laughter, creative collaboration and
wacky shopping trips for such items as rubber rats,
jeweled newts, queenly apparel and jesters’ hats -- was
coming to an end.
Somehow it all seemed easier this time for directors
Dianne Fordham and Julie Oakes. With the post
production notes from Aladdin as a guide, the bonus of a
wonderful, talented, cooperative cast and a dedicated
dream crew, plus the hundreds of hours of work we
began to log from February onwards, the directors were
able to thoroughly enjoy the rehearsal period, and sail
through the bumps of Tech and Dress.
Puss in Boots rehearsals were full of laughter as lines got
mangled and actors kept coming up with funny bits and
cracking each other up with their facial expressions. The
younger actors had to have some puns explained, but
once better informed, they found them killingly funny.
Aiden Bowen and Kiera Belley (Donkey) and
The Brougham Hall looked very impressive after the
Brianna Rennie, Corri McRae, Madison Pound (Fairies L to R)
technical rehearsal when the new black curtains,
generously supplied by the Backwoods Board,
were put into place; in fact, people remarked that it looked like a real theatre!!
All of the shows sold out and there was a lot of audience interaction. One tiny tot was seen petting the hobby
horses that “pulled” the coach and would likely have ended up onstage given the slightest encouragement.
(continued on page 4)
Show times are
5:30 p.m.
Sat. July 8th,
Sun. July 9th,
Sat. July 15th,
Sun. July 16th
cityofpickering.com 905.683.8401
Auditions and more information on page 11.
Jacquie Johnson/Julie Oakes, Editors
with layout assistance by Greg Oakes.
Page 2
Board of Directors
Executive Producer
Fund Raising
Members at Large
Youth Member
Katrina Pyke
PMV Volunteer Coordinator
John Edmonds
Catherine Hodge
Julie Oakes
Angela Steyn
Samantha Williams
Karen Aiken
Barbara Pleva
Heather Lukkarinen
Julie Adams
Katie O’Hara
Mark Your Calendar!
April 4, 5, 11, 19
Auditions for
Whodunit? Lights, Camera, Murder!
Call Barb Pleva, Director, 905.509.5184
April 15, 10 am
Pickering Easter Parade
Backwoods wants you! If you can walk in the parade,
call Katrina Pyke at 905.683.8401.
May 27, 10:00 am
Dog Walk, for citizens of Duffins Creek
May 28, 12:00 to 4:30 pm
PMV Steam-Up & Opening,
featuring St George and the Dragon
July 8, 9, 15 and 16, 5:30 pm
Whodunit? Lights! Camera! Murder!
Directed by Barb Pleva
August 12 & 13, 6:00 pm
Settlers at Sunset: Every Dog Has Its Day
Directed by Julie Oakes
(doors open at 5:30 pm)
September 15, 22 and 23
A Spirit Walk
Directed by John Edmonds
November 11, 12
Secrets of the Cellar
Directed by Barb Pleva
December 3 and 10, 12:00 to 3:30 pm
Duffins Creek Sunday School
Christmas Pageant
at the PMV’s Christmas in the Village
For more information or to volunteer to help out with any of these productions,
please contact Katrina Pyke at the PMV, 905.683.8401 or [email protected]
President's Mono-Log
As I sit here in my lonely loft with the light from the one
candle left over from A Spirit Walk I am quite
Yes, our membership keeps growing and yes, a
number of people have grasped opportunities created
by Backwoods, but still almost all the behind the
scenes effort is provided by one small group.
As part of your membership you are required to
provide off-stage assistance in at least one area. Yet,
out of almost 180 members we have only nine who've
directed a piece and only 11 who have stagemanaged! Producers of shows number eight while
crew tops out at only 21. And these numbers don't
paint the true picture because many individuals are
counted three or more times because they've directed,
produced or crewed in multiple shows!
Are you doing your bit? Sound for all of our
productions has been handled by six people and
lighting by only three. Props have been handled
wonderfully by the seven individuals volunteering as
has been costuming (by nine) and makeup (by 10). But
again a few people have been counted a number of
times as they've done props and sound or makeup and
costuming. In fact, many of these people have also
acted in the productions they crewed for. And I haven't
even mentioned writing or scripting.
Now I know some individuals wish they could donate
more time, but simply don't have any. And some just
aren't comfortable taking charge of a task. Some lack
experience and some confidence. But we do offer
these people assistance. Have you attended a first
person workshop? Did you sign up for our stagemanaging workshop on March 25? Did you think of
shadowing a job on one show so you could be an
assistant for another?
