From the Desk of
|A Good, Old Fashioned Redneck Country Christmas|
I am pleased to announce my selection of play for our fall Dinner Theatre production, A Good, Old Fashioned Redneck Country Christmas, by Kristine Bauske. I am equally pleased to announce that Gillian Pearson, from Prairie Players, will be directing this comedy.
I love the play and can’t tell you how excited I am that we are doing it this fall, I have had it mind for several years and feel that it is perfect for the 2014 production.
In this story we meet the three rednecks, Bill, Dave, and Jimmy who have had it with their women! Even though it’s Christmas Eve, and tradition dictates they should be home, drinking hot cocoa and singing carols, the boys decide to high-tail it into the mountains for a little hunting and a lot of beer. This protest does nothing to improve the mood of the women back in town. Lou runs Lou’s Diner. She and Bill have been trying (unsuccessfully) to have a baby and Lou is putting on the pressure to adopt. Barbie Jo, Lou’s head waitress, is married to Dave, and they have kids, but Dave’s not interested in family this year and is putting his foot down, he will not spent another Christmas Eve with his domineering mother-in-law! Darlene, the most beautiful girl in three counties is dating Jimmy, but while she’s ready to settle down, Jimmy can’t stand the idea of “commitment” he likes things just as they are. Through the eyes of a stranded truck driver named Bob, we get to witness each group’s prospective of the issue.
While the women are at work in the café the men wind up in a cabin sitting out a blizzard. As they discuss the problems they have encountered with their women suddenly an urgent need breaks in on them. A young girl named Mary Sue comes across their path and she is about to have a baby. Can these three “unwise” men help deliver this baby under difficult circumstances?
The first miracle of Christmas blesses everyone in this tender comedy, and with simplicity and grace, gently reminds the audience of the real reason for the season! The parallel to the Nativity story in this play includes humour and drama and is the epitome of our signature statement, “Good Stories told well”
|Way Out West in a Dress
The Langham Theatrical Company Hits all the Right Notes in its Latest Production, "Way out West in a Dress."
By Terry Pugh
Clark's Crossing Gazette
November 7, 2013 edition
The quirky, over-the-top musical melodrama combines a funny, entertaining score with great acting by a large, talented cast. The result is a polished play that delivers exactly what the audience is looking for: an entertaining evening where you leave humming a tune with a smile on your face.
Strangely enough, this is the first musical ever staged by the Langham community drama club. And Artistic Director Sela Balzer says that's because it takes a special chemistry to pull off a production like that. Comedy is one thing; musical comedy is quite another. You have to have multi-talented people who can sing and act. It's actually a lot harder than it looks.
Fortunately, Gillian Pearson, who is also the driving force behind Langham's other theatrical group, the Prairie Players, stepped up to the plate and took on the role of musical director for the production. That allowed Balzer to concentrate on the acting aspects, while Pearson handled the musical end.
There was also the challenge of a big production with a large cast, but "Way out West in a Dress" gives the supporting cast a lot of responsibility when it comes to backing up the leading characters. There's not a square inch of stage space that doesn't get used at some point, and the actors have to be careful they aren't bumping into the props or each other. When they do, they heroically incorporate it into their dialogue and grin right along with the audience.
The plot revolves around the story of a troupe of struggling actors in 1892 who inherit a hairdressing salon in a one-horse western cowboy town. The male actors are reluctant to take on the job of styling women's hair because it's "un-manly." Fortunately, they have a trunk full of wigs and dresses, and since they're actors, they dress in drag and re-invent themselves as female characters – supposedly from Europe.
Part of the fun in the play lies in the names of the characters: each name is a pun related to the character's job or personal quirk: Carrie O'Key (singer), Elieen Dover (stands and walks with a slant), Melody Plunkett (piano player), Bobbi Pinz, Nell Clipper, Philip Glass (bartender), Barbara Seville, Colt Revolver, Jessica James, Will Reader (lawyer), Bob Burr (barber), Bill Holder (banker), M.I. Dunn (undertaker), Levy Fines (judge), Rhoda Steed (rancher), Russell Grub (cook).
Martin Bembridge shines in his role as Clarence Rawlins (alias Lady Claire Rawl), particularly when he sings. His falsetto British accent in his Lady Claire Rawl character is a bit funky (think Miss Piggy with a Monty Python-esque English accent).
His colleague Roger Gaines (alias Rogaine), played by Erron Leafloor, also does a great job although he has to stretch a bit on the songs. (His faux French accent in his female alter-ego Rogaine reminds one of that amorous skunk, Pepe le Pew – except an octave higher).
