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Media Release – Festival sets the Stage

Media Release — DJ Kelly @ April 30th, 2009

Media Release
For Immediate Release – April 30, 2009

Festival sets the Stage
Petro-Canada Stage One Festival developing six new plays and musicals

Calgary, AB – Six new plays will be added to the Canadian canon this May as they each receive two public readings through the Petro-Canada Stage One Festival. The 21st annual festival, which runs May 4 to 16, features readings of new one-act plays in development and in consideration for future programming at Lunchbox Theatre.

The Petro-Canada Stage One program for the development of new plays is one of the cornerstones of Lunchbox Theatre. The nascent works chosen for the program are given professional dramaturgical services, editing support, and workshop presentations to enable the playwrights to have public readings and advance to the next stage of development. Petro-Canada Stage One is recognized as the premiere one-act development process in Canada.

For 2009, Petro-Canada Stage One Festival features:

Dream Vacation book, lyrics and music by Jonathan Monro
May 4 & 5 at 12:10pm
A musical about three people who win a dream vacation and learn to deal with each other in one room, during a hurricane.

About That Girl by Darrin Hagen
May 6 & 7
A man learns that life can be magical when stuck in an elevator with a drag queen.

Emily and Roy by Paul Kaufmann
May 8 & 9
A man confronted with his friend’s death wants to leave a legacy; will it be a grandchild or the largest ever welded man?

She’s Back
by John Lazarus
May 11 & 12
The world of a middle-aged, happily married college teacher is turned upside-down when his first wife comes back into his life, and seems to have designs on him.

Ex-Pats book and lyrics by Col Cseke, music by Brent Podesky
May 13 & 14
A musical about a woman relocating from the east coast to Alberta who, stuck in the sandwich generation, is dealing with her fathers’ memory problems and a teenage son who wants to drop out of school.

The Boiler Room by Allana Harkin
May 15 & 16
A fast paced comedy about a young wannabe television writer who learns to lie and manipulate to keep her relationship with a television executive.

The Petro-Canada Stage One Festival features a small army of theatre artists including seven playwrights, four directors, 13 actors, two musicians, two stage managers and one literary manager (biographies in the appendix to this media release). The Petro-Canada Stage One Festival runs May 4 to 16, Monday to Saturday at 12:10pm, with each play receiving readings on back-to-back days.

The world’s longest running lunchtime theatre, Lunchbox Theatre is a professional company that caters to downtown office workers over the noon-hour by producing at least six plays per year as well as the Petro-Canada Stage One new play festival and the BD&P Emerging Director Program. After 33 years, Lunchbox Theatre has recently relocated to the base of the Calgary Tower.

For more information, to request an interview, or to visit a rehearsal:
DJ Kelly
Marketing and Communications
Lunchbox Theatre
403 265 4292 x 229
dj.kelly@lunchboxtheatre.com

Battle of the sexes staged for new Lunchbox season – Calgary Herald

Articles and Reviews — DJ Kelly @ April 29th, 2009

Lunchbox’s 2009-10 season, announced Wednesday, is all about the battle of the sexes. The season features a half dozen productions, including four world premieres and a comedy by Oscar-winning screenwriter Alan Ball (Six Feet Under).

“It’s all about lust and love and life,” says interim artistic director Rona Waddington, “and the repercussions we don’t like to talk about.”

Here’s the Lunchbox lineup: – Power Lunch (Sept. 14 To Oct. 10) by Alan Ball, in which a man and a woman with atrocious histories of relations with the opposite sex meet in a restaurant and sparks fly. – Under The Bright Sun (Oct. 19 to Nov. 14) by Norm Foster (world premiere). Four people at a bus stop don’t seem to know anything about their surroundings. An existential public transportation comedy. – Dream Vacation (Nov. 23 to Dec. 23), a musical written and composed by Jonathan Monro (world premiere). Three people win dream vacations to sunny Mexico and are more than a little surprised when they are forced to share the same hotel room. (No, they didn’t book through Conquest Vacations).

Mr. Fix It (Feb. 1 to 27, 2010) by Caroline Russell-King (world premiere). Mel, the owner of a chain of appliance shops, opens his door one day to be greeted by his ex-wife. Her unexpected announce-ment leads him to re-examine their past life together. – The Submarine (March 8 to April 3, 2010) by Michelle Deines (world premiere). A brilliant young engineer travels to Scotland to solve the mystery of a submarine she designed where she learns, with the help of a stubborn fisherman, that life and love have no limits.

This Could Be Love (April 12 to may 8, 2010), a musical written and composed by Brock Simpson, in which two polar opposites, burned by modern romance, get married on a whim — and then must get to know each other. – The season will conclude with the BD&P emerging director Presentation in May and the Petro-Canada Stage one Festival, where they will hold a series of staged readings of new works.

shunt@theherald.canwest.com

Lunchbox Theatre announces 2009-2010 season

Media Release — DJ Kelly @ April 22nd, 2009

Media Release
For Immediate Release – April 22, 2009

Lunchbox Theatre announces
2009-2010 season

Calgary, AB – After a successful first season in a brand new theatre at the base of the Calgary Tower, Lunchbox Theatre prepares to launch their first full season on the TransCanada Stage at Lunchbox Theatre.

