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L.A. Beat

Ron Chambers running playwriting workshop and Shakespeare in the Park auditions on Saturday

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University of Lethbridge drama  professor Ron Chambers is doing double duty at Casa on Saturday.

Shakespeare in the Park auditions are on Saturday afternoon at Casa. Photo by Richard Amery
 In the morning of Jan. 14, Chambers is teaching a playwriting workshop for Playgoers of Lethbridge, but  he’ll jump right from that to auditions for Shakespeare in the Park’s summer production of “A Comedy of Errors.”
 Chambers said nine people have enrolled in the playwriting workshop so far. It will begin at 9 a.m.

“I’ll begin by talking about a few practical concepts, then we’ll read  the plays and discuss them as a group. Hopefully the feedback from that will be useful to everybody. That’s how I teach my classes. The rest of the class learns from the feedback given to the other plays,” he said.

He asked participants to bring a five minute long piece to read with four or fewer characters and ideally copies for each character,though he noted photocopying may be available at Casa.

Chambers is also directing Shakespeare in the Park’s production of A Comedy of Errors. So he is taking advantage of being at Casa on Jan. 14 to hold community auditions for A Comedy of Errors. He is planning on another audition for university students later in the week and plans to do callbacks next Saturday.

“I want to have it cast the week after that. I like to have it done early. It gives time for Kate (Connolly, Shakespeare in the park’s artistic director) to complete grant applications and I have a play I’m directing at the university in the spring too,” he said.

 He is setting Shakespeare’s beloved comedy in the wild west.

“Shakespeare’s dead, he won’t mind us making a few adjustments,” Chambers chuckled.

“It’s easier for costuming  to dress people up like cowboys and, having it in the wild west makes it more accessible,” he said.

 Shakespeare in the Park artistic director Kate Connolly spent the winter cutting the play down to a svelte hour and five minutes to cut down on rehearsal time as well as to keep the audience’s attention.

“It is about two sets of twins. Two of them are upper class people and the other two are slaves, though we don’t know how we’re going to do  that. They get separated, but they come back and when they start interacting, they all get mixed up,” Chambers said, adding they aren’t counting on casting actual twins.

“That would be impossible, but we’ll get people we think will look  they could be twins  and work with costuming. The audience understands that. You’ll have to suspend your disbelief,” he said.

“We’re asking people to prepare a short scene. You can do a monologue or if you can find a partner, a scene no longer than five minutes. You don’t have to memorize it,” he said, adding you should be familiar with the script.

Shakespeare in the Park auditions run from 2-5:30 p.m.

Rehearsals for the play with be  three nights  week, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through May and June. Tech rehearsals will be June 26-28 for opening night on Thursday, June 29 in Galt Gardens. There will be 12 more evening performances Jun 30, Jul 6, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28  and Aug. 3, 4, 10, 11. There will also be a Sunday road trip to Nanton for the  U of L “Nanton Arts Day,” July 23 plus One Saturday night evening performance at the Empress Theatre, Fort Macleod either July 29 or Aug. 5.
There will also be a Saturday matinee performance at Casa either July 29 or Aug. 5.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

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