Western Ontario Drama League
Newsletter March 2020
In this issue:

  • Festival 2020 Pre-Festival Results
  • WODL Festival 2020 - 16 to 20 March 2020 - Cambridge
  • Increasing Diversity of Plays in the WODL Region
  • Monday March 16 - Art - Ghost Light Players
  • Tuesday March 17 - West Moon - Owen Sound Little Theatre
  • Wednesday March 18 - Fun Home - Theatre Sarnia
  • Thursday March 19 - East of Berlin - Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre
  • Friday March 20 - Mom's Gift - Elora Community Theatre
  • New WODL Life Member - John l’Heureux
  • News From Around the WODL Region
  • Playwights Canada Press at Festival
  • Off the Wall at Festival
  • Playwrights Guild of Canada - Canadian Play Outlet
  • If you are producing Canadian Plays this Season - Check This Out
  • ONstage Theatre Listings
  • Is your WODL Membership Information Up-to-date?
  • Dates for your Diary
Quick Links:
Festival 2020 Pre-Festival Results
Click the image below to see the full, printable Pre-Festival results:
WODL Festival 2020 - 16 to 20 March 2020 - Cambridge
By Terri Graham, Co-chair Festival2020, terri@wodl.on.ca

Our Community Welcomes You
March 16th-20th, 2020; Gala March 21st, 2020
Paris Performers' Theatre
Cambridge Community Players
Cambridge Arts Theatre, 47 Water Street South
Cambridge, N1R 6C9             
Cambridge Hotel and Conference Centre, 700 Hespeler Road
Cambridge, N3H 5L8           
Cambridge City Hall, 50 Dickson Street
Cambridge, N1R 8S1
What You Need to Know:

Opening Reception:

The reception will be held in the Bowman Room/atrium at the Cambridge City Hall on Monday, March 16th from 5pm-6pm. Honourary chair is Cambridge mayor, Kathryn McGarry and our emcee for the event will be Martin Smith from Paris Performers' Theatre.

The City Hall is just a couple blocks from the theatre with lovely restaurants along the way for everyone to enjoy before the first show. Invitations will be sent out on the 24th of February to attend this VIP event to start our Festival off!

Hotel information:

We have been informed that there has been some confusion on the pricing of hotel rooms or potential incorrect pricing given from the hotel. Our guru, Mona Brennan-Coles has broken down the room rate for us below:

The basic room rate is $109.00. With HST, the daily charge would be $123.17. However, Cambridge has a 4% municipal tax which is charged on the room rate plus tax -- as a result, the daily charge is $128.10.

If there are any issues with your room rates when you look at your bill, please let Mona know right away at monabc.theatre@gmail.com

Rooms are being held for Festival until March 1st and then will be released to the general public. Gala and show tickets are on sale now through the Cambridge theatre website www.cambridgecommunityplayers.com   (linked to the WODL Festival website www.wodlfestival.ca )  


The discount for 5 shows is until March 1st. Sales are going well and will continue to grow as excitement for Festival continues.


Tuesday: Stage Makeup workshop with Georgia Steel from Off the Wall ( www.stratfordoffthewall.com )

Wednesday: Kinky Boots show and tour at Hamilton Family Theatre ( www.draytonentertainment.com )

Thursday: Faux food workshop with Deb Erb from Off the Wall ( www.stratfordoffthewall.com )

Friday: Playwright Tamara Williamson from the Toronto area, author of musical On the Break-Up Diet

Saturday: Minute to Win It game time for some great community fun before gala!!
Increasing Diversity of Plays in the WODL Region
By Ken Menzies, WODL Adjudications Chair, adjudications@wodl.on.ca
One of the joys of being adjudications chair is going to see plays throughout the Western Ontario Drama League region when they are being adjudicated and then adding a veneer of sophistication to my views by listening to the adjudication. In the fall of 2019 and this winter, I have seen fourteen plays which is a little more than half of the twenty-three which the pre-Festival adjudicator saw. Groups have to be concerned with getting “bums in seats”. Over this adjudication cycle I have seen them try to do this through a diverse group of plays. Some that stand out are:

5 Alarm by Kristen da Silva at Paris Performers Theatre. This is a romantic comedy from a woman’s perspective. When romantic comedies are written from a male perspective, the man is a good guy and when the woman accepts sleeping with him, you know that she has done well, as has he. When a romantic comedy is presented from a woman’s’ point of view, getting the man to sleep with her is easy. The question is how to get him to commit. The characters must be fully realistic for these comedies to work. Having seen her Sugar Road and Where You Are , I knew Kristen da Silva writes these. This is a great example. There are several well written characters so I expect that many community theatres will produce this soon.

