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Playgoers of Lethbridge will get audiences laughing with Boeing Boeing

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Playgoers  of Lethbridge take laughter to new heights with their upcoming production of  Marc Camoletti’s French Farce  Boeing  Boeing.
 The 1962 comedy, translated by Beverley Cross and Francis Evans, lands at the Yates Memorial Theatre, Feb. 10-13.

Bernard (Garrett Bishoff ) explains to his friend Robert (Josh Hammerstedt) how he juggles three airline hostess fiances in playgoers of lethbridge’s production of Boeing Boeing. Photo by Richard Amery
“It’s coming together really really well,” said director Linda Johnson, who was pleased to be able to move into the Yates Theatre earlier than usual to allow the cast to practice opening and closing the numerous doors on stage.

“There are so many doors. So timing is so important when one opens and another closes,” she said.

“Boeing Boeing” is about the misadventures of French bachelor Bernard, who thinks he has everything figured out with his three air hostess fiancés.
He figures they are none the wiser about each other due to their strict schedules until the introduction of new, faster Boeing jets.

“One is American, one is German and one is Italian and they know nothing of each other,” Johnson said.
“ But because of the new Boeing planes, which are  faster, all three hostesses arrive at the same time so  Bernard’s American friend Robert has to help make sure these three women don’t meet,” she continued.

“So Bernard is in a complete panic when all three show up,” she said.Garrett Bishoff and Emilie Kidd rehearse Boeing Boeing. Photo by Richard Amery
 The talented local cast includes an equal mix of Playgoers of Lethbridge veterans and newcomers. She has worked with Josh Hammerstedt (Robert), Monique Prusky (Gabrielle) and Shelly David before, but hasn’t worked with Garrett Bishoff (Bernard), Cassandra Watson or Emilie Kidd.

“ Just the fact they are so talented. They all have their own character which they bring to the characters they play. They’ve all been wonderful,” she said, praising her backstage crew as well.
“ I always say laughter is the best medicine. So I expect people will leave this play feeling quite healthy,” she said.


U of L Opera Workshop performs to raise money for Syrian family

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There is no rest for the wicked or the U of L Opera workshop.The U of L Opera Workshopare excited to play a fundraising concert to help resettle a Syrian family, Sunday, Feb. 7.Photo by Richard Amery
 The U of L Opera workshop just finished two successful performances of Hansel and Gretel and barely stopped for a breath before preparing  for a special show on Sunday, Feb. 7 to  help bring a large Syrian family to Lethbridge.
“ We usually try to take a week off, but when this show came up, everybody was so enthusiastic abut it. It is a small way we can contribute our talents. Besides , this is what we do, we  sing,” said U of L Opera Workshop director Dr. Blaine Hendsbee.

 The  show, taking place Sunday, Feb. 7 at 3 p.m. at St. Augustine’s Anglican Church, is the second in a series of three fundraising shows to help bring  a 14 member Syrian family to Lethbridge.

“This is a large collaborative effort between St. Augustines and several other Anglican churches and the University of Lethbridge,” said Brian Black who is  helping spearheaded the group’s efforts to privately sponsor the family, who are  scheduled to arrive  within a month, if all goes smoothly.

“One of the sisters in the family and her husband were  refugees and it’s their family,” he continued, noting  They hope to raise a total of  $140,000 which will support the family for a year while they get settled.


Yukon Blonde explore keyboards on new CD

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Yukon Blonde have embraced keyboards on their best album to date “On Blonde.”Yukon Blonde play Lethbridge, Feb. 11. Photo by Olivia Jaffe
 They bring their new keyboard based, more pop infused sound to Average Joes, Feb. 11.
 After enjoying a beautiful couple months off from non-stop touring since their third CD was released in June,  the Juno nominated, Polaris prize shortlisted Vancouver based band are excited to get back on the road.

“We’ve hired a new keyboard player Rebecca Gray so it’s nice to have the female dynamic in the band now,” said Yukon Blonde guitarist Brandon Scott. Rebecca Gray and new bassist James Younger join the band’s core of frontman Jeffrey Innes, Graham Jones and Scott.
 “It’s been fun rebuilding the songs from the ground up for her keyboards and  adding new parts to the old songs. And she’s a great singer, so we’re nuts about adding that fifth harmony,” he enthused.

He said frontman Jeffery Innes’ obsession with vintage keyboards found its way into the band’s new more ’80s pop influenced sound.
“The keyboards really fill out the sound on the album,” Scott observed.
“Jeff bought a lot of vintage keyboards and Moogs and has been learning how to play them, so it’s all been really fun,” he said, adding Younger also put his stamp on the new music.

“He helped us write it. He’s really added his influences to the sound. Both of them have been great assets to the team,” Scott said, adding the band is immensely proud of the new CD as they were able to take more time on it and write most of it in the studio.

“I think it shows how much we have evolved as a band. On last two records, the songs were pretty much done before we went into the studio. We did a lot of rehearsing before, so we knew pretty much what the songs would sound like. On this one, we went into the studio with a lot of broken ideas. So we were able to record some of it and go home and listen  to what we recorded and come back and work on it again,” he said.

The new CD has spawned a couple of successful videos for the singles “ Saturday Night,” and the most recent  single “ I Wanna Be your Man.”
 Scott said the band left them in the hands and creative imagination of director Mac Boucher. The band were pleased with the results.
“We aren’t even in the video. We’ve been constantly touring since June. But Jeff’s face is in ‘I Wanna Be Your Man.’ We recorded it in the green room at one of our shows,” he recalled, adding they turned out perfectly for the songs.


The Caucasian Chalk Circle lets cast play a variety of roles

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The University of Lethbridge is taking  their audience with them for their production of Bertolt Brecht’s “ The Caucasian Chalk Circle,” Feb. 5-13 at the University of Lethbridge.

Danielle Martens and Rae Anne Boon rehearse a Caucasian Chalk Circle. Photo by Richard Amery
“The characters are either on stage or sitting in the audience,” said first year drama student Rae Anne Boon, who along with the other 24 actors, play a cornucopia of 70 different characters in  the play, which literally takes the audience all over the drama department including the  David Spinks Theatre and the main theatre and even the  lobby during the course of the play.

The story of class and political struggle takes place at the end of the Second World War when a child is placed in a chalk circle. Two women, one the biological mother who abandoned the child, the other the child’s caregiver through years of gruelling circumstances, are instructed to pull on the child to identify which is the true mother.

With over 70 characters, the 25 actors each play about five characters. Throughout the evening they remain part of the action, either acting, on the sidelines, moving set pieces, making sound effects or becoming an audience member themselves.

Boon is enjoying being able to play a man in the play as she plays police officer Shauva.

“Playing Shauva is really fun because he’s a man and he’s also really stupid, so it is a lot of fun,” Boon said.
“I love being able to play all of these different characters,” Boon said, noting the characters in the audience will help guide the audience to the different locations for the play.


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

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