The essence of Backwoods, if it is to survive for
decades, is that no job, task, title or position is closed!
You just have to offer. Backwoods doesn't have a
clique hiding information and opportunities, quite the
opposite. We are always asking for help, volunteers or
those wishing to try. You can control the number,
timing and degree of your participation. You can take
charge or just watch and learn from the
sidelines. You can ensure the future of
Backwoods by giving and trying. Are
you doing your bit?
John Edmonds,
President, Backwoods Players
Page 3
Wasn’t that a Party!
Backwoods Hold Inaugural New Years Eve Bash at the Redman House
By John Edmonds
Were you there?
Untold numbers of people crammed into Redman House to celebrate the arrival of 2006. With barely space to breathe the
dancing was spectacular as was the music that kept getting louder and louder. We threatened to drown out the noise of
those gypsies on the hill!
You missed it? Too bad because you missed sharing 14 different salads, every type of munchie ever developed, plus
sausage rolls, barbequed chicken wings and of course juicy steaks cooked to perfection! Along the way we consumed, or
is that inhaled, 17 cases of beer, nine caskets of wine, 24 assorted bottles of liquor and 13 cases of pop.
There were also special concoctions devised by Bob Wilson, Emer's husband, and pyjama clad Tone
Steyn! As the big moment came the sound from our kazoos and the cheers were deafening! Just to hug
and kiss friends and acquaintances took 25 minutes!
The cleanup took 17 or 18 volunteers three hours with over 38 bags of streamers, decorations, paper plates
and assorted mess. (Damage to Redman House will be paid for out of Backwoods
earnings over the next four years!) What a memorable party!
OK, OK, maybe I have exaggerated a little bit! And yes the 18 or so attendees were all snug in their
beds by 12:30. But it was still a nice get together (although I liked my fantasy better).
More Mumming Madness
‘Tis many a long year since St. George has
ridden to the aid of his Princess with only his
wise-cracking horse for company, but you can
see him attempt to slay the wicked fire-breathing
dragon at Pickering Museum Village’s “SteamUp & Opening” on Sunday, May 28.
What’s that, you say? You’ve always been
rather handy with a broadsword and fancy your
chances in open combat with the fearsome
mythical beast? Or did you remark that you’ve
admired horses from afar and want to use your
method acting skills to really come to grips with
the equine world view? Perhaps breathing fire
and roaring at people is your thing? You’re a
technical wizard but feel the accent is on wizard,
so you’d like to try on the pointed hat? No,
really, you feel your blue blood would best be
recognized by all and sundry by casting you as
either the pulchritudinous princess or the manly
Well, then, don’t be shy: come out and audition
to be part of this merry band of mummers, who
will make their way about the village, performing
the play several times that day. Crew members
are also needed. Watch your e-mail for details of
Just Axe Us!
by Julie Oakes
To celebrate the wedding theme of our spring dessert theatre
production, try your hand at these nuptial nuggets of trivia:
1. Who started the popular trend of white wedding dresses?
a) Queen Victoria
b) Marie Antoinette
c) Queen Elizabeth I
d) Mary Todd Lincoln
2. Who was the Roman goddess of marriage and
3. Bad luck would befall the poor bride who saw which of
these creatures on her wedding day?
a) a lamb (or mutton)
b) a chicken
c) a cawing crow
d) a pig
4. The bridesmaids’ curse “Three times a bridesmaid, never
a bride” is broken by being a bridesmaid how many
5. In the rhyme “Something old/something new. . .”,
what does the blue item symbolize?
6. Traditionally, what was the purpose of the bridesmaids?
a) to lift the bride’s train, keeping her “pure”
b) to confuse evil spirits as to the identity of the bride
c) to serve as community advertising that these girls
were available for marriage
d) to step in and marry the groom, should the bride
have cold feet or fall seriously ill
7. Eating wedding cake symbolizes:
a) fertility
b) prosperity
c) sweetness and love
d) appetite and desire
8. The custom of the bridal veil dates back to:
a) the hennin veils of medieval times
b) the flammula of ancient Rome
c) the heavy lace of pre-Revolution French aristocrats
d) the demure shrouding of Victorian brides.
Stumped? Answers are found on page 8
Page 4
PICKERING LOVES PUSS in BOOTS (continued from page 1)
Adults and children alike
laughed and yelled back “Oh, no
you can’t” when the badtempered Ogre claimed he could
turn into various creatures.
