Friday, 20 May 2016

ONstage Tonight at Festival: Theatre Sarnia

Theatre Sarnia's production of 33 Variations
Last year’s recipients of Outstanding Festival Production return to Theatre Ontario Festival, as Theatre Sarnia represents the Western Ontario Drama League (WODL) with a production of Moisés Kaufman’s 33 Variations.

Theatre Sarnia is one of the oldest, continuously operating community theatres in Canada.  The Drama Club of Sarnia was created in 1927, and among its founders was WODL founder D. Park Jamieson.  Later known for many years as Sarnia Little Theatre, Theatre Sarnia performs out of the Imperial Theatre which opened December 31, 1996. Theatre Sarnia has hosted our Festival three times—in 2002, 2006, and most recently in 2014.  Six times they have represented WODL, most recently last year in Oshawa last year when they presented The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl. At Theatre Ontario Festival 1995 in North York, Sarnia’s production of The Melville Boys by Norm Foster won their first Elsie for Outstanding Production.

Theatre Sarnia’s Theatre Ontario Festival entry is 33 Variations. This is a play inspired by Ludwig van Beethoven’s work. In parallel tales of obsession, a musicologist attempts to uncover the motivation behind Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, a series of 33 variations on an ordinary waltz by a composer he felt was beneath him. 33 Variations debuted on Broadway in 2009, starring Jane Fonda.

At WODL Festival 2016, Theatre Sarnia won the D. Park Jamieson Memorial Award for Best Production in Festival, Outstanding Direction (Henri Canino), Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Major Role (Audrey Hummelen as Dr. Katherine Brandt), Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Shane Davis as Anton Schindler), Outstanding Technical Achievement (Set Design by Jen Paquette and Projections by Ian Alexander & Alexandra Westelaken), Best Coordinated Production, and two Special Adjudicator’s Awards (for Cy Giacomin as the Pianist, and for Jackie Burns’ period Choreography), with nominations for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Darryl Heater as Mike Clark) and Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Andrea Hughes Coleman as Dr. Gertie Ladenburger.)

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