Lunchbox Theatre will again be producing six plays with four-week runs for the 2009-2010 season presented by EnCana; including four world premieres and two musicals. The season will close with a presentation directed by the graduate of the BD&P Emerging Director Program and the 22nd annual Petro-Canada Stage One Festival.

“The 2008-2009 season was historic for Lunchbox as we moved into our beautiful new home,” says interim artistic director Rona Waddington. “I am proud to return to oversee the selection of a new crop of work, which I think will do the new space justice. The overriding theme of each of these great plays is that they, at their heart, are about the battle of the sexes. I especially look forward to directing the first production myself and watching the new artistic director helm the last show of the season.”

The application deadline has closed and interviews for a new Lunchbox Theatre artistic director will begin shortly. The new artistic director is expected to take over from Waddington in June or July. “I hope 2009-2010 is just as exciting for the new AD as 2008-2009 was for the rest of the company,” adds Waddington.

Also returning for 2009-2010 are bagged lunches available through the Lunchbox Theatre Box Office and Happy Hour performances each Friday at 6:10pm, which come complete with a complimentary beverage.

Playpasses – six flexible admissions to be used in any combination throughout the season – are on sale now.

For more information or to request an interview:
DJ Kelly
Marketing and Communications
Lunchbox Theatre
403 265 4292 x 229
dj.kelly@lunchboxtheatre.com

Lunchbox Theatre 2009-2010 Season
presented by EnCana

Performances: Monday to Saturday at 12:10pm, with a special ‘Happy Hour’ performance Friday at 6:10pm
Tickets: $18 Adults, $15 Seniors and Students
Playpass: Six flexible admissions, $90 Adults, $75 Seniors and Students
Contact: www.lunchboxtheatre.com, boxoffice@lunchboxtheatre.com or 403 265 4292 x 0

Power Lunch
A comedy by Alan Ball
September 14 – October 10, 2009
A man and a woman with atrocious histories of relations with the opposite sex meet in a restaurant and sparks start to fly. As their mutual attraction grows, they enter into a lively and hilarious battle of the sexes. By the author of the Oscar-winning screenplay American Beauty and the popular television series Six Feet Under.

World Premiere
Under the Bright Sun
A comedy by Norm Foster
October 19 – November 14, 2009
Four people at a bus stop don’t seem to know anything about their surroundings. Why are they there? Where are they going? And who can answer their questions? This is fast-paced comedy about living, loving, and taking stock, from the always-entertaining author of The Christmas Tree and My Narrator.

World Premiere
Dream Vacation
A new musical written and composed by Jonathan Monro
November 23 – December 23, 2009
Three people win dream vacations to sunny Mexico and are more than a little surprised as to how their holidays unfold when they are forced to share the same hotel room. Developed through Petro-Canada Stage One by the author and composer of the Betty Mitchell Award winning musical With A Twist.

World Premiere
Mr. Fix It
A Romantic Comedy by Caroline Russell-King
February 1 – 27, 2010
Mel, the owner of a chain of appliance shops, opens his door one day to be greeted by his ex-wife. Her unexpected announcement leads him to re-examine their past life together. Can Mel fix old wounds and 25 years of marital ups and downs as easily as a 1970′s Kenmore toaster?

World Premiere
The Submarine
By Michelle Deines
March 8 – April 3, 2010
A brilliant young engineer travels to Scotland to solve the mystery of a submarine she designed. She learns, with the help of a stubborn fisherman, that life and love have no limits. Developed through Petro-Canada Stage One, this is a story of personal determination.

This Could Be Love
A Comical Musical written and composed by Brock Simpson
April 12 – May 8, 2010
Two polar opposites, burned by modern romance, get married on a whim… and then must get to know each other. An off-Broadway hit about jingle writing, undercover shopping, and marriage at first sight.

BD&P Emerging Director Presentation
May 20 – 22, 2010
The BD&P Emerging Director Program is where many early career directors get their first professional experience. After working on at least two productions during the season, the BD&P Emerging Director will direct a one-act play of their choosing.

Petro-Canada Stage One Festival
May 31 – June 5, 2010
Through the Petro-Canada Stage One Festival Lunchbox Theatre has become Canada’s leading development source and producer of new one-act plays. At the end of each season, Lunchbox Theatre holds a series of staged readings of new works and invites audience members to give feedback during a discussion period.

Wonderful whales – FFWD Weekly review

Articles and Reviews — DJ Kelly @ April 17th, 2009

Martini’s new play a sweet, good time


Lunchbox Theatre wraps up the mainstage portion of its 2008-09 season with the world première of Clem Martini’s latest work, The Invention of Music. One of Lunchbox’s founders, Bartley Bard, now based in Los Angeles, directs.

Martini is the most-produced playwright at Lunchbox and he lives up to his usual quirky style with this piece. To begin with, the four characters are whales in a deep sea sanctuary. This alone sets up the audience for something not unlike children’s theatre. You have to approach the show with a child’s imagination to accept that the characters walking around onstage, flapping their arms in costumes resembling wetsuits, are supposed to be whales.