Lord Chancellor (Mark Fordham) woos the Princess
(Stephanie Hill) and wows the Queen (Lindy Kentish)
There were oohs and aahs when
the royal coach, lovingly handpainted with newts and frogs,
was unveiled by an unobtrusive
crew member, and lumbered
majestically across the front
(powered by the royal party) to
the strains of “Pomp and
Tourists Jasmin Blackman, Julie Adams, Lauren Gilhooly,
Rowena Evans, Spencer Chaisson, with Tour Guide Karen Aiken
And just what was happening backstage, while all the hilarity was taking place up front?
Actors and crew lip-synched and danced quietly to all the musical numbers (especially the Chancellor’s hip gyrating
“Do You Love Me?” and the fairies’ ballet). Pam the props lady swiftly handed out props while the Dame and
Donkey made lightning-fast costume changes in the dark. The actors entertained each other and stage managers
tried to get folks to crunch their carrots and chips silently while the stage crew manhandled the heavy set pieces
and manned the curtains -- all this in the cramped confines of the two tiny rooms in the back of the Hall.
At the cast party, all members of cast and crew were given as mementos a light-up frog ring and a copy of some
new words to the Gilbert & Sullivan song “A Policeman’s Lot is Not a Happy One,” penned by Julie, to recall some
of the highlights of Puss in Boots. Go ahead and sing it to yourself -- we think it says it all.
Coming to you from the craftily crenallated Kingdom of Colbury – the cast of Puss in Boots
(continued from page 3)
A Pantomime Is Such A Happy Play!
We started our rehearsals in the fall, in the fall,
The crew began to hammer, sew, make props, sew, make props
The coach, the curtains and the flats so tall, flats so tall,
With art by Dianne, Mark and Ange the tops!! Just the tops
At Redman House we laughed, rehearsed the blocking, yes that blocking,
On Sundays at Brougham Hall we did refine, did refine
We gently shushed the actors who were talking, who were talking,
And helped Puss with her “crenellated” line.
Though poor Pam has often found her props do stray, props do stray
A pantomime is such a happy play, happy play!!
Our dress rehearsal wasn’t without hitches, without hitches
The cast was by the end somewhat dismayed, yes dismayed!
But the problems proved to be just minor glitches, minor glitches
“We shall not cry” the crazed directors brayed, directors brayed.
On opening night, our moods were elevated, elevated
The audience screamed with laughter start to end, start to end.
By Sunday night the backstage crew, elated, so elated!
No longer felt we’re going round the bend.
Though Ogre’s beard won’t always on his chin choose to stay
A pantomime is such a happy play, happy play!
The cast and crew is such a solid team, solid team
You help in blackouts so that none will fall, none will fall
When the Ogre’s flat was toppling, not a scream, not a
Tom nonchalantly holdeth up the wall, up the wall.
Though panto’s not for snobby theatre purists, theatre purists
Our Queen was fab, our Princess sweet and wonky, sweet & wonky
Who could not adore our yokels, guests and tourists, guests and tourists
Our lively fairies and astounding Donkey….
Patty Seaton’s hair from curtain stress may any day go gray
A pantomime is such a happy play, happy play!
The guards were funny and the heralds cute, heralds cute
The Housekeeper and Lion scared us all, scared us all,
The Mouse was squeaky, Halibut hirsute, so hirsute!
The musicians with sweet music filled the hall, filled the hall.
The Dame beguiled us all with charming speeches, charming speeches
“Her” love for Tom, Dick, Harry plain to see, plain to see,
We wonder if that hair “she” maybe bleaches, maybe bleaches, (only “her” dresser knows
for sure!)
“Her” quick change to “her” pink dress history
Patty’s costumes were as festive as a sunny day in May
A pantomime is such a happy play, happy play!
The Chancellor, though a villain on the make, on the make
His agile moves won many a female heart, female heart.
When Alex put the horses in the lake, in the lake
A wave of helpless laughter had to start, had to start.
Our Machiavellian feline was the centre, was the centre
Aristocratic, elegant was “he”, elegant “he”
To Tom “he” was the kindest, sternest mentor, sternest mentor
And yes, a TALKING CAT turned out to be…
Puss will always in our hearts and memories stay, memories stay
‘Cause the pantomime is such a happy play, happy play!
And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes the newts at ten!
Page 5
Page 6
By Julie Adams
It all started back in the fall when I caught the directing bug. I let it be known that I was
interested in directing a Backwoods production – preferably the dessert theatre. It’s a
nice small production for my first attempt.
