What have we been up to?
Northern Light Theatre’s Director Circle with Trevor Schmidt
(Saturday, November 22, 2014)
While dining on fine cheeses and chocolates from Under the High Wheel, Northern Light Theatre’s Artistic Director chatted about the design and story- telling themes of our season opener SPACE// SPACE by Jason Craig.
If you’d like to attend our next Director’s Circle event for THE PINK UNICORN, book your tickets for our Saturday, February 21, 2015 performance!
Northern Light Theatre's Wednesday Salon with Ruth Dyck-Fehderau
(Wednesday, November 26, 2014)
I can honestly say that Ruth Dyck-Fehderau is one of the smartest and coolest person I’ve ever met. Below, we discuss some of the themes Ruth talked about at her Wednesday Salon for SPACE// SPACE and some of the topics we will be delving into for THE PINK UNICORN.
ELLEN: Can you tell us a little about your background?
RUTH: Sure. I'm a part-time academic and part-time writer. I finished my MA in '95 and my PhD in '01, and now I teach English Lit and Creative Writing at the U of A about half the time. The other half the time I'm writing (mostly fiction and non-fiction). I've recently finished my first novel, and these days I'm working on a book of stories for and about the James Bay Cree.
ELLEN: What kind of topics will you cover in the salons and why is it great for our audiences to attend?
RUTH: It'll be different for each play, but essentially I'm trying to explain the parts of the plays that audience members might not have understood, to give some background to the material in the plays, and to interact with some of the controversies the plays address.
ELLEN: When you read SPACE // SPACE what tweaked you to the literary references that you brought to the talk-back?
RUTH: I mentioned in these references because they confront some of the same questions about routine, sex, gender, stasis, change, and social control. For instance, Giambattista Basile's 16th-Century Sleeping Beauty (actually, it's called "The Sun, the Moon, and Talia") came up because the Sleeping Beauty character there is in much the same position as Penryn in SPACE//SPACE: she's been asleep for a long time, and, while she was sleeping, someone got her pregnant, and now she has to cope with that. (Basile's Sleeping Beauty, though, doesn't wake up until after she's birthed her kids.).
Penryn, whose sex changes just before the play begins, and whose gender gradually changes throughout the play, also reminded me of Virgina Woolf's Orlando. Orlando, who has lived for centuries as a man, looks out upon yet another war, bored, decides not to kill more people, and goes to sleep only to wake several days later, now sexed female. She remains female-sexed for the rest of the book, but she switches genders (not sexes) whenever she feels like it.
I referred to 1950s Science Fiction thought experiments like John Wyndham's 1956 novella Consider Her Ways. In Wyndham's book, a woman wakes up in the future in a huge reproducing body that's not hers (kind of like Penryn, once male, now waking in a big pregnant female body...). The society around her is made up of only women: the men were killed off by a virus and the women now function and reproduce without them. In SPACE//SPACE, Lumos, the male character who resists all change, is similarly obsolete and his body decays before us throughout the play, until, at the end, he dies.
Absurdist plays like this one don't follow the rules of realism nor the patterns of traditional "well-made" plays. They often include (among other things) plots that seem to go nowhere (as Lumos's last three years have gone while Penryn slept), broad comedy or vaudeville (here, we get stand-up comedy), absurd repetition of cliches and routines (like the gendered cliches spat out by the spaceship or Lumos's stand-up routines), and a world controlled or threatened by unseen external forces (like the forces that ejected Penryn and Lumos into space as "souvenirs of the past"). Interestingly, here, Lumos is caught in the circular meaningless absurd world in which he is obsolete -- but Penryn questions everything, embraces change, destroys the recording devices their controllers use to listen to them, and forces an ending that's meaningful for her.
ELLEN: What topics that you’ll be talking about for the Pink Unicorn?
RUTH: We'll be talking a lot about Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs). The panel members will include both Laurie Blakeman, the Liberal MLA for Edmonton-Centre who proposed the Safe and Inclusive Schools Act (Bill 202), and Courtney Cliff, a Community Liaison Worker with The AltView Foundation who works with high schools in Elk Island to create and sustain GSAs.
Northern Light Theatre's Holiday Party
(Wednesday, December 17, 2014)
GET INVOLVED! Volunteer with Northern Light Theatre
Northern Light Theatre is looking for ten wonderful volunteers for our February Bingo on Thursday, February 12 from 11:00 am- 3:45 pm at Caesar's Bingo in West Edmonton Mall.
NLT volunteers will be treated to delights of Caesar's Bingo including great people watching, fascinating food infusions (grilled cheese WITH HAM, guys) and a killer calf work out that will have your cardio covered for days.
We'll also hook you up with a free ticket to one of our shows in our 2014-2015 season AND an exclusive invite to our awesome Volunteer party (WHAT? THAT'S NEW... Yep, we are going to have parties now... BECAUSE WE LOVE YOU).
WHO: You, me and 8 of our friends.
WHEN: Thursday, February 12, 2015 from 11:00 am-3:45 pm
WHERE: Caesar's Bingo in West Edmonton Mall (under Simons, beside HMV and Chapters)
WHY: Grilled cheese and a great theatre company
For more information about volunteering, please contact Ellen Chorley, Artistic Associate and Bingo Queen at (780) 471-1586 or e-mail email@example.com