Sarah Constible: Seeing your work in the past, working alongside you, then getting to know you was a joy, a delight and all around educational experience. Glad to catch the keys, to be clutched by you and to be refreshed by my own drink from you are just a few my hi-lights.
Andrea del Campo: Sparring with you as the poet and Lucullus are also favourite memories of mine. Walking away from the charity function scene, quietly improvising, was one of my favourite moments! I loved your presence, your humour and your style. I can’t wait to work with you again!
Brittany Hunter: Watching you take over the role of Flavius and soar like you have, you have more talent in your young career than I’ve acquired in all the decades I’ve been in this business. I’m just amazed that you didn’t spike our drinks! Maybe next time. 😉
Julie Lumsden: Thank you for being the painter to my poet. The hi-light of the show was hearing you sing Barcarolle everyday. So often I’m hearing what a pistol you are, and your quick wit filled the green room everyday. Don’t ever lose that.
Hera Nalam: You wore so many hats, so many costumes, and you sang! Thanks for being the Lucillius to my Lucullus! It was a privilege to work with you.
Claire Thérèse: Thanks for the rides, the Slurpee runs and your fantastic mind! Thanks for playing with me while singing!
Toni Reimer: Finally we get to work together! Having met you through acting workshops, it was an honour to finally share the stage with you. I felt like I was in the presence of the future Prime Minister, What, with you in that red suit! I’ll never forget the way you entered and our reaction to it.
Melanie Whyte: Oh my, what a lovely human being you truly are. Our walks after our last scene together were one of my favourite moments! Thanks for always checking in with me about my role. It was an honour to escort you onto the stage everyday. 😉
Nino Cruz, Davin Furtado & Shamik Guirguis: Most of the time, we saw the backs of you. I hope you never get tired of people screaming with delight over you. You entertained the audiences but you graced us with your presence, your personalities and your smooth moves! 🕺🕺🏻🕺🏽
Michelle Boulet: I loved your version of the play! I’m so glad you saw me in Storefront Church and brought me in to audition for Shakespeare! I’m so grateful to have had this chance to wrestle with the poet and Lucullus! Thank you for everything!
Toby Hughes & Kelly Rae Jenken: Your input and your working with me on lines were so valuable to me. I only hope this isn’t the last time we work together.
Daina Leitold: Thanks for making me look good and your spirit!
Sofia Costantini: From You Kill Me to Shakespeare, we’ve worked in great productions. And I hope we cross paths again.
Christopher Brauer: Your expertise in dialect and your advice was extremely helpful! You’re a valuable resource.
Steve Vande Vyvere, Cari Simpson, Katie Schmidt & Katie Robinson Hoppa: You had our backs, you were there for us, your support and your creativity were felt. You dressed us, propped us and made sure we had our s#%& together.
Michael Duggan: From the rehearsals to the performances, you have been nothing but professional and kind.
Keith Cadieux: Always a joy to see your smiling face on the grounds everyday. Thank you for your tireless work behind the scenes.
Volunteers: Thank you for being there for us and for your wonderful faces out there!
Lara Rae: Thank you for your support, your company and the great talkback you did for us.
It goes without saying, but I hope to work with y’all again in the future!
I’d never seen a show through Shakespeare in the Ruins before, nor had I volunteered before, yet here I am, in a show, wrestling with 2 characters (The Poet and Lucullus).
First of all, I’d like to thank Michelle Boulet for casting me in this wonderful show. As many doubts as I’ve had during it, I’ve got nothing but support and I’m still in awe of the talent I was surrounded by. I’ve worked with talented people before, many times, but the immensity of this group just overwhelmed and humbled me. Working with Shakespearean text was very challenging, but having a wonderful cast and crew made it more palatable. I hope to work with this level of professionalism every single time.
In the program for Shakespeare in the Ruins’ 25th anniversary show Timon of Athens, SIR’s artistic director Michelle Boulet is upfront about the inherent riskiness of mounting a production of Timon. She states uninhibitedly that the play is on the Royal Shakespeare Company’s “secret list of productions guaranteed to make a loss.”
One can see the issue with a play about a rich hero who, to paraphrase Othello, spends not wisely but too well. It lacks the higher stakes of tragedies such as Hamlet or Macbeth. (When all is said and done, it’s about the betrayal of a rich fool at the hands of his greedy false friends.) Its plot is rather straightforward and linear compared to the twisty comedies such as Twelfth Night and As You Like it.
Even its genus is ambiguous. Lumped in with Shakespeare’s tragedies, scholars have made the case it’s one of the Bard’s “problem plays,” perhaps best summarized as tragicomedies.