Finally the play was announced and I requested that I be considered for director. The
Backwoods Board met and I was thrilled when John Edmonds passed on the news that I
had been selected. Then the panic set in! I had to schedule auditions, create a
rehearsal schedule, and put together a crew and cast – all very quickly. Not to mention
setting a time frame for the play (with the decision being late 70’s), and thinking of what
the set should look like.
Panic is unnecessary with this Backwoods group. Karen Burwell came forward to try her
hand as Stage Manager and, with her wonderful skills, it was an easy choice. Joe Davis
was quick to say yes to handle the lights for the production. Greg Oakes is helping out
with the stage. Julie Oakes came on as Producer, giving me the security of having someone there with great
experience. Also, with Katrina Pyke as Executive Producer, I knew I had a good crew. Helena Turner became our
costume person and Sharon Morari joined in for Hair and Makeup, filling out the team. And what a great team it is!
With the auditions scheduled for mid-January, the search began for the cast of actors
to bring my vision for this play to life. I have to admit that I was happy to be on this
side of the table for the auditions! Although a little discouraged by the initial
response, Julie assured me it would be okay, that I’d find the right people. Was she
right! We were blown away by the auditions that were presented to us. While one
audition sent chills through us, another had us silent with emotion at the end.
At the end of all auditions, Karen, Julie and myself discussed the candidates. After
careful consideration, the actors were chosen.
Familiar Backwoods faces: Samantha Williams as Ella Lee, the comedic maid;
Jo-Anne Adams as Verna, the adoptive mother.
Plus three newcomers to Backwoods: Colin Burwell as Johnny, the playful groom;
Angie Hodder as Diane, the daughter and bride; Jennifer Spear as Julie, the biological mother.
I was really feeling the excitement now that the actors had been cast!
First rehearsal – January 31
This was really more of a chance for the cast and crew to meet each other. Sitting at the head of the table seeing
the people who would be helping me, I realized that the right people were in the right places and, with each of their
talents, this was going to be an amazing experience for me – as well as a phenomenal show!
Hearing the cast read the entire script for the first time was an awesome experience.
Now right into rehearsals three times a week it has become very clear that this cast was meant to work together.
They are all getting the emotions and expressions that I was hoping for – and more! Each one of them has been
working so hard on their roles and developing their characters. What more could a director ask for?
The set s coming along too. Greg has worked his computer magic and created a picture of the set the way I hoped
it would look. It’s fun to see it all laid out.
The cast will be getting a short break from me the end of February while I take a trip to Florida. But I will be thinking
about them as Karen works on their lines and helps them get off book. When I come back, we can start working on
putting it all together. I’m very excited to see what March holds as the characters come to life, the set takes form,
and I find out what kind of dessert Julie and Pam are serving!
(Maybe in the next issue of the Voice – The day after The Day After Forever!)
Page 7
at their 75th Anniversary Meeting
By Jacquie Johnson, Photo courtesy of SNAP Oshawa
Recently your long-suffering, hard-working board
members took time off from their regular duties
to…attend a board meeting.
Let me explain. This was no ordinary board meeting;
it was a (very) loose re-creation of the second
meeting of the board of the Oshawa Horticultural
Society (now the Oshawa Garden Club), held Feb.
23, 1931. It was performed as part of the 75th
anniversary celebrations of the Club, after the pot
luck dinner and the penny auction.
Angela Steyn (Lunaria Penstemon) played an
insufferable garden writer, Barb Pleva (Marguerite
Osier-Reed) a self-appointed refreshment lady (who
delivered a hilariously tiny cake at the end of the meeting), and Katrina Pyke (Diascia Bindweed) and
Catherine Hodges (Virginia Juniper) two society matrons with hired gardeners who attended only to
show off. I (Iris Leadwort) played an incredibly shy but sensible girl whose useful ideas had to be
repeated several times before everyone had heard them. Julie Oakes (Bergenia Spade) was a true
green thumb who believed all board members should be tested on their garden knowledge before
election. John Edmonds (Galanthus Juniper) was the chair, of course, and had to continuously raise
his voice to get us gossipy ladies to return to the subject at hand!
There were references to the fabulous Chrysanthemum Teas held annually at Parkwood Estate (how
unfortunate if you did not receive an invitation!), new ideas on pruning and rock gardens (the
personal obsessions of Marguerite and Lunaria, respectively), and dark hints of the nefarious doings
of a horticultural society that was founded in 1928 but hasn’t been heard from since. Why were its
funds “on hand” of $140 forwarded to the province? Was it affaires de coeur among the asters?
Embezzlement among the erodium? Bitter arguments among the alliums?