December Man by Colleen Murphy at Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre. This tells the story of the impact of the Montreal massacre on a male student and his family. While fictional, it shows how the central victims of a tragedy are not the only ones affected. The story moves backwards in time. By projecting the number of days after the massacre above the set, KWLT made the time sequence easy to follow.

West Moon by Al Pittman at Owen Sound Little Theatre (you can see this at Festival). Having taught at MUN (Memorial University of Newfoundland) in 1985, I was familiar with the story of the resettlement of many small outports. The government encouraged everybody to leave, as schools and medical services are difficult to provide economically for one to two hundred people. This tells the story of one outport with nobody left from the point of view of those in their graves. The human cost from the destruction of community is clear; however, the sociologist in me wonders if the alternative is better. I have cycled through central France and visited sad small villages with nobody under fifty in them as the young move to find economic opportunities and enjoy the amenities of urban life. Communities can die in many ways: none gentle.

The Photograph by Joan Burrows at Kincardine Theatre Guild. I had it all figured out, until I did not. Delightful script.

Reefer Madness by Joe Landry at Paris Performers Theatre. Having coordinated the Crime and Public Policy Program at the University of Guelph and taught many courses in this area, I was familiar with how absurd public views on marijuana had evolved but had never seen the 1936 film classic Reefer Madness . YouTube allowed me to overcome this deficiency as I had been informed the play was a takeoff on this film. The takeoff of the court case was a delight. One person, with numerous different voices, played all the parts of a courtroom drama except the defendant. He popped up and disappeared behind a tall choir. Theatrical magic.

37 Postcards by Michael McKeever at Theatre Woodstock. Insanity is zingers as insanity allows some to avoid an insane reality. I laughed at a play about death.

In addition to the Owen Sound play in-Festival. I have seen two other in-Festival plays: Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre’s East of Berlin and Elora Community Theatre’s Mom’s Gift . The quick reviews: GO. GO.
Monday March 16 - Art - Ghost Light Players

Marc, Serge, and Yvan are friends, but when Serge buys a completely white painting their patience, sanity, and intellectual facades are put to the test.   

Tuesday March 17 - West Moon - Owen Sound Little Theatre

Once a year, on All Souls’ Night, the occupants of a small Newfoundland cemetery are granted the ability to think, feel, remember and speak.

Confined to their graves, the inhabitants talk amongst themselves and look to the newly dead for reports of their isolated coastal community. Amidst the usual gossip of small town life, dark stories of resettlement emerge.

Heartwarming and full of power, laughter, joy and stubborn resilience,  West Moon  lends insight into the rich culture of 1960s-era Newfoundland outports that was nearly lost when their people were forced to move inland.
Director's Notes:
Though I had been aware of the resettlement program in Newfoundland and Labrador prior to 2018, it was only after visiting the province that I became acutely aware of its lasting effects. It was only then that I realized the poignant legacy of the practice and the enduring emotional wounds still borne by the people of the province.

The effects of resettlement were everywhere. The topic was introduced in virtually every conversation I had with locals. We hiked out to several abandoned fishing villages and the sadness was palpable.

We saw a production of West Moon at the Rising Tide Theatre in Trinity, and it resonated deeply, staying with me for several months after we left. The quirky premise of using the voices of the dead (and thus left behind) to tell this story tickled my fancy, and the poetic dialogue of playwright Al Pittman touched my soul. I approached the Owen Sound Little Theatre Playbill committee to ask if I could direct this play about a divisive and controversial element of Canadian history.

After Newfoundland and Labrador joined Confederation in 1949, Joseph R. Smallwood (the province’s first Premier) wanted to diversify, industrialize, and modernize the province. The traditional salt cod fishery was dying, and frozen-fish factories were emerging. The small villages scattered around the coastline were struggling, and the government offered financial assistance to resettle residents to larger centres where they would have access to government services like health care, schools, post offices, and electricity.