The Invention of Music is a cute little show. Each character is well-developed and distinct. There’s Bill, “An Immense Blue Whale” (Brian Jensen); Hector, “A Romantic Humpback Whale” (Justin Michael Carriere); Frank, “A Small Finback Whale” (David LeReaney); and Kira, “An Intense Orca” (Shawna Burnett).

The performances are one of the highlights of this production — each actor dives fully into their whale identity. LeReaney is particularly amusing as crusty and cranky Frank. He also has the opportunity to display his agility by doing different “voices,” as his whale character picks up, and spits out, radio signals from the human world. (LeReaney is a dialect coach in Calgary, so it’s enjoyable to see him “show his stuff,” so to speak).

Bill and Frank live peacefully in an underwater sanctuary for whales. According to Frank, they’re there to reflect upon and contemplate life. Bill, as the largest whale in the world, is nervous he’s a prime target for hunters. He also suffers from anxiety attacks over the ocean’s many other ills, such as the depletion of the fish stocks, so he’s hanging out in the underwater lagoon trying to lose a few sizes and stay out of harm’s way.

When Hector enters the sanctuary, he stirs up the peace and quiet, much to Frank’s annoyance. Hector’s been kicked out of his pod on account of his unorthodox relationship with Kira, the killer whale. (Killer whales are meat eaters and will feed on other whales.) This predicament sets up a lot of the show’s gentle humour, with references to “wooing breakfast” and “seducing lunch.” Before long, Hector’s singing brings his lady love to him, causing further disruption in the sanctuary.

Add to this the dolphins, stingrays and humans who are all invading the sanctuary — cleverly integrated into the show on a large projection screen that the characters interact with.

Kira shakes the other whales out of their complacency and self-imposed rehab, telling them that, yes, the world’s a mess, but “hiding from it won’t make it any better,” while convincing Hector to defy convention and make a life with her.

The set is imaginatively constructed, with rocks and sand creating topography resembling a sea floor. The screen, which provides the backdrop for the set, is a very creative way to involve other images of sea life, and adds an effective multimedia element to the show.

There are many themes touched upon in this play, not least of which is the impact humans are having upon the environment — melting ice caps, warming oceans and whale hunting. The play also deals with living life to the fullest, and the concept of “live and let live.”

My only criticism concerns the play’s title. I’m not really sure how The Invention of Music applies to the plot. Yes, Hector likes to sing (another humorous element in the show, with Carriere emitting these strange plaintive whines), and he believes that singing will bring the world together, as it brings his whale love to his side. Beyond that, however, I’m unsure how the play delivers on the title.

That said, The Invention of Music is an endearing, gentle show. The bottom line is, if you can’t buy into its premise, then don’t go, because it will just seem silly. If, however, you approach the show with a childlike imagination and sense of play, you will have a lovely lunchtime at the theatre.

Whales in rehab shed light on humanity – Calgary Sun review

Articles and Reviews — DJ Kelly @ April 6th, 2009
Fri, April 3, 2009

Whales in rehab shed light on humanity

UPDATED: 2009-04-03 03:15:44 MST

By LOUIS B. HOBSON, SUN MEDIA

Calgary playwright Clem Martini writes clever, insightful allegories.

Whether it’s pit bulls, elephants or whales as is the case with his newest comedy The Invention of Music, Martini is really exploring some aspect of the human condition.

The Invention of Music, currently at Lunchbox Theatre, is billed as a comedy about whales in rehab and that pretty much sums up the 45-minute lunchtime diversion.

A pair of male whales are in self exile in a remote, secluded lagoon.

Frank (David LeReaney) is a cantankerous old Finback with good reason to hate humans.

Not only did they kill his mate, but they left him with a broken harpoon in his head which picks up radio waves each time he surfaces.

Bill (Brian Jensen) the Blue Whale is paranoid because he feels his size makes him the world’s largest moving target.

Frank and Bill are like a pair of old codgers incessantly complaining and gripping.

Into their midst sails Hector (Justin Michael Carrier), an eternally optimistic Humpback who, much to the chagrin of the old guys, loves to sing and frolic with other sea creatures.

The second newcomer to the lagoon is Kira (Shawna Burnett), an Orca who has been ostracized from her pod for falling in love with Hector. As Kira hilariously explains, what could be more dysfunctional than falling in love with lunch?

Martini’s play is all about witty banter rather than action.

Director Bartley Bard has his actors in constant motion and verbal overdrive. Scott Reid’s set, lighting and video screen images go a long way to approximating what life under the sea would be like as does Christian Goutsis’ sound design.

Rebecca Toon’s costumes are a bit too bargain-basement for my liking.

LOIUS.HOBSON@SUNMEDIA.CA

Sun Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

THE INVENTION OF MUSIC

UNTIL APRIL 25

Whale tale makes waves onstage – Herald Review

Articles and Reviews — DJ Kelly @ April 2nd, 2009
Lunchbox offers amusing, smart story of belonging

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