The new business of the meeting consisted of discussions of what the new society should be doing
to help the community. Suggestions included a rock garden for the war memorial, a tea garden or
plant sale to raise money (oh surely not a plant sale, said Lunaria, people will only bring common
stuff that nobody wants), the beautification of Oshawa (can one beautify Oshawa we wondered), and
a botanical garden. We finished off the evening by going amongst the crowd to solicit their
suggestions, to everyone’s great amusement.
The Garden Club members seemed to enjoy our little improv and we had fun putting it on as well.
Plus we raised $100 for Backwoods Players.
The BSPCA (Backwoods Society for the Preservation of Culture and the Arts) is a mercenary
outgrowth of the Board of Directors that compels all board members to make an ass of themselves
for the enjoyment of anyone with a couple of bucks to spare. Membership is mandatory.
Page 8
Proprietor, Jacquie Johnson
You may have been wondering at the strange
face behind the counter of your cherished and
reliable General Store of late. Do not worry; I
am standing in only temporarily. Your generous
friend, Barbara Pleva, will be returned to you
before the snow has melted off the top of the
daffodils. She has kindly passed on to me all of
the news and tidbits you have come to expect
from your regular visits to her wonderful
As she reported last time, we will be holding
our annual Settlers at Sunset social this year
and the planning has begun already. Our
villagers meet to get reacquainted on Saturday
May 27th at 10 am. We expect to see all of the
familiar faces again – be sure to bring a healthy
appetite for those delicious box lunches!
Drawing by Margaret Jacobs
reprinted from "If walls could talk"
by kind permission of
Pickering Museum Village Foundation
Speaking of lunches, this spring the generous
members of Backwoods once again volunteered Backwoods Classified
The Pickering Easter Parade is April 15 at 10 am. We challenge all
their time to serve soup and bread during
Backwoods members and readers of this publication to show up to walk
Duffin’s Creek’s Settler Trail. I can only pray
in the parade in your best Easter bonnets! Come on and show us your
Backwoods spirit! Contact Katrina Pyke at 905.683.8401, if you intend
that volunteers and participants alike were
spared the indignity of soiling their skirts in the on participating.
We need help with our summer productions! We need a Director and
mud within the forest, as we have had an
Producer for St. George and the Dragon and a Stage Manager,
especially warm and wet spring this year. I
Makeup Designer, Properties Assistant, Costume Designer and Hair
Designer for Whodunit? Lights! Camera! Murder! Also, cast and crew
expect that Barbara will report how much was
for A Spirit Walk. Remember, if you participated in our March stage
raised for our little acting troupe when she
management workshop and you volunteer to stage manage a
Backwoods production this year, you will receive the balance of your
Although it is so indelicate to speak of money, I
must confess I am very proud to report, by way
of Angela Steyn, treasurer, that we are in
possession of a rather flush bank balance of
$7,200.89. At this time no one owes us a penny
and we owe no one.
Karen Aiken, membership, has informed me
that, as of the AGM, we currently have 191
members. We gently remind our members that
renewals are due for those of you who were not
active in any of last year’s productions. We are
always happy to welcome enthusiastic and
talented people into our midst.
workshop fee back! Not to mention getting the chance to try out
everything you have learned. To volunteer for the Whodunit?, contact
Barb Pleva, Director, at [email protected] or 905.509.5184.
To volunteer for other productions, contact John Edmonds, President,
at 905.723.0927 or [email protected]
Attention Spirit Walk-ers! If you plan to return, want a new part or have
never participated and want to audition, please contact John Edmonds,
Director, at 905.723.0927 or [email protected]
Secrets of the Cellar will be performed again this fall at Parkwood
Estate in Oshawa. Volunteers for Producer and Stage Manager should
contact Barb Pleva, at 905.509.5184 or [email protected]
This year’s Christmas production will be the Duffin’s Creek School
Christmas Pageant. If you’d like to direct, please contact John
Edmonds, President, at 905.723.0927 or
[email protected]
FOR SALE: Well-established drama school in Pickering. For more
information call 905.420.8129.
Page 9
Blow Your Own Horn!
The Voice wants to promote members who are involved in productions away from us.
Whether you're cooking for a movie crew or cooking in a jazz combo, we want to shine the limelight on you.
No matter if your show is upcoming or has taken place, let us give you belated applause. We're proud of you!
Madeleine Fordham is appearing in Dunbarton High School's entry in the Sears Drama Festival; she plays the part of
"Judy" in A Soldier Dreams. She hopes to repeat or surpass last year's success in the Regional Competition to make it to
the Provincials at Hart House. Break a leg!