Tiffany Boucher as Melody Plunkett, the piano-player love interest of Clarence, steals the show with an up-tempo, fast-talking song. Chris Byers is convincing as the cunning Colt Revolver (he delivers his lines with a B-movie monotone sneer), while his sidekick Charity Meili as Jessica James brings an bubbly gusto to her part, and looks pretty dangerous with a pistol.
From the desk of the director:
If a good 'belly-laugh' comedy is what you were wishing for in our 2012 fall dinner theater production then your wish has come true. My selection for this our 16th performance is THE BIG FIVE – OH, a 2-act comedy by Brian Mitchell.
Synopsis: Whoever said life is better after fifty had better be right! George Thomas is turning fifty on Saturday, and it has been a terrible week. His dog is sick, his son is a freeloader, and his daughter wants to marry a Republican. With a neurotic wife and a neighbor who insists on bringing her dear departed husband, Steve, with her to dinner the week is presenting more challenges than even George, a Professor of Sociology, can overcome. Add to this the irritation of a student stalker the week is undoubtedly becoming the worst week of his life. Through these trying days, George will discover the wonders of family, the responsibilities of parenthood, and the results of his latest physical.
The Big Five – Oh is a hilarious, sometimes touching account of a grown man coming to terms with his age, his relationship with his son, and his future. It is the story of a middle-aged man finally growing up.
I am also excited to inform you that as a result of our increasing ticket sales we have made a decision to add one more performance to that of our 2012 performance dates. We will be offering a 'Show only' performance on Thursday evening November 8th beginning at 7:30 pm.
Ticket Vendor and prices (presently unavailable)
Friday –Sunday November 2-4, 6:00 pm
Thursday 'Show Only' November 8, 7:30 pm
Saturday & Sunday November 9 & 10, 6:00 pm
Sunday Matinee November 11, 1:00 pm
Langham Theatrical Company raises the bar again with new comedy
By Terry Pugh
Clark's Crossing Gazette
November 8, 2012 edition
Around the Clock
The Education of Angels
It's ironic that Angels, who are supposed to inhabit lofty realms, apparently have to descend back down to Earth to receive their higher education.
But it's also nice to see that those who have passed on still retain their sense of humour.
"The Education of Angels", staged over the past two weekends as a dinner theatre production by the Langham Theatrical Company, earned excellent marks from audiences for its clever script and solid acting. A standing ovation at the end of the performance November 13 was indicative of how well the play was received.
Langham Theatrical Company Director Sela Balzer chose the play after seeing it performed by a community theatre group in Speers earlier this year, and decided it was a nice fit for her own group. The combination of humour, pathos and a surprise ending contained in playwright Matthew Carlin's script struck a chord with the appreciative audience. But even the best script needs a director, actors, and production crew to bring it to life – and that's where the Langham troupe shone.
Corinne Waldner stole most of the scenes she was in with her character of Jenna, an "Angel-in-Training" who is actually quite un-angelic. "Pushy" would be a kind way of characterizing her attitude and actions. She has all the subtlety of a snowplow. Still, she grows on you, and by the end of the play, she emerges as one of the most kind-hearted and sensitive of the protagonists. Beneath that blustery exterior is a soul yearning to help others – whether they want it or not.
It turns out her personality is just the ticket for "Dave", the character played by Steven Balzer. Dave is a chronically-insecure guy who's about to get married for the second time. But the prospective groom is having second thoughts on his wedding day, and his dilemma is aggravated by his ex-wife Natalie, played with a toxic flair by Crystal Levesque. Natalie likes to push Dave around – literally – and Jenna pushes Dave to push back.
The thing is, apparently, angels are invisible to most people. They are only seen by those people who need their help, so the one-way conversations with non-visible angels make for some interesting moments on stage.
While Jenna's character is aggressively helpful, the other Angel-in-Training is morose and even a little bitter. "Nicholas", played by Rocky Dyck, has still not gotten over the fact that he's had to leave behind his wife and child on earth. It's not until he comes across an old man on a park bench who shares some insights on life, love and taking the time to enjoy both. It seems that apparently, mortals can dispense wisdom to angels.
A great supporting cast includes Darrell Novakovski - the wise-cracking, stogie-smoking cab driver; Emery Ens – perfectly cast as the soft-spoken pastor; Tom Wall as the wisdom-dispensing old chap on the park bench; Evan Pady as Dave the groom's best friend, and Jordyn Kuzek – who plays the prospective young step-daughter of Dave. One of the nice touches was the provision of live music by an angelic duo – pianist Linda Gossen and vocalist Sonia Zacharias.
Of course, the theatre portion is only half the equation in a "dinner theatre" presentation. The superb meal prepared by Creative Catering was indescribably tasty. It's no wonder people keep coming back year after year to take in these productions. It's great entertainment, and it shows how professional a community theatre performance can be.
2010 The Education of Angels 2010