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U of L presents dark Shakespeare-era drama Duchess of Malfi

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The University of Lethbridge’s production of Shakespearian era drama, The Duchess of Malfi is not for the faint of heart. The 1613 John Webster penned drama runs March 21-25 in the University Theatre.


“It’s a mix of Game of Thrones and the Matrix,” described third year drama student Austin Halarewich, who plays Antonio, the lover of the widowed duchess, played by Madeline Smith.
“It’s like the Game of ThronAustin Halarewich and Madeline Smith rehearse a scene from the Duchess of Malfi. Photo by Richard Ameryes because it is so gritty and dark, and it is like the Matrix because of the costumes and the soundscape which is very eerie and doesn’t fit into any specific time period and has a tribal feel. It isn’t designed for a specific time period,” Halarewich observed, adding he loves period pieces, though Chambers set this play in an indeterminate time.


 The play, though written in 1613, has been placed in an alternate reality according to director Ron Chambers.
“But he wrote it so it takes place in the 1500s. I also edited it down to about two hours from three hours by taking out things that people would just not get,” Chambers said, adding the cast includes 14 student actors, two children and a baby which isn’t real, who play the Duchess’ s doomed children.


The story begins with the recently widowed Duchess falling in love with her butler Antonio. Her two brothers, Ferdinand and the Cardinal, hungry for power and fortune, issue a decree that she must never marry. As she and Antonio plot to elope and flee her brothers’ treacherous claws, they are quickly deceived by Ferdinand’s spy, and their plans are interrupted by the brothers. As the plot descends into chaos, and Ferdinand and the Cardinal descend into lunacy, the Duchess and Antonio remain resolute despite the uncertainty of their fates.


“He’s (Antonio) her butler, but he’s content where he is. He’s not interested in power, but the more he falls in love with her, the more he becomes dependent on her and enjoys the life. They have to conceal their love for each other from her brothers,” Halarewich said.
 “I love period pieces. It’s a Shakespearean era play, ” he said, adding it also explores timeless themes like forbidden love.


“The play is very dark, so people will really appreciate those lighthearted moments when they happen,” he continued.


Second year drama student Madeline Smith , who plays the Duchess, never expected to be cast in the play, let alone as the leads.


“I decided to audition for the experience, I didn’t expect to get in. But when I got the callback, I cried. I’ve never played royalty in anything. So it’s a privilege,” Smith said.
“Ron is an excellent director. Everything is such a learning experience,” she said.
 She is enjoying playing the headstrong Duchess, who would have been an anomaly for the time.

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Local shows and comedy mark slower week

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After a crazy St. Patrick’s Day week, things slow down a lot this week.


 A lot of this week’s live music is local.Outrun the arrow play Casino Lethbridge, March 24. Photo bY Richard Amery
 One of the highlights is the wind up show for CKXU’s annual FUNDrive at the Slice.


 All week long, the local University of Lethbridge based community radio station has been hosting events and taking pledges to reach their $30,000 goal. The fun culminates at the Slice, March 24 with several local bands playing “banned” songs or songs that have been banned. Admission is $10 advance, $15 at the door.


 It is  great weekend for comedy as well.


 Ventriloquist Jeff Dunham returns to the Enmax Centre, March 24 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $54 and $70.


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Devon Coyote bringing some blues back to Lethbridge

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Kelowna based blues rock trio Devon Coyote are  excited to be back on the road after staying close to home for a year.Devon Coyote returns to Lethbridge this week. Photo By Richard Amery


They return to Lethbridge to play the Owl Acoustic Lounge, March 23.


“We’ve been playing a lot. But we’ve been playing  close to home because D’Arcy (Booth), our bass player had a baby with his wife,” said lead singer/ lead guitarist Devon  Bjarnason. Drummer Rod Anderson completes the trio.


“We’ve  also been writing new material, but we’re in no rush to release anything,” he continued, adding they have had  a busy winter  playing ski hills and private parties.


“So we’ve been doing a lot of practicing and playing. There’s a lot of ski hills around here, so we’ve had a busy winter,” he said, adding it has been nice to spend some time with family and friends at home.

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FUNdrive 2017 to show CKXU is more than just a radio station

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University of Lethbridge based radio station CKXU  is more than just a radio station. It‘s a place to not only hear music you won’t hear anywhere else according to their mandate to not play anything you hear on any other radio station, but it is also a place to hang out, blow off a little steam and stress, and make new friends in the process.  CKXU Station manager Aaron Trozzo is excited about FUNdrive 2017. Photo by Richard AmeryCKXU is also a  contributor to  in the community, helping out with events in and around Lethbridge as well as  big contributors to the local music scene, either by playing local musicians on the air, hosting and sponsoring concerts or actually being part of it as numerous CKXU personalities and volunteers are part of a variety of local bands.


This year‘s annual FUNdrive runs March 17- March 24. This year’s theme recognizes how CKXU is more than just a radio station.


“We’ve planned a pretty cool FUNdrive this year. I am legit excited about it,“ said CKXU station manager Aaron Trozzo.


“ FUNdrive is the time of year when CKXU actively solicits listeners, members, alumni, community members and students for donations to offset operating expenses and help fund special  projects,” Trozzo continued.
“This year’s theme is the things about CKXU that illustrate our involvement in the community and our contribution to the community,” he said.


“Whether that’s supporting the local music scene or in some capacity helping with other community organizations with projects and events on a more human resources level or local environmental initiatives like the Spring highway cleanup or the annual community clean up,” he continued, adding they are also planning to make the 2017 Love and Records festival in September 75 per cent waste free.


This year‘s FUNDrive goal is to raise $30,000 to cover station expenses and, if they beat the goal by $3,000, that extra money will be put towards an annual $1,000 scholarship for U of L students.


“A really cool thing we’re doing this year is implementing a ‘stretch goal.’ The $30,000 has already been earmarked for specific projects, but the other $3,000 will be for a scholarships — $1,000 a year for three years. If we don’t make it we’ll do it again next year. But we want to blow that $30,000 out of the water this year and improve student life,” he enthused.

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L.A. Radio

CKXU University of Lethbridge RadioUniversity of Lethbridge campus radio. Click here for heaps of great programing appealing to all demographics and musical tastes, spoken word and news.

Also the home of  the Hotrock Blues Beat Saturday nights @ 8-10 p.m.  and  Disco Sucks: Punkin’ it old school Wednesdays @ 8 p.m.-10 p.m.  with L.A. Beat editor Richard Amery.

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About L.A. Beat


L.A. Beat is Lethbridge, Alberta's only online arts and entertainment magazine.

It is designed to support music, art, drama and other cultural endeavours in and around the city.

It will start out as an online presence and then evolve into a print edition which will be distributed at numerous locations in the city.

If you have an event you want L.A. Beat to promote, contact us by e-mail.editor@labeat.ca

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