Thursday, October 12, 2006

Stages of life: The Newmarket Stage Company

Well, I did her.

Handed in a play script to Ray Burdon, local theatre director.

He rewarded me with a chance to see a current play, event though he just works the front door these days. (Ray is retired).

But Ray does know (of course) director Harry Lavigne and producer Alison Scarlett and they had invited me to take in the Newmarket Stage Company's production of The Kitchen Witches, a Canadian play.

I guess I have some sort of reputation as a not-all-that great theatre reviewer, and no opportunity is wasted. "I'll take your script, Ivan...but you might want to review the play?"--I quote loosely.

Dear Ray,

Enjoyed the play. Very much. Thank you.

I plan, in part, to blog on it or maybe influence paddle a bit. Do i have any influence left? I am most days, an artful shopper at Dominion dumpsters. Ah art!

Ivan Prokopchuk

From: Ivan Prokopchuk

Hanging around local theatre in hopes of having a novel turned into a play, I found myself totally delighted by attending my home-town's Newmarket Stage Company's production of The Kitchen Witches an all-Canadian comedy about two Martha Stewart characters on the same cablecast cooking show who have hated each other for years. Long-dead (is he grateful up there with his harp?) Stephen Biddle dated one and married the other.

So when circumstances put Isabel Lomax and Dolly Biddle together, the insults fly faster than the food.

Dolly's producer son (or is he really Isabel's son?) tries to keep them on track just at the point where he had given up cigarettes and he is a nervous wreck. The camera man for the cooking show, moreover, is a stone Goth, played by the funny-as-hell Thomas Cooper.

Makes for a lively play.

Seems that Canadian playwright Caroline Smith resisted the current "Stephen Has Two Mommies" trend and has produced a Samuel French award-winning comedy without the politics.

I can't get over the acting.
Guess in part, it's my background and Dolly's original portrayal of a Ukrainian cooking lady on her own TV show made for lots of pyrogy jokes. We were not Poles apart in the subject matter.
But then Flo McLellan, who plays Dolly, went into high Martha mode, the accent was gone and the battle between Dolly Biddle and Isabel Lomax is on.

There are instances of actors sometimes overcoming a script that begins to sag, and I must say that Coleeen Simms, who plays the irascible Isobel Lomax soon brightens the action once Dolly stops being the Ukrainian "Babka" cooking maven and on the new cable cooking show.
Isabel Lomax comes onto the show all challenge and insult, and Dolly counters with trying to get the nearest dressing room to the set.
But there is also a god out of the machine.

Former procucer of Newmarket Stage company Ray Burdon is the poor guinea pig who has to sample Dollly and Isabel's dessert fare and he gives one hell of a performance, reminiscent (to me anyway) of poor old Jalbert in The Professor and the Blue Angel, though in this insance, Ray has the outfit all right, but it is the strawberry and cheese that they are laying all over him. And he is something like the eternus-famishus Tasmanian Devil in devouring it all.Ray Burdon is funny as hell as the Deux ex Machina. A machina soon well oiled and cared for.
So long since I'd donned the lumberjack shirt and blue jeans and waited for the casting call.

Thanks for inviting me, Ray Burdon.
I had a blast, especially in the part where Dolly became the food queen, there was the entrance march from Aida, Dolly and Isobel walk out into the audience and I am thrilled to actually behold beautiful actress Colleen Simms.right in front of my seat.


doubtingthomas said...

What a review! A little bit of play, a little bit of actors, and even a bit of Ivan thrown in. If you don't shake it for Ivan when you get the chance, who will?

Of course, if you write plays, you can listen to your own personal muse, and if your muse has the same tastes as play-goers, you have a chance. Or you can pander to play-goers shamelessly and skip all that personal stuff and go for the gold. Hmmmmm.....

Ivan the playwright. Better than a plowright, Joan?

ivan said...

Doubting Thomas:


I am beeg tuff Ukrainian plow jockey and much overrated Pole-vaulter.

Jaye Wells said...

"I am thrilled to actually behold beautiful actress Colleen Simms.right in front of my seat"

Beholding women can get you slapped, Ivan.

ivan said...

Aw shucks, Jaye.
There's nothing the poor old fool can do about it.
Besides, you de one. Heh.

doubtingthomas said...

Ukrainian seven course meal:
Roll of kubassa and a six pack!

World's biggest kubassa is in Mundare, Alberta, in honor of Stawnichy Meat Processing on Sawchuk Street in beautiful Mundare. (Designed to withstand 160 kph winds. How appropiate!)

ivan said...

Ah well.
We gotta get that ethnic quotient in our diet or we don't feel so good.
There is Country Joe (related to my by marriage) and his gifelte fish and Ivan the Steppe Dancer and his kobassa.
I think we all agree on Druxys and his Montreal smoked meat.
I'll take a page out of Freud's book:
Sometimes a kobassa is just a kobassa.
Want any?

Shesawriter said...

Listen to Jaye, Ivan. Beholding is dangerous these days. ;-)

Anyway, great review.

ivan said...

Yeah, Tanya.
I guess I'm dating myself, but straight out of Bowery Boys, there's no telling what kind of smacker I'll get.
Probably an uppercut from Doubting Thomas. LOL.

Josie said...

Sounds like a lot of fun. So... when do we get to see your play?

I think I'll go have some chocolate babka now. Yum.



ivan said...

So nice to see you, as always, Josie.
I think you and I share similar traits. I don't know why, I just do.
For instance, I've been putting too much pressure on myself today, attempting to review the play above for big media, trying to satisfy Jaye Wells' Fory Pages- a -Day (sic) stream-of-consciousness
emission and trying to change my Fire In Bradford book to have it resemble a play.
Told Jaye I would cheat and fashion my play out of more or less whole cloth--But forty pages a day?
Last time I did that I ended up divorced, demented, and assembling jigsaw puzzles in the Cuckoo's Nest.
("I mean, don't worry," said the shrink, "Everybody over here is doing pretty well the same thing."
Hah. The place was starting to drive me crazy, so having signed in, I immediately signed myself out.
"Ever been crazy?" a reporter for NOW magazine asked famed songstress Alanis Morisette.
"Sure, lots of times. You just walk through it."
...Actually I drove through it, immediately landing a job as a taxi driver as to get my ole hippocampus back in shape...I had so overdeveloped my frontal lobes as a writer that I seemed to have no space perception at all, and now I am back to my full IQ of 99 as kind of an inspired moron.
Not for nothing did I do my Batchelor's thesis on MAD Magazine.
"You are now one of us," writes wonderful Willy Elder, author of
"Melvin Mole, a Man out of Control".
Omigod. I am finally an author.

Chocolate babka? Yep, they had it in the play.
they fed it to the poor Ghost out
of the Machine and he enjoyed it immensely.
Wish you'd been there. The food was real, and they had a spread.

Michelle said...

I'm totally charmed with your bit of cyberheaven...but you should put a warning label on the side bar link to Gerard's site. I got stuck in there for an hour. Almost wee'd all over myself. That is a fantastical list...

ivan said...

Hi Michelle.
Yeah, that Gerard is some cookie monster, ain't he?
We keep having spats.
Like two queen bees, I suppose.
But I like his writing.