Shari Thorne-Kowalski performed in the lead female role of Martha in Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? at Oshawa Little
Theatre from Mar 9th -25th. Following almost immediately she will be performing at Class Act Dinner Theatre in a
production of Caught In The Net running May 3rd to June 24th.
Bob Kowalski designed and operated the lighting for Who's
Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? at Oshawa Little Theatre from Mar 9th 25th. Following that he is designing the lighting for Star Wishes
at StoneCircle Theatre running Apr 6th - 22nd.
Lucy Brennan travelled to Chicago in early March to participate
in the Mid-America Theatre Symposium, as a ten-minute play
she wrote, called “Otherworlds", was accepted for discussion
and performance there. She will have a casted reading by the
Alumnae Theatre Company of Toronto of her full-length play
Daughter of the House in early April. Her second poetry
collection has been accepted by Salmon Poetry, Ireland, for
publication; but not ‘till 2008! “You write for so long and nothing
happens,” she says, “and then, suddenly, everything!”
The County Town Singers have their spring concert on May 11,
12 & 13 at 8:00 p.m. at Dnipro Hall in Oshawa. The theme is
"Hooray for Hollywood." Backwoods Player and Stepping in
Tymer Dianne Graham will be in the choir. Come and enjoy.
Mary Delaney co-starred in Ivan Menshell's The Cemetery Club
with Markham Little Theatre. Two Backwoods gents, Daniel Gelbard and Joe Bezubiak, had delightful extended cameos
as two of the three dead husbands. Mary is now preparing to take on the role of Yente, the Matchmaker, in Cadenza
Production's Fiddler on the Roof, to be staged at Port Perry's Town Hall 1873 in July. Joe hopes he will be able to accept
a role in chorus if his work schedule allows.
Carol Doughty and Randy Finlay appeared in a 3-week run of Homeward Bound at Whitby Courthouse Theatre in
February. Carol had the lead (Bonnie) and was the mother-in-law to Kevin (Randy). The audiences were either laughing
or crying during this emotional roller coaster of a black comedy by Elliot Hayes. Next time you see Randy, ask him about
the skunk, and the next time you see Carol, ask her about "what's his name." Carol is also directing a comedy entitled,
When The Good Lord’s Willing And The Creek Don’t Rise. Heather Lukkarinen plays the daughter of an eccentric father.
The play dates are Friday, May 12, and Saturday, May 13 at Carruthers' Creek Church on Bayly in Ajax, and the $7
tickets can be purchased by phoning Carol at 905.668.2301. Start time is 8 p.m.
Answers to Just Axe Us!
Queen Victoria
a cawing crow and/or a pig (bonus marks if you got both!)
seven times
to confuse evil spirits
the flammula of ancient Rome (a long yellow veil)
Page 10
Stage Manager Workshop - Successfully Managed!
On Saturday, March 25, more than two dozen would-be stage managers assembled at the Redman House, PMV,
to learn all the ins and outs of this challenging production job from facilitator Heather Lacey. Participants
included members of Backwoods and other theatre companies including ACT-CO, Oshawa Little Theatre,
Durham Shoestring, Borelians, Nag’s Players, Queensville Players and Markham Little Theatre. This workshop
was co-sponsored by ACT-CO and Backwoods.
Heather Lacey has spent the last twelve years working in theatre, starting with community theatre and moving
to professional work as a stage manager five years ago. She provided participants with hand-outs and a CD
containing originals of the many forms that help to keep the stage manager organized and ensure smooth
communication among members of the production team. Her lively anecdotes kept our interest and lots of
questions were encouraged.
We at Backwoods were delighted to realize that we already use many of the forms, in slightly different formats.
Heather emphasized that each theatre group is unique and may choose to assign certain tasks to production areas
other than the stage manager, but that in both professional and community theatre there are some
responsibilities that usually fall to the stage manager. It was agreed that once the show opens, it belongs to the
stage manager and the director must step back and hand over the reins.
The group enjoyed freshly baked muffins, hot cider, coffee and tea upon arrival, and were treated to home-made
veggie soup, cold cuts, cheese, a variety of breads, fruit, brownies and a fruit loaf for lunch, courtesy of Pam
Edmonds and her side-kick, Julie Oakes. Backwoods members received a cash rebate on their workshop fee and
were told that if they volunteer to stage- manage a 2006 production, they will be refunded the remainder! Even
with the rebates, and with sharing 50/50 with ACT-CO the costs and income, Backwoods came out ahead with a
modest profit of $89. Daniel Gelbard and John Edmonds showed true versatility when they had to don tools ten
minutes before the workshop started in order to un-stick a door that had jammed between the kitchen and the
main room.