Between 1954 and 1974, 263 coastal villages and islands in Newfoundland and Labrador were resettled, resulting in the displacement of nearly 28,000 people.

The government provided a cash payout if 90% of a community’s population voted to leave, then all supports were cut off to the village. While residents were offered cash to move, they received no assistance from the government to find homes and jobs. Children were moved from one-room schoolhouses to large schools and were often treated as outsiders and bullied. Seniors who had spent a lifetime in one small community felt lost; many never adjusted.

Kathleen Cassidy
Wednesday March 18 - Fun Home - Theatre Sarnia

When her father dies unexpectedly, Alison dives deep into her past to tell the story of the volatile, brilliant, one-of-a-kind man whose temperament and secrets defined her family and her life.

Moving between past and present, Alison relives her unique childhood.

Fun Home is a refreshingly honest, wholly original musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes.
Director's Notes:

I would really love the audience to simply open their minds and hearts and just …feel. This is a show that speaks to us all and enables us to see ourselves inside of it, regardless of how we identify.

It’s important to realize how brave the real Alison was for sharing her story. Fun Home follows Alison Bechdel's journey as she tries to unpack and understand the depth of her Father’s closeted life and his motivations, especially as they relate to her own. We often try to seek the truth of our parent’s lives, and in doing so that helps us understand our own. The show is an honest look at seeing our parents through grown-up eyes.

This 2015 hit Broadway musical was nominated for 12 Tony Awards, winning 5, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Book of a Musical. It’s important to note that Fun Home places a lesbian protagonist at the center of the action, a groundbreaking first for theatre.

This is Alison’s real life story and we hope we’ve done her proud.

Holly Wenning
Thursday March 19 - East of Berlin - Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre

Standing outside his father’s study in Paraguay, Rudi is smoking cigarettes, trying to work up the courage to go in. It has been seven years since he stood in that same spot; seven years since he left his family and their history behind him. As a teenager, Rudi discovered that his father was a doctor at Auschwitz. Trying to reconcile his inherited guilt, Rudi lashed out against his family and his friends, and eventually fled to Germany. While there, he follows in his father’s footsteps by studying medicine, and falls in love with Sarah, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor. Questioning redemption, love, guilt, and the sins of the father, East of Berlin is a tour de force that follows Rudi’s emotional upheaval as he comes to terms with a frightening past that was never his own.
Director's Notes:
I am about to ask a lot of you. Momentarily, you will meet Rudi. It’s 1970 and he has returned to his family home in Paraguay for the first time in years. He isn’t from Paraguay though; he was born in Berlin in 1945. Right as his father was losing the war. Rudi will tell you about his experiences over those years; why he left, why he came back, beginning with the moment he learned about his father’s role in the systematic murder of millions of people.

In his time with you, Rudi will explain the choices he’s made, the paths he’s followed, and he will desperately need you to understand that he has done, and is doing, the right thing. He is wrong. While Rudi’s specific circumstances are fairly unique, that is not what I ask you to consider. Rather, what he does with his circumstances. Throughout, Rudi conflates doing what’s right with doing what feels better; so long as his father suffers, it must be the right thing. Rudi firmly believes this, though I am sure we can all agree that doing the right thing in very difficult situations is often not the easy thing to do, especially when others may be affected. This is what I ask you to consider.

While we may not be able to relate to discovering a parent’s monstrous past, there are none among us who cannot relate to being deeply ashamed of something and think we are doing what’s best by burying it; obfuscating it.

I ask you to look inward and consider the choices you’ve made, the paths you’ve followed, and where it has led you. I ask you to face your shame and take away it’s power to silence you. I ask this of you as I ask this of myself. For our own sake, and those we share this life with. Furthermore, to that point. The Holocaust is undeniably one of the single greatest shames of our collective history, one sworn never to be permitted to happen again. And yet, we are seeing a resurgence in white supremacy and neo-nazism, from around the world and in Canada as well, where an avowed white supremacist placed 3rd in the most recent Toronto mayoral election.

