Take your seats, the show is about to begin
February 3, 2011 3:48 PM
“[Going to Theatre Antigonish] will enhance the university experience if you just give it a go,” proclaims Ed Thomason, artistic director of Theatre Antigonish. Thomason is going into his fourth season at Theatre Antigonish and has enjoyed every minute of it.
For those of you who don’t know what Theatre Antigonish is, it’s “the town gown community theatre based here at the Bauer Theatre on the campus. Its subject is to provide productions of plays that are done by students, faculty, staff, and members of the wider community,” says Thomason.
There is a long tradition of university theatre at StFX. “However,” Thomason continues, “unlike many university theatres, there is no theatre program. So what I like about what Theatre Antigonish offers to the campus community in terms of campus participation is that if you are interested you can get a hands on experience.”
When asked about how the Antigonish community supports Theatre Antigonish, Thomason responded with: “Antigonish is a fantastically supportive community for the theatre because Theatre Antigonish pre dates Festival Antigonish and Festival Antigonish in 2012 is having its 25th anniversary. There is a great tradition of supporting live theatre of this kind. Its as if it was legitimate theatre, not commercial. It’s a mix of classical theatre and modern plays, which is a great tradition in this part of the world.”
Thomason explains that Theatre Antigonish is run by the students and the faculty apart from himself and the professional directors that come in. “The productions are at high standard,” he says. “It’s a hands on thing rather than a theoretical.”
Theatre Antigonish puts on three productions a year: two in the fall semester, and one in the winter semester. Thomason explains, “we kicked off the season with One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, then we did a Greek tragedy based on Antigone called The Burial at Thebes.” The performances already held this year have had rave reviews and will hopefully increase viewership of this upcoming play.
Currently, Theatre Antigonish is in rehearsal for Shakespeare’s comedy The Taming of the Shrew, directed by Shelley Thompson. Thompson has created a unique version of one of Shakespeare’s most comical comedies.
Set in the 1950s, The Taming of the Shrew demonstrates a love story within the conventions of gender roles and rock’n’roll. Thomason says, “this production is using that kind of idiom to highlight the comedy and to point up those rigid family gender roles that were in place. Which the main characters in their way kind of explode.” The Taming of the Shrew performances start Feb. 10 and run till the 13. They then start up again Feb. 17 to 20. Tickets are 12 dollars for adults, ten dollars for seniors and eight dollars for students.
Another exciting event happening soon at Theatre Antigonish is the One Ac Play festival, running March 17 to 20. “What’s most exciting about the One Act Play festival,” says Thomason, “is that you don’t know what the plays are going to be. It’s open to all comers: theatre groups, community groups, individuals, students.”
The festival has always been a great success for Theatre Antigonish, and it allows actors to participate and show their work, and for the audience to see an assortment of performances. Thomason says “we program it so that each evening you come, you get something different and a real variety of styles and play choices in the course of an evening.”
Thomason believes that Theatre Antigonish is a great addition to campus life. He says “I think it’s a great benefit to students to have their own theatre company producing its own plays each year. I like to encourage students that actually a lot of the plays are related to student courses.” “The idea of Theatre Antigonish is to be all inclusive,” says Thomason. “It’s meant to be an educational experience for the people who take part; however, we’re very fortunate that the quality of talent is quite high.” At Theatre Antigonish you’re always assured to be well entertained. Although these are not professional actors Thomason says he asks of them what he would ask of any actor: “to represent the play as best they can.”
Thomason concluded saying, “[Theatre Antigonish] is a wonderful experience. I’m always saying to people, look if you’re interested in life at all, at the end of the day theatre has a lot in common with voyeurism and gossip. And everybody likes to hear stories.”