Alberta Theatre Projects, the Calgary company devoted to recent Canadian and international successes, has four world-premiere Canadian plays in its PanCanadian playRites 2001 Festival, Jan. 26-March 4.
The 15th anniversary featival, seen by resident theatregoers over six weeks — and by international producers and guests in a special visitors' weekend — includes the following:
• Connie Gault's Red Lips, directed by Paual Danckert, concerns a woman's trip abroad changing her in unexpected ways. Billed as a "magical, mystical comedy of personal discovery," it asks, "Is it better to stay home and live a life that's wisely temperate, or to cast your fate into the air, like a fisherman testing his reel?"
• Ron Chambers' Respectable, directed by Vanessa Porteous, is a black comedy about a pair of guys who discover their new job has sinister roots. It's billed as "extreme theatre" with "very coarse language, raunchy behavior and dangerous ideas."
• Serge Boucher's 24 Exposures, directed by Gail Hanrahan and translated by Shelley Tepperman, gets its English language premiere, offering revels and revelations at a family birthday party. Canadian playwright Boucher's work has strong language. • Joan MacLeod's The Shape of a Girl, directed by Patrick MacDonald, produced in association with Vancouver's Green Thumb Theatre, is a one-woman show about a teenage girl's "funny, terrifying" encounter with modern violence. It's "about our capacity for violence and the courage it takes to stand up to your friends."
The PanCanadian playRites Festival includes a number of ancillary events, including a traveling presentation of 10-minute plays, a world-premiere improv show called After Hours, a 24-hour playwriting competition, panel discussions and public readings of three new works — Stephen Massicotte's Mary's Wedding, Greg MacArthur's Epiphany and Eugene Strickland's Midlife.
Artistic director Bob White's festival acting ensemble includes Dennis Fitzgerald, Chris Hunt, Kevin Kruchkywich, Jim Leyden, Brad Loucks, Maggie Nagle, Laura Parken, Valerie Ann Pearson, Valerie Planche, Stephanie Wolfe and John Wright.
Tickets are $14-$30. A package of four shows is $70. Performances are in the semi-circular 450-seat Martha Cohen Theatre in the Calgary Centre for Performing Arts, ATP's home since 1985. For information, call (403) 294-7402 or visit the website at http://www.atplive.com.
— By Kenneth Jones