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.