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After more than 2000 years in Hades, Penelope has decided to set the records straight. Theatre Grenfell presents Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad, a shrewd, witty and insightful retelling of the myth of Odysseus as seen through the eyes of Penelope, the patient and virtuous wife, and her favourite 12 maids.

Remember the maids? They were hanged by Odysseus for their infidelities with Penelope’s suitors who had raped and abused them for 20 years while they waited for Penelope to choose a husband. The 12 hanged maids help Penelope tell what it was like growing up in Sparta, marrying Odysseus, and then spending 20 years maintaining the kingdom in Ithaca, bringing up a petulant and unruly son, and fending off 100 or more lustful and greedy suitors, while her husband fought for wicked cousin Helen’s “honour” in Troy and then took 10 years to amble his way back home.

“Atwood’s acerbic wit combined with all the theatrical spectacle of inventive movement, music and potent story-telling makes this a must-see production,” said director and theatre program chair Jerry Etienne. The Penelopiad features the talents of second-, third- and fourth-year acting and stagecraft students. Set and costume design is by faculty member roy Hansen-robitscheck, lighting design is by Renate Pohl, vocal and movement coaching is by visiting artist Olivia Olsen, and musical direction is by Pamela Gill.

The Penelopiad runs from Nov. 27-30 in the Fine Arts theatre. Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for adults with a special $5 admission for students under 18 on our Talkback Thursday, when the audience is invited to chat with the actors, technicians and the director after the performance.

Tickets are available at the Grenfell Campus Bookstore, Brewed on Bernard or the Fine Arts Theatre Box Office on the evening of each performance.

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​Grenfell Campus, Memorial University’s, second-, third- and fourth-year students will bring Two Planks and a Passion by Anthony Minghella to the Fine Arts stage Oct. 30-Nov. 2.

 

Many will associate the late Anthony Minghella with the much-lauded movies he directed – The English Patient, which won Academy Awards for Best Movie and Best Director, and The Talented Mr. Ripley, which he also adapted for the screen. Minghella achieved acclaim early in his movie career, when he wrote and directed Truly, Madly, Deeply.
Anthony Minghella, who passed away at the age of 54 in 2008, thought of himself mainly as a writer and began his career as a playwright in London England. Two Planks and A Passion was published in an anthology of his plays in 1985.
Two Planks and A Passion is set in 1392 in the town of York in Northern England when King Richard II and his Queen, Anne of Bohemia visit the town during the Corpus Christi passion play cycle. They are escaping from the political turmoil in London, and having a secret rendezvous with their old and dear friend Robert De Vere, the Earl of Oxford who has been exiled from England by the Archbishop. Their arrival in the town sends the burghers and Guilds masters into a frenzy of one-upmanship as they all try to outdo one another impressing the King.
The play is a satirical romp, but also a moving portrait of the Royals and the humble tradesmen of the Painter’s Guild.
Two Planks and a Passion features 16 actors from the second, third, and fourth years of the Grenfell acting program. King Richard and Anne of Bohemia are played by fourth-year students Merrick Macneil and Alanah Whiteway. Lights and set are designed by roy Hansen-robitschek. The beautiful medieval props and costumes are designed by visiting artists Vicki Marston and Renate Pohl and executed by a wonderfully talented group of students from the technical theatre program. Stage managing this epic production is Ryan T. Oake under the guidance of Susan Jennings.
Guest director Linda Moore returns to direct Two Planks and A Passion. In 2011, she directed Dancing at Lughnasa for the Grenfell program. She was the artistic director of Neptune Theatre in Halifax for 10 years and currently directs throughout Canada. She recently won the Nova Scotia Merritt Award for Outstanding Direction.
Showtime is 8 p.m. nightly. Tickets are $10 for students, $15 for adults and are available in advance at the Grenfell Campus Book Store and Brewed on Bernard, or on the evening of each performance at the Fine Arts Theatre Box Office.

 

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"Three Sisters" opens in the Grenfell Campus Fine Arts Theatre on Wednesday, March 5, and will continue 8 p.m. each night until Saturday, March 8. Tickets available at Brewed on Bernard, the campus bookstore, or at the box office one hour prior to the show. Pre-purchasing is advised. Grenfell theatre program: Three Sisters opens March 5 $15 regular, $10 for students on Thursday, March 6 for the increasingly popular TalkBack session, this time featuring director Alex Fallis, as well as other members of the crew & cast. Group Bookings can be made by email, grenfelltheatre@gmail.com.  
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Our next production is Sarah Ruhl’s play “In The Next Room” or “The Vibrator Play”. It deals charmingly, tastefully and very humorously with the medical treatment of “hysteria” in the Victorian era. Hysteria was seen to be a build of “excess pressure on the womb” causing various physical and psychological symptoms. These symptoms could be relieved by strategically applying an electrical vibrating device until the woman experienced a “paroxysm” and the hysterical symptoms were cured- at least until the next scheduled treatment!

The play follows the story of Dr. Givings and his wife. Dr. Givings runs a treatment centre devoted to treating any number of hysterical symptoms. Thanks to his magnificent collection of vibrating devices, things go swimmingly for the young doctor until his wife decides that she wants to try the treatment for herself.
“In The Next Room” is a sweet and thoughtful comedy about love, science and the struggle to communicate. And vibrators.
 
A friendly warning: The play deals frankly with sexual topics. Viewer discretion is advised.
 
Dates: April 2nd to 5th 8:00PM
 

 

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