ANTIGONISH – Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre has unveiled its 2020 season lineup with the theme “An Unexpected Twist”. This will be the 33rd season for the company that has been producing and presenting professional theatre in Antigonish since 1987, and has become a cultural and tourism anchor for the region.
The season’s theme speaks to the type of plays that are included in the program – all of which include surprise plot twists, unexpected moments of laughter, and characters who surprise themselves and the audience with some of their decisions. The theme also alludes to the programming itself, which includes an unexpected special presentation that is new art form for the theatre and will surprise and delight audiences.
The Main Stage series includes Fly Me to the Moon, a boisterous comedy by Marie Jones; The Best Brothers, a tender play about sibling rivalry, by acclaimed Nova Scotian playwright Daniel MacIvor; and, Something Fishy, a cloak and dagger farce about politics. As a special presentation this year, the repertory program will also include a contemporary solo-dance performance by renowned African-Nova Scotian artist Liliona Quarmyne. The piece, titled Salt Cycle, is an evocative dance that explores the relationship between women and water. The Family Stage show will be a stage adaptation of The Paperbag Princess and other stories, by beloved Canadian author Robert Munsch.
The season opens on July 4th, and all five shows will run in repertory until the end of August. Pay-what-you-can previews will be offered for the Main Stage and Family Stage productions, along with extra opportunities to interact with artists beyond the stage, including Theatre-on-the-Town, Meet the Playwright events, and the annual Play Reading Series. Also returning this year are the sensory-friendly Relaxed Performances for specific shows.
“I am thrilled to be able to announce this season” says Andrea Boyd, artistic director. “I read many, many plays and when I arrive at one that feels right for our community – one that has a great story and provokes laughter, (and often more complex emotions), I get very excited. The plays this season are all world-class – funny plays that will warm your heart, and, new to Festival Antigonish, a lovely contemporary dance piece too.”
The company is once again preparing for the arrival of the summer artists, close to thirty people who make Antigonish their home for the summer months. “It’s such a joy when June rolls around and our company arrives,” Boyd added. “I still can’t quite believe I get to work with such phenomenal people. They love coming here and have often expressed how much they enjoy being in Antigonish.”
The cast for the Main Stage includes a mix of new and returning artists – Kevin Curran, Francine Deschepper, Josh MacDonald, James MacLean, and Laura Teasdale. Starring on the Family Stage will be Misha Bakshi, David Elliott, Linda Meian, and Rebecca Wolfe. Directors for the season include Andrea Boyd, Sharon Bajer, and Sam Rosenthal, and the design team includes Ian Pygott, Jennifer Goodman, and Elizabeth Perry.
Season passes are on sale now, and available by calling the box office at (902) 867-3333 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
2020 SEASON DETAILS – FESTIVAL ANTIGONISH SUMMER THEATRE
FLY ME TO THE MOON
By Marie Jones
Directed by Andrea Boyd
Featuring Francine Deschepper and Laura Teasdale
Care workers Francis and Loretta look after 84-year-old Davy, a lonely man who lives for his Frank Sinatra records and his modest weekly bet on the horses. But when Davy dies unexpectedly the two cash-strapped women face a moral choice. Will they cash in his pension and collect his unexpected race winnings? How far will they go for a little windfall that apparently hurts no one? This fast-paced boisterous comedy leaves plenty of room for doing the wrong thing.
THE BEST BROTHERS
By Daniel MacIvor
Directed by Sharon Bajer
Featuring Josh MacDonald and James MacLean
What if the favourite son is a dog?
Bunny Best has met her unfortunate end after a freak accident at a Gay Days parade. Now her two sons have the task of celebrating her life and caring for her most beloved companion, a troublesome Italian greyhound named Enzo. In the bustle of obituary-writing, eulogy-giving, and dog-sitting, they wrestle with the most fundamental questions: Who did mom love more, and who gets the dog? This bittersweet comedy from Nova Scotia’s most prolific playwright presents a warm portrayal of brotherly love.
by Marcia Kash, Douglas E. Hughes
Winner: Stage West Pechet Family Comedy Award
Directed by Andrea Boyd
Featuring Kevin Curran, Francine Deschepper, Josh MacDonald, James MacLean, and Laura Teasdale
A cloak and dagger farce
It’s election time, and local hero Raymond Bream is preparing a major announcement in his bid for Prime Minister. His political rival is sending henchmen to the town to prevent his speech – by any means necessary. The showdown happens at the local community centre, where an amateur theatre troupe is about to open The Vicar’s Knickers. As the world of politics encounters its natural cousin – the world of farce – everyone dons disguises and suddenly no one is who they appear to be.
Created and performed by Liliona Quarmyne
A spellbinding dance about women and water
This ‘solo-duet’ dance focuses on the relationship between women and water. It is an interrogation of our relationship to water, a dialogue around tradition and identity, and an exploration of the relationship between art and social justice. Its roots lie in the Songor Salt Lagoon in Ghana, where a large part of the piece was created.
“My body is a conduit, a link to past and to future generations. It takes me back, it takes me forward, it carries the present. My body is story.” – Liliona
THEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES
The Paperbag Princess, and Other Stories
By Robert Munsch, Adapted by Irene Watts
Directed by Sam Rosenthal
Featuring Misha Bakshi, David Elliott, Linda Meian, and Rebecca Wolfe
More fun that a barrel full of monkeys
This classic play brings to life some of the most well-known and beloved stories by Robert Munsch, including The Paper Bag Princess, Mortimer, Angela’s Airplane, and Millicent and the Wind. Lively, interactive, high-energy, and loads of fun for the whole family!