These odious ideologies have been emboldened out from the shadows and we have a responsibility to not look away. To prevent these tragedies of the past from repeating themselves, we cannot turn a blind eye because the truth, that pieces are moving as they once did before, is too shameful to bear. We must bear it. Especially those of us in a privileged position to speak out and be heard. So, as we begin our performance this evening, I ask you to consider these things. Shame is a powerful motivator. But we, all of us, mustn’t be moved to silence.

Ryan Bassett
Friday March 20 - Mom's Gift - Elora Community Theatre

In this comedy with a heart, Mom has been dead for 11 months and shows up at her husband’s birthday party as a ghost with a mission. Like Clarence in It’s A Wonderful Life she has to accomplish a task to earn her wings. Only what the task actually is, is a mystery. There are so many things to fix. The problem is complicated by the fact that the only person who can hear or see Mom is her daughter who has been ordered by the court to spend Dad’s birthday with him as part of her Anger Management Program. One by one the family's secrets are peeled away revealing a shocking truth that surprises even our ghost !​
Director's Notes:

I love comedy​ and this play made me laugh out loud and moved me when I first read it. It’s not every play that can do that. I have been blessed with a wonderful group of people who helped bring this play to life! Sit back, relax and enjoy the fruit of our labour.

Stan Jensen
New WODL Life Member - John l’Heureux
The WODL board has endorsed the Life Members Committee recommendation that John l’Heureux become a life member of WODL.

This award recognises the major contributions he has made over the years to WODL. He has supported other groups as well as his home group, Theatre Sarnia, at many Festivals.
News from Around the WODL Region
By Janice Lundy, member WODL Communications Committee,   janice@wodl.on.ca 
Continuing to March 8 London Community Players  Mom’s the Word
March 6-21 Ghost Light Players   God of Carnage
Mar 20 – Apr 4 Players Guild of Hamilton Third
Mar 26-Apr 4 Owen Sound Little Theatre The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
March 27- April 5 Peninsula Players Death by Design
Apr 1-5 Theatre Sarnia    A Fox on the Fairway
Playwrights Canada Press at Festival
By Jessica Lewis, Sales & Marketing Manager, Playwrights Canada Press, jessica@playwrightscanada.com  
Playwrights Canada Press will be at the WODL Festival on the Friday afternoon and Saturday morning at the Cambridge Hotel.

Make sure to visit us for a great discount on a variety of published plays – if you buy one or two books, they’re 30% off, if you buy three or more, they’re all 50% off!

We’re looking forward to seeing you! 
Off the Wall at Festival
By Michele Boniface, Chair, Off the Wall Stratford Artists Alliance, mboniface@cyg.net
Check out our webpage at: www.stratfordoffthewall.com
Playwrights Guild of Canada - Canadian Play Outlet
The  Canadian Play Outlet  has launched its new site with over 2000 Canadian Plays right at your fingertips. Looking for something specific? Check out the curated  Collections .

Every month you can take a look at the newest unpublished and published plays available!
If you are Producing Canadian Plays this Season - Check This Out
The Playwrights Guild of Canada publicises productions of Canadian-written plays through its website,  www.playwrightsguild.ca .

If you want to perform a Canadian play but cannot figure out where to obtain the amateur performance rights,  view this presentation from PGC .
ONstage Theatre Listings
Theatre Ontario publishes an online list of current and upcoming productions by its member groups. To see what is on  click here .
Is your WODL Menbership Information Up-to-date?
Are you on the board of a theatre group that belongs to WODL? If your group has:

  • A new President
  • New WODL delegates
  • A new Treasurer

Please let our membership chair, Gina Paradis, know at  membership@wodl.on.ca
Dates for your Diary:
23 February 2020
WODL General Meeting, Cambridge
16 March to 21 March 2020
WODL Festival 2020, Cambridge
13 May to 17 May 2020
Theatre Ontario Festival 2020, Sault Ste Marie
12 July 2020
WODL Annual General Meeting, Lethbridge
This newsletter was prepared by:
Tricia Ward
Communications coordinator

Western Ontario Drama League  |  communications@wodl.on.ca  |  www.wodl.on.ca

Copyright © Western Ontario Drama League 2020. All Rights Reserved.