The oldest of this week’s four community theatres takes the stage as Guelph Little Theatre—just one year removed from celebrating their 75th season—presents the only international play of Theatre Ontario Festival 2012.
Guelph Little Theatre first opened its doors in 1935 at the Guelph City Hall auditorium. Today, their Morris Street theatre has been described as a hidden gem in the City of Guelph. Guelph Little Theatre shares the distinction of being one of the participants in our first Theatre Ontario Festival in 1973, returning on numerous occasions—most recently in 2003 in Oshawa where they won the Elsie for Outstanding Production for their production of Cosi. This year, they present Steve Martin’s Picasso at the Lapin Agile.
Once banned for its questionable behaviour and adult themes, this gem is not only witty, and full of puns, pratfalls and zingers but some real thought-provoking dialogue that not only contains an adequate dose of realism, but suggests a seductive romp through a history of intrigue, invention and merriment, regardless of the century's faults. The year is 1904 and the Lapin Agile was a real bohemian bar where the artistic clientele of the time would often meet. Although the story itself is totally fictional, the place, would have seen similar heated philosophical debates between cocky young men like Picasso and Einstein trying to outdo one another in regard to their ideals, principles and general feelings about art, time, science, beauty and the world in general.
At the 2012 Western Ontario Drama League Festival in Sarnia, Guelph Little Theatre was awarded the D. Park Jamieson Memorial Award for Best Production in Festival, as well as Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Rob Gray), Best Coordinated Production, Best Visual Production, Outstanding Ensemble Work, and an Adjudicator’s Award for “clever detail in a cameo performance” (Sally Nelson).
Read more about Theatre Ontario Festival 2012 on the Theatre Ontario website