All present left the workshop with a much clearer vision of what exactly a stage manager does and how the
stage manager interacts with other production team members. We look forward to further collaborations with
ACT-CO in order to continue the Backwoods tradition of offering workshops of interest to its members. Now, if
we could just find a few trusty stage managers for our shows….!
Meet Your Board of Directors
The 2006/07 Board of Directors for Backwoods Players was duly elected at the March 22 Annual General
Meeting. Members will most likely recognize the returnees: John Edmonds as President, known to many as last
(and this!) year’s director of A Spirit Walk, Catherine Hodge as Past President (last seen as a saucy jingle singer
in Whodunit: Sounds Like Murder), Executive Producer Katrina Pyke (usually lurking in the dark during A
Spirit Walk), Vice President Julie Oakes (currently producing The Day After Forever), Treasurer Angela Steyn,
aka Hortense Blandings of Settlers at Sunset fame, and Secretary Samantha Williams (just finished Puss in
Boots and currently seen as demure Ella Lee in Forever). Karen Aiken (Tour Guide and scary Yokel in Puss in
Boots) remains as Membership Secretary, Barb Pleva (director of Whodunit: Sounds Like Murder) as
Fundraising Chair and Heather Lukkarinen (Mrs. Munger) as Member at Large. We welcome two newcomers to
Board work: Julie Adams (director of The Day After Forever) and Katie O’Hara (assistant director, A Spirit
Walk, and Lavinia Miller in the Settlers series). The Board thanks departing members Mala Naraine, Patty
Wyman and Jacquie Johnson for all their hard work. There is still a vacancy in the area of publicity, so if you
have an interest in this position, please call John Edmonds at 905.723.0927.
Page 11
Stage Fright Is Good and
Makes You Better Looking Too!
Most actors have had to cope with stage fright at some point in their careers. In fact, many actors experience
stage fright before each and every performance. One Backwoods actor, who shall remain nameless, often
throws up before a show! Nobody ever died of stage fright but those familiar symptoms of dry mouth, nausea,
sweaty hands, shaky knees, racing pulse, trembling lips and tight throat are certainly uncomfortable.
Stage fright isn’t really an accurate term for this type of nervousness, because most actors find that all these
feelings take place before the show and mysteriously vanish once the actor steps onto the stage.
What strategies can be used to reduce stage fright? There are no universal fixes that work for everyone but there
are a few tried and true methods that can help. It is obvious that one needs to know one’s lines cold and be very
sure of one’s blocking. Visualization helps some people: visualize the audience laughing and applauding you or
picture each audience member in their underwear! The day of the show, try to spend some time outdoors if the
weather permits, go for a brisk walk, listen to music or take a soothing bath. When it gets close to curtain time,
yawn to relax your throat, participate in cast warm-up exercises, chat with others if that helps or withdraw for a
little while to get into your “Zen” space. If your knees feel weak, sit down, sip tepid water, breath deeply and
slowly with closed eyes. Don’t drink coffee or tea (or eat anything that may produce unwanted gas!!)
Try to think of stage fright in a positive way. Fear is your friend. It makes your reflexes sharper. It heightens
your energy, adds a sparkle to your eye, and colour to your cheeks. When you are nervously awaiting your
entrance, you are more conscious of your posture and breathing. With all those good side effects you will
actually look healthier and more physically attractive. It’s probably that dash of stage fright that gives actors an
“edge”- that indefinable magic that only happens in front of a live audience!
Ticket buyers for this year’s interactive
murder mystery dinner will find
themselves in the midst of a film shoot
in the 1920s. As usual, audience
members can pick up on clues presented
during the scripted scenes, but intrepid
sleuths out there will want to jot down
questions so they can winkle out the
real dirt from the characters themselves.
A Whodunit? is staged each year as a
fundraiser for the Pickering Museum
Village Foundation, and the monies
raised this summer will go to the Brougham Central Hotel Restoration Project.
Director Barbara Pleva is looking for twelve actors (6 male, 6 female) with strong improvisational skills; many
actors have found their participation in the murder mystery to be a highlight of their year, so don’t hesitate to
book an audition. The play takes place July 8, 9, 15 and 16, all at 5:30 pm. Auditions are April 4, 5, 11 and 19
at the Tower Room, Pickering Civic Centre. Call Barb Pleva at 905.509.5184 to book an appointment.
