Though we might like to imagine our lives will always be roiling with romance, dapper fashions and cocktails served at just the right moment, it is more common for the average day to be largely comprised of anything but.Which is why one greets the announcement of Teatro La Quindicina’s upcoming season — which runs June to September in the Varscona — with a sigh of pure relief. Oh, the glorious distraction of breathless comedies, psychological thrillers and the finest of onions — nicely pulled together by the sensibilities of playwright Stewart Lemoine.Artistic producer Jeff Haslam took a break from rehearsal this week to walk through what audience members can expect for the 2019 season, which starts June 6 with A Likely Story — a brand new play by Lemoine.Adding to his canon of more than 70 original works, A Likely Story involves five characters, and a voyage by train. Featuring bare-bones staging that gradually comes to life within the imagination, the tale mirrors the journey of a writer, say, Lemoine, who fleshes out characters as they move through the story. Fans of Lemoine will be pleased to note that, as usual, the play is set in numerous exotic locales, including a Baltic seaside and the hilly streets of Spain’s Salamanca.Without spoiling the play, I am going to tell you that there is a possibly life-changing message buried within the script, which contains both the whimsical and the wise. (The play may be helpful to those of you who, like me, spend inordinate amounts of time worrying about things that are not going to happen, or have happened already, and it’s too late.) Here’s a hint, care of Haslam, who plays a traveler named Karl in this production.“Everything is life is borrowed. Our health, our livelihoods, our material items…it’s all just a moment.”I don’t know about you, but that bit gave me chills. A Likely Story runs from June 6 to 22.The second show of the season, on stage between July 11 and 27, is The Bad Seed, a story about a child who may, or may not, be responsible for the death of a classmate. Written in the mid-1950s by Maxwell Anderson, the play is adapted from the novel of the same name by William March. (Hollywood’s Rob Lowe directed a television movie version in 2018, too.)Shortlisted for a Pulitzer for drama, The Bad Seed was first performed by Teatro 30 years ago. This reprise saw the troupe take a careful look at how the psychological thriller holds up today, adding their own spin based on contemporary perspectives and acting styles. The play features the largest cast — eight players — of the 2019 season. Edmonton’s own child-star, Lilla Solymos, was awarded a key role after her successful leading turn in another recent child-focused production, the Citadel’s Matilda.“I’ve never seen a more centred kid on stage,” says Haslam of Solymos, who portrays the terrifying central figure of the play, Rhoda.
The Bad Seed is part of the 2019 season of Teatro La Quindicina, at the Varscona Theatre.
Mat Busby /
As is customary, the third play of the Teatro season is part of the Edmonton International Fringe Festival, running in the generally packed Varscona Theatre between Aug. 16 and 31. Co-penned by Lemoine and local talent Jocelyn Ahlf, A Momentary Lapse was first performed in 2005 and is one of three plays the duo has written together. Ahlf also stars in this remount, along Mathew Hulshof and Luc Tellier (hilarious in this season’s Citadel productions of The Party and The Candidate).The last play of the season is a fast-talking farce, Vidalia, that celebrates stylish menswear, stately vegetables, and, naturally, industrial espionage. Plus, there is a bubbly romance.“We have found over the course of time that it’s fun to end the season on a screwball comedy,” says Haslam, by way of promoting this “amazing concoction” first mounted by the company in 2002.It features three identical briefcases, and cell phones that must peal with exquisite timing.“Every writer should, at some point, have to work with three briefcases, just as an exercise,” insists Haslam with a chuckle.Vidalia, which stars Belinda Cornish and Andrew MacDonald-Smith, runs Sept. 26 to Oct. 12.As ever, when planning the season Haslam has worked with the roughly 20 members in the Teatro ensemble to balance the need of the company for new and/or challenging roles with the audience’s desire to be entertained, and therefore, to buy the blessed tickets.Given Teatro’s demonstrated ability to sell 10,000 tickets a season (commendable considering there are only four shows over the company’s four-month season in a theatre seating 200) — the equation tips in a satisfying manner toward the proper balance.“It matters to us to disseminate, not just to do,” says Haslam. “When that other character — the audience — comes in, it all becomes worth doing. That’s when it’s really exciting.” PREVIEWA Likely Story, by Stewart LemoineTheatre: Teatro La Quindicina, running June 6 to 22Directed by: Stewart LemoineStarring: Rachel Bowron, Mathew Hulshof, Jenny McKillop, Vincent Forcier and Jeff HaslamTickets: Starting at $25, tickets are available by calling 780-433-3399 or online at email@example.comFollow me on Twitter @eatmywordsblog.