In response to the recent Provincial funding cuts to the Arts, William Maranda decided to write and produce a comedy dealing with the issues of funding for the Arts. He brought in director MacKenzie Gray and a fantastic cast and crew for this off-beat comedy about the theatre gods (well, goddess. Actually, virgin-goddess, according to her) coming to the rescue of a little, little, little theatre. The play is full of topical humour and local theatre in-jokes.
Bronwen Marsden as Lorraine
Lorraine is the over-stressed and underfed General Manager of And The Rest Is History Theatre, with a spiritual need to produce the play "Themistocles", about the ancient Greek general and possible traitor. I wanted to give her a sort of funky look, like she does a lot of shopping on the Drive, and Little India. Lorraine is homeless, however, so I found these great pink PJ's for her to wear when she has to sleep on the office floor.
Ira Cooper as Epp
Epp is the over-excited playwright, obsessed with protecting his script from the vagaries of the now non-existent budget. MacKenzie wanted him to have a sort of hipster look. Since Ira is a bit of a hipster, himself, he actually brought in his own skinny jeans and local band tshirt. I was very happy to find red high top sneakers for him, though, as that stuck in my head as something I really wanted for the character.
Tommy Cowles as McSidd
McSidd is the out of work actor who appears in various disguises to try and get his foot in the door, and demonstrate his affinity for accents. He arrives as Victor, the landlord's man, the cleaning guy, a British ghost hunter, and, finally, as himself, for the audition at the end. We wanted him to wear something from a local theatre, and our stage manager, Laura Moore, provided this great t-shirt from Carousel's production of "Suessical, The Musical".
Mirielle Urumuri as Athena
The Goddess Athena arrives at the theatre, as she has a vested interest in the play going forward, and introduces the company to the sacrifice of pizzas, to appease the gods and change their fortune. This was my first exploration into making things with plaster cloth, and Athena's helmet, anatomical breastplate, vambraces and aegis were all made from plaster cloth and then covered in gold leaf to make her shine. Lighting designer Kitty Hoffman made the most of her glitter with her own fantastic lighting scheme, complete with dry ice and a rather lengthy fanfare.
Athena appears, later in the play, in disguise as "Mentor, King of the Graffiti People", so I rigged up this street outfit, complete with spraypaint can bandolier.
Amy Lester and Erin Garcia as the Chorus
The play within the play, facing budget cuts, has cut the Chorus down to two, who play a wide range of characters, with masks and other costume pieces. The basic chitons were cut short and on an angle to allow lots of running up and down the steps of Craig Alfredson's elegant set.
The Athenians, including an Old Man, two frightened mothers who later take arms against the invading Persians, and a blind man, who asks Aristedes to write Aristedes' own name on the man's ostrakon, so he can exile him.
This was my first foray into mask making, and I'd like to thank Des Hussey for introducing me to the process and helping me cast the intial molds on the actors. Here we have, left to right, Aristedes, Cimon, Simonides, Xerxes and Themistocles. I used whatever images I could find of these real historical figures to base the masks on. All of them were bearded, but the director and producer specifically did not want full faced masks, so the beards are implied. However, Xerxes' most notable feature is his glorious, full black beard of ringlets, so I had to keep that.
Photographs by Craig Alfredson, All Rights Reserved.
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