Page 12
The Tattler
Society News by Miss Ima Snoup
Gentle Readers,
Winter’s slumbers are nearly
completed, and our drowsy village
yawns and stretches as it re-awakens.
But our citizenry has been far from
resting, and has much vigour to show.
The Williams Family, recently moved in to the
Schmidt homestead brought to our community the
quaint traditions and customs of their native Wales.
Can we easily forget the absurd spectacle of the Grey
Mare’s skeletal and be-ribboned skull held proudly
aloft as Welsh wassailers progressed door-to-door
singing and begging treats and drink from
housewives? Mrs. Williams did offer this reader some
wassail punch, rather stringy toffee made by her
daughters and the most delicious Welsh cakes
imaginable as a kind gesture of the season.
Mr. Harrison Miller has heeded the call of the sea and
returned to his ship, the Pelican, leaving his poor
young bride to the care of his younger brother, Garnet.
As you no doubt recollect, Mr. Garnet Miller is a
successful jeweller in Kingston. One can only
speculate what of the family jewels this younger
Miller bachelor inherited, making him a valuable
catch for our village’s young ladies. Old Mrs. Miller
we know had quite an array of splendid precious and
semi-precious stones set in gold.
Mrs Obadiah Slack has just departed our humble
environs, accompanied by Mrs. (Dorcas) Dove and
Mrs. (Henrietta) Fairfax. These three august
ambassadors are destined for a Temperance
Symposium in New Jersey. Our readers shall be in a
state of enormous anticipation for their reports upon
return. Funds for the journey were graciously donated
by Mr. Septimus Topp and Mr. Malachai McCready.
Mr. Tool is never-ending in his ability to surprise his
young bride, Mrs. (Rose) Tool, nee Slack. Just as the
honeymoon party was about to return from Niagara
Falls, Mr. Tool presented his mother and bride with
tickets to Europe! The party set sail aboard the
Empress of Scandinavia to dock at Liverpool,
England. From there, they will travel to London. After
sightseeing the Tower, and other gripping monuments,
they will tour the Lake District, ending at Plymouth.
The itinerary after that is unknown, but this writer has
heard from reliable sources that stops on the trip will
include France, Portugal, Spain, Germany,
Switzerland and even Italy before their return which is
expected in August.
This village will hardly recognize the Tools when they return.
The ladies of the BSPCA are hosting an Oyster supper next
Thursday evening at the Oddfellows’ Hall in Duffins Creek. All
are welcome.
The ladies of the church are beginning plans for this summer’s
fundraiser. A box social will be the highlight of the affair.
Young ladies remember, “the way to a man’s heart is through
his stomach”, so you will do well to practice your culinary skills
in the coming months.
Thought you'd like to hear all the "rave reviews" on yesterday’s
Puss in Boots performance. It was unanimous from all my
friends and family that it was "just like an English Panto", with
these various comments: "Terrific Acting", "Wonderful sets",
"Lovely to see the children enjoying themselves by being able to
join in", "Loved the Lord Chancellor’s great gyrations and agility when can we meet him for a dance!! (that was the ladies!!)",
"perfect for young and old" "Thoroughly enjoyable".
One person, my very English friend, said the only thing missing
was the Dame didn't show her spotted knickers (which I gather
was something usually done). My Father-in-Law, also English
and a former "Ugly Sister" in Cinderella, was full of praise for
"all the hard work one and all had put into the production".
Everyone thought Samantha [Williams] was
a) French Canadian and
b) a professional actress who was just doing the Panto for fun!
(With apologies for the littlest one in the audience who was so
enamoured with "Puss" she almost came up on stage to visit
her, who also loved the horses and was petting their heads luckily not hard enough to set off the tunes!).
On a personal level, my son, the actor, was full of praise for
everyone. Was astonished with my seemingly relaxed
appearance on stage…..
Thank you both for all your fantastic direction. I have thoroughly
enjoyed the whole experience.
Cheerio for now
Lindy Kentish, a.k.a. the Queen
Hope you have both had a chance to sit down with a glass of
wine (or two) by the time you read this. You both deserve it. I
haven't had a chance to see the production (what's new?), but I
have been hearing some very good comments from other staff,
volunteers and from the people coming in for the Village
program after they have seen Puss. Even a couple of little kids
added their own remarks, with big smiles on their faces, when
their parents made comments about Puss.
That's what it's all about.
Well done.
Dave Marlowe
PS. please pass along my congratulations to the rest of the cast
and crew.

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