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Get some Hay Fever at the university this week

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The University of Lethbridge has  a bit of Hay Fever this week.Courtney  Montgomery touches up Jocelyn Haub’s make-up. Photo By Richard Amery
 Several students are performing in the 1928 Noel Coward comedy in the University Theatre (W500) , Oct. 20-24.
“It’s a pretty standard story. There is a family  who have a  house in the country and each family member invites guests to come to visit  unbeknownst to the others,” explained  director Gail Hanrahan.
“The family are all eccentric. The mother is a well known actress and the father is a well known writer and the son is an artist, so they are all  very artistic. So the humour is very situational,” she continued adding the characters have fun creating unusual situations for their guests.
“It takes place in a time before television so people had to entertain themselves, so they have fun creating situations for their guests  to find themselves  stunned by and hilarity ensues,” she said.
“ The nine characters are all really different so there is something in it for everyone,” said Hanrahan, who is also  directing a production of Hair in the spring. The University of Lethbridge drama professors rotate through directing the productions, so she directs about one a year. She was a professional director  for 20 years before coming to Lethbridge four years ago.

Pissy’s Wife is “astonishing”

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Erica Hunt is “astonishing” in  New West Theatre’ s latest production, Marg Szkaluba (Pissy’s Wife). Hunt plays  “hard woman” Marg Szkaluba , a mid-’50s rural wife who gets pregnant in Grade 10 and marries God-fearing “Pissy”  thus entering a world of endless boredom, a vicious cycle of child rearing, making meals, keeping house, watching TV  and beatings as Pissy proves you can be God-fearing” and still not be Godly.Kathy Zaborsky and Erica Hunt. Photo by Richard Amery
 She approaches her challenges with aplomb and dignity and a lot of dark wit.
Marg tries to escape her boredom and “be astonished”  through reading women’s magazines and making new recipes until she falls in with a group of women her own age who sing in the woods thanks to a  “saint” from the bakery named Jessie.
What makes Erica Hunt astonishing is not only that she had to learn to play guitar in two weeks (much of Marg’s story is told through her songs), but had to learn all of the lines in the play. She completely envelopes and embodies the character of Marg so you feel her pain, every “cuff”, every emotion, every regret, every lost opportunity, every experience and every emotion she’s feeling.
The smoke filled stage is designed  like a country bar replete with wooden tables and green table cloths. There is even a bar for those who want to have a drink with Marg during the show.

Marg Szkaluba has a fiery spirit with New West

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Erica Hunt plays the “Pepper Shaker SongÚ Photo By Richard AmeryLethbridge actress Erica Hunt excels at playing quirky, brash, in your face characters, which is why she’s looking forward to starring in New West Theatre’s new one woman show,  Marg Szkaluba (Pissy’s Wife), premiering Thursday at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre.
“It’s a really exciting play because it has a really powerful story,” said director Lindsey Zess-Funk.
“It’s a one woman show about a woman in her late 40s who gets up the courage to  make her life her own. She escapes a bad marriage and becomes a country singer,” she continued.
“Marg sings her songs and tells the story of her life and what brought her to this point. There’s humour  and lots of drama. Emotionally it’s all over the map,” she said.
“Erica Hunt is the performer and she’s a force to be reckoned with,” she enthused.
“It takes place in a country bar, so bring money for drinks,” Hunt laughed.
“She takes a terrible situation and while she doesn’t make it work but she’s a tough woman and she’s got a fiery spirit. I connect with that fiery spirit,” Hunt said.
“She’s sharing her stories and singing her songs. Some of them are light hearted and others are pretty  harsh,” Hunt continued.

Fort Macleod prepares for massive film festival

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The Empress Theatre in conjunction with the Southern Alberta Art Gallery and  CinemaImagine are preparing for their first of what they hope will become an annual film festival, Oct. 15-17 in Fort Macleod.
With the help of a Rural Alberta Development grant, organizers have collected seven professionally produced films including some which have played at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes , France, as well as 14 shorts from all over Southern Alberta, Medicine Hat, Winnipeg and even two French language films from Quebec.
“It’s sort of a mix of  regular film festival  shows which are professionally produced and also showcases more independent films, ” explained Colin McCarthy, one of the festival organizers, adding there is still time to submit shorts before the Sept. 28 deadline.David Cronenberg
 “There’s no  specific genre requirement as long as it’s some sort of a film, not just something shot on a cell phone of a friend doing something. It’s got to be more than just a 10 second clip.Though an entire story shot on a cell phone would be pretty cool,” McCarthy added. The shorts will be judged by the audience  to close off the festival, at 7:30, Oct. 17. The best one receives a $500 honorarium.
“We haven’t seen any of them (the shorts) yet. We’re waiting to see them as a group,” McCarthy enthused adding each individual or group can submit up to three films under 90 minutes each in a DVD format along with the names of the director, producer and contact information.
The film festival opens at  7 p.m., Oct. 15 with “To Each His Own Cinema (Chacun Son Cinema)” which is a collection of 34 short films  first shown at the Cannes film festival by 36 acclaimed directors including David Cronenberg, David Lynch and Gus van Sandt.
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