Pictured here is a scene from Red Deer Players’ production of Mass Appeal featuring Paul Boultbee and Jason Steele. Red Deer Players is currently hosting a series called ‘Breaking Cover’ which features the readings of plays by Alberta playwrights followed by a chat with the playwright and audience members. photo submitted

Red Deer Players gear up for another ‘Breaking Cover’ show

Event set for Dec. 9th at the Red Deer Public Library downtown

Red Deer Players is gearing up for the next edition of ‘Breaking Cover’ – a series of rehearsed readings of new plays from Alberta playwrights.

Things get underway Dec. 9th at 1:45 p.m. in the Snell Auditorium of the Red Deer Public Library downtown.

Audiences have the opportunity to watch the plays and to also offer feedback on the productions as well.

The first event was held this past September and round two is just around the corner with a reading of A Jew and a Muslim Walk Into a Comedy.

Playwright Caroline Russell-King tells of a Jewish Synagogue sponsoring a Syrian refugee family.

“This play is based on interviews with refugees, who escaped the most gruelling circumstances imaginable, where they laughed along with the amazing women who brought them to Canada. These are examples of wonderful human beings trying their best in a world gone mad,” notes a release.

This rehearsed reading is being directed by Red Deer Players Board Chair Lori Lane, and will be read by local actors Perry Mill, Erna Soderberg, Fleur Jacobs, Paul Boultbee and Nigel Lane.

Lori said the comedic tones of the play are a key way of delivering the themes of the story as well.

“It’s really, really endearing,” she said, adding that some of the humour stems from cultural and language misunderstandings that are part of any new family from abroad settling into a new community.

Russell-King will also be in attendance and, following the reading, a chat will be held with the audience to help the playwright in further development of the script.

Breaking Cover, which is run in partnership with Friends of the Library and kicked off earlier this Fall, offers a terrific means for folks to explore the inner workings of how a play really takes shape.

As Lori has pointed out, the series is also a means of further reaching out to the community and broadening the awareness of what Red Deer Players is all about.

Reflecting on the first Breaking Cover session, Lori couldn’t have been more pleased. “It went better than expected,” she said. “The feedback was really positive – people thought it was a lot of fun and something different and interesting.”

Ultimately, Lori said it’s a fun and engaging time for the cast, the audience and the playwright to really explore the inner workings of a production on so many levels.

Meanwhile, additional sessions are slated to run Jan. 13th, March 10th and May 26th.

The shows don’t come with full staging – there’s no costuming, no props, no set, no special effects – it’s just the ‘read’ which makes for a really unique experience for all involved. That includes local actors, who have lots of fun delving into the shows which of course don’t require a lengthy rehearsal process.

There is no admission charge for Breaking Cover performances, but support via a silver donation at the door is appreciated.

In other Red Deer Players’ news, the company is gearing up to award the first Carole Forhan Theatre Arts Scholarship in memory of a beloved member of the troupe who passed away in 2016.

Forhan was a huge supporter of the local arts scene, and was one of the founders of Red Deer Players so it seemed fitting to establish a Scholarship in her name.

The Carole Forhan Theatre Arts Scholarship is available on an annual basis, in the amount of $500, awarded to an individual who demonstrates passion, dedication, a solid work ethic and commitment to theatre, and who is moving ahead to further their education and/or knowledge in the area of theatre arts, notes the web site.

“We are going to be awarding the first scholarship in the Spring,” said Lori. “So what we are doing on March 23rd in Studio A at the Red Deer College Arts Centre is we are having a scholarship launch event. It will also feature a good, old-fashioned variety show.

“It will be an evening of comedy, skits, songs – that sort of thing,” she explained, adding that tickets will be available early in the New Year.

For more information about Red Deer Players or the Carole Forhan Theatre Arts Scholarship, check out www.reddeerplayers.com.

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