Surrounded by pipes, scaffolding, ladders and construction materials in the Waterworks Theatre is a newly constructed stage. On the stage are modest props, two sets of spot lights on stands, light cords strung from the ceiling and dark curtains providing a backdrop. On stage, some of the actors and actresses are experiencing difficulty remembering their lines. Others are sitting in the audience diligently studying their scripts, and with some anxiety, are patiently waiting their turn to take to the stage. This is the day of the first rehearsal of the production of The Importance of Being Earnest by the Waterworks Theatre Society. Time is becoming a valuable commodity for Directors Don Berner and Ted Eden and the entire cast as the production is taking place on February 22nd to 24th and March 1st to 3rd.
Although this is not the first production in the Waterworks Theatre (5002 53 Ave. directly north of the Memorial Arts Centre), it is the first production on the newly constructed Waterworks stage. The entire building is a work-in-progress but considerable progress has been made. Remodeling and renovating an old building is a daunting task; and even more so on a shoestring budget. The stage has recently been installed. There are walls that will have to be painted, flooring installed, perhaps more sophisticated lighting and sound systems and updating of utility systems that will all require endless dollars and volunteer hours.
But, this is a group of local people with great theatrical talent that is fueled by a passion for everything this activity has to offer. You can tell that many hundreds of volunteer hours have been spent to bring the building to a state where it can actually house a performance. At first glance it may appear to be a little unkempt. But after being immersed into the ambiance the facility offers, it grows on you as a theatrical setting. Black support beams, the outline of a structure that had been removed leaving an outline in the paint, dark colored backdrops contrasting with red brick walls and modest furniture and props. But perhaps most striking feature is the curved brick and wood arches surrounding the windows mounted in the red brick walls. The building grows on you as a theatrical setting and becomes a production in itself.
The Waterworks Theatre Society preparing for a first-class performance
The Waterworks Theatre Society has a history of providing consistent first class performances. The first hour of the first rehearsal is already clearly showing signs of another remarkable performance. The cast, much like the decor in the Waterworks Theatre, exhibited some minor flaws. But, both are showing signs of a fantastic final product. Come February 22nd, the lights for the first performance come on, the jitters are present and the audience has great expectations. The play progresses, the jitters start to go away and the acting becomes more fluid and more natural.
The performance ends, the final curtain goes up and the cast comes on stage to receive the reward they have so diligently earned, the appreciative round of applause from the audience. This is the reward that acknowledges another stellar performance but also thanks this committed group for providing top notch theater for the community.
The cast list in order of appearance:
Lane (Algernon Moncreif's butler) – George Pariseau
Algernon Moncrei – Joel Perry
John (Jack) Worthing – Erik Andersen
Lady Bracknell – Deborah Williams
Miss. Gwendolyn Fairfax -Paris Engram
Miss. Cecily Cardew – Claire Holliday
Miss. Laetitia Prism – Julie Matwiiw
The Rev. Canon Dr. Chausible – Ted Eden
Merriman (John Worthing's butler) – Levi Anderson
Directed by: Don Berner and Ted Eden
The Importance of Being Earnest is written by Oscar Wilde and was first performed in 1895. It is a satire on Victorian society, and a romantic comedy. The Importance of Being Earnest is a classic comedy of manners in which two flippant young men; in order to impress their respected beloveds, pretend that their names are "Ernest," which both young ladies believe confers magical qualities on the possessor.
Tickets are $15 each and are available at Dr. Dave Hewko's, Warren's Music, The Best Western Inn, or by calling the Theatre Hotline at 780-352-8383. Friday and Saturday performances begin at 8 p.m. with doors opening at 7:15 p.m. Sunday performances are at 2 p.m. with doors opening at 1:15 p.m.