Wednesday, 16 May 2018

ONstage Tonight at Festival: Elmira Theatre Company

Elmira Theatre Company's production of On a First Name Basis
Elmira Theatre Company returns to Theatre Ontario Festival for the first time in 25 years—and bringing a play written by the same playwright as their last appearance at Theatre Ontario Festival.  This year they will be presenting On a First Name Basis by Norm Foster, representing the Western Ontario Drama League.

Elmira and Woolwich Theatre Company was founded in 1981 by a small group of local community members eager to bring the theatre experience to their town. In 2002, they changed their name to Elmira Theatre Company and have become well known in local theatre circles for their quality productions, especially comedies. In the earlier years, the company performed at local community halls until enough funds were raised to build their own theatre space in 2006. Today 109 members help to stage three performances annually, with a unique dinner theatre experience offered in the fall. Elmira is located in southwestern Ontario and members come from all over Waterloo Region, the County of Wellington and nearby towns and cities. The theatre is located at 76 Howard Avenue and has a seating capacity of 126. ETC has been an active member of Western Ontario Drama League since 1984. Over the years they have won numerous awards and have been nominated for many more at WODL Festivals. Their production of Norm Foster’s Opening Night was the winner of the Outstanding Festival Production award back in 1993.

In On a First Name Basis, David—a successful and wealthy spy novelist with writer’s block—has received some devastating news. Lucy, his dedicated housekeeper of twenty-eight years, has her own secret that she’s afraid to admit. As Lucy is getting ready to end her shift, David invites her to stay and have a drink. He realizes he knows nothing about his maid of twenty-eight years. She, on the other hand, knows absolutely everything about him. He is curious about the woman who’s been tending to his house all these years. But as the night sets in and the drinks start to flow, the revelations that reveal themselves are surprising, funny and extremely moving. Their journey is full of laughter and surprises. This is a love story and a social commentary wrapped up in witty dialogue and vivid imagery.

At WODL Festival 2018 in Sarnia, Elmira Theatre Company won the D. Park Jamieson Memorial Award for Best Production in Festival, and awards for Outstanding Direction (Rita Huschka), Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Major Role (Deb Deckert as Lucy Hopperstaad), and a Special Adjudicator’s Award of Merit to the set design, construction, painting and dressing team for “the creation of a space that provide the warmth and security necessary for two people to become friends for an evening”, with nominations for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Major Role (Gord Cameron as David Kilbride) and Outstanding Visual Production.  In the WODL In and Out of Festival Awards, they won Best Production of a Canadian Play.

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