Hobson's Choice: Community theatre bursting with creative talent

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The upcoming premieres of three new works highlight just how much creative energy there is in the local arts community.

FLC ACting Club’s Lost and Found with, from left, Bryan McHale, Rose Bene (kneeling) Tamara Van Horne. cal

Full Circle Theatre is ready to unveil Riverona, its whimsically unsubtle mash-up of Shakespeare and pop culture while the FLC Seniors Acting Club takes a look at the process of grieving after the sudden death of a partner through Rose Benet’s play Lost and Found: Beth’s Discovery. Also, local actor and visual artist Rebbekah Ogden has created Sisters, 10 portraits of her nine sisters and herself to run in Rosebud’s Akonkiniskway Art Gallery throughout the summer in tandem with Little Women The Broadway Musical.

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Full Circle Theatre began workshopping Riverona, its reimagining of Romeo & Juliet, last year, eventually creating four episodes which it will present as two full-length plays running in repertoire from June 26 to July 14 at the Evergreen Community Space (1709 8th Ave. N.E.)

Erin Weir, Full Circle’s artistic director who plays Tybalt in Riverona, describes the show as “Riverdale meets Wet Hot American Summer meets Shakespeare. Riverona takes all the tropes from your favourite CW TV shows and seamlessly blends them with the original Shakespearean text. It is now about 30 per cent Shakespeare, and 70 per cent our own goofs.”

She adds that “the opening brawl between the Capulets and the Montagues, the balcony scene, and all those barbs fired between Mercutio and Tybalt are there, but it also has teens fighting to save their youth hangout, and even a high school fencing coach running for mayor. This show will redefine what we mean by Summer Shakespeare.”

Megan Baldrey plays Juliet with Hans Wackershauser as her Romeo and a supporting cast of 16 local actors.

For a complete performance schedule, and to reserve seats, go to aflimsyplan.com/full-circle-theatre.

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Riverona Reimagines Romeo and Juliet at Full Circle Theatre. Photo courtesy, Hannah Anson cal


Calgary’s FLC Seniors Acting Club offers seniors the opportunity to learn and experience various aspects of live theatre from viewing local productions to writing, directing and acting in plays created especially for seniors.

Longtime local actress Rose Benet, the co-ordinator of the program, has written a play about navigating grief, an experience common to seniors.

She says Lost And Found: Beth’s Discovery “looks at how one woman deals with the sudden death of her husband. It’s Beth’s journey of discovery and renewal as she navigates her way through the complicated process of grief. As well as examining the serious side of grief, the play takes a satirical jab at post-funeral interactions and family dynamics. It all adds up to some non-stop, whiz-bang action. “

Trevor Rueger, executive director of Alberta Playwrights Network, was the dramaturge in the play, which was directed by actor and instructor Erin Noble.

Benet plays Beth with a supporting cast that includes Donna Della Rosa, Terry Brown, Bryan McHale, Carolyn Wright-Stronski, Linda Lanz, Tamara Van Horne and Tom Carver.

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This 90-minute play runs in Theatre 1308, at 1308 Edmonton Trail N.E., June 26-30 at 7 p.m., with Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at tickets.morpheustheatre.ca.

Artist Rebbekah Ogden and her self portrait. cal


It was grief that helped unlock Rebekkah Ogden’s artistic talents.

“I was 18 when my mother passed away. I started painting as a way to process my grief. I was always into portraiture, and did abstract figures of ballerinas,” says Ogden, whose partner is actor, playwright and musician Joel Braun.

Today, Ogden’s portraits are decidedly natural. Last December, Braun posted a short video of his wife’s portrait of her sister Laura on their YouTube channel Bekah&Joel. It went viral with more than three million views.

“People asked if there were more, and suggested if there weren’t, I should consider creating more,” says Ogden, who decided to capture all nine of her sisters in oil paintings, plus a self-portrait. Braun documented the process, including interviews with the siblings. Two of these episodes are already posted, with two more planned, including the gala opening of Sisters at the Akokiniskway Art Gallery in Rosebud on June 29.

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Ogden thought the perfect match for her exhibition was Rosebud’s production of Little Women The Broadway Musical which, like her exhibition, runs until Aug. 31. Ogden played Beth, the frail March sister in Theatre Calgary’s 2022 holiday production of Little Women, and starred in Edmonton playwright Holly Lewis’ madcap farce, The Fiancee, at the Chemainus Theatre Festival this past fall. Her artwork was featured in the Martha Cohen Theatre during the run of Theatre Calgary and Alberta Theatre Projects’ Selma Burke in April. Ogden’s portraits at Rosebud will be accompanied by a collection of her sister Laura’s photographs.

Prints of Ogden’s portraits will be on sale during the run of the exhibition, and she is willing to negotiate sales of the originals.

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