Directed and adapted by Boulet, the Ruins production wisely emphasizes and enhances the comedy, even as it playfully layers the proceedings with a gender overhaul, turning every speaking part into a female. On the style front, the action is plunked into the New Wave ’80s, giving the opportunity to designer Daina Leitold to run costumes and hair through a Patrick Nagel filter. (Of all the cast members, Melanie Whyte as Sempronius is especially a beneficiary of the she’s-got-the-look look.)
Timon (played by Sarah Constible) is a good citizen of Athens, a patron of the arts, and, alas, extravagant beyond her means. She is a reliable touch for various artists and greedy friends, much to the consternation of Flavius (Brittany Hunter), her much-distressed chief steward.
The only person who doesn’t exploit Timon is Apemantus (Andrea del Campo), a cheeky philosopher who alone sees the folly of Timon’s generosity toward the undeserving: “It grieves me to see so many dip their meat in one man’s blood; and all the madness is, she cheers them up too.”
Before long, Timon’s funds run out and her creditors come calling (looking like a cadre of hit ladies in matching black trenchoats, sunglasses and blonde wigs). The friends who once protested their devotion turn their back on Timon when she requests money to remain solvent. And in the process, Timon undergoes one of the more dramatic transformations ever seen in a Shakespearean hero, from smiling benefactor to hermit/misanthrope.
If putting on Timon of Athens is a risky business, it’s a risk worth taking for theatregoers, too, especially given Boulet’s impertinent fem-centric take on the material. When male characters do appear, suffice to say, they have no lines but they do have moves.
It’s a tricky thing to tell a story of grand-scale betrayal from a feminine perspective without evoking cat-fight clichés, but Boulet pulls it off with a cast that employs a barrage of skills, including Hunter’s considerable charm and del Campo’s insouciance. As two of Timon’s leechier “friends,” Whyte and Lorraine James get more laughs from idiomatic touches than Shakespearean prose. Hera Nalam is especially hilarious as one of Timon’s emotionally distraught servants.
And, wow, all of these women can sing.
Constible anchors the show with a nicely judged sense of humour. Even when Timon, self-exiled to a forest, relinquishes to towering rage, Constible unerringly finds comic sweet spots to keep the tone as light as befits the idyllic outdoor venue at St. Norbert’s Trappist Monastery.
Perhaps the most important attraction is the comparative obscurity of Timon in Shakespeare’s canon, offering a rare joy within the context of an all-Bard company: the thrill of discovery.
Timon of Athens isn’t Shakespeare’s best-known play — or his best writing, frankly — but it’s given a smart and surprisingly funny production by Shakespeare in the Ruins that largely overcomes many of the play’s flaws.
William Shakespeare is a famed genius thanks to plays like Hamlet, Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet. He is not a famed genius thanks to plays like Timon of Athens.
The little-known and rarely performed Shakespeare play is, frankly, not among the great dramatist’s best, notably possessing what is probably one of the most shrugworthy endings in the Shakespearean canon.
So it’s a brave choice for Winnipeg’s Shakespeare in the Ruins to take it on during their 25th anniversary season — and so much the better that it’s given a lively and inventive production that largely overcomes many of the play’s flaws.
The play — a curious blend of tragedy, satire and morality play — centres around the titular Athenian, played here by Sarah Constible in Michelle Boulet’s all-female production.
Set firmly in the “greed is good” 1980s thanks to Daina Leitold’s effective design (think shoulder pads and big hair), this Timon of Athens becomes a resonant take on the corrupting influence of wealth — and the effects of either having or lacking it.
Timon is beloved by all, but only because she is generous literally to a fault. The poets, painters and socialites who sponge off her and abuse her boundless generosity soon leave her destitute, at which point they all turn their backs on their “friend” — who retires to the wilderness as an embittered misanthrope.
So yes, you can perhaps start to see why this one isn’t performed so often.
Nonetheless, the strong nine-woman cast give it a production that’s easy to like, making great use of its setting at the Trappist Monastery ruins.
With big, bold and sometimes outright campy performances, the first half of the lean two-hour (with intermission) production is often surprisingly funny.
There are delightful comedic performances throughout the cast (especially from Lorraine James, Julie Lumsden, Claire Thérèse and Melanie Whyte as Timon’s fawning false friends), music and even a bit of dance (courtesy of the play’s only male performers — but I won’t spoil the surprise by saying more on that).
Andrea del Campo is a standout in the more light-hearted first half as the acerbic philosopher Apemantus, played here as a cerebral, hard-drinking, chain-smoking stand-up comic — a role del Campo plays to the hilt with spot-on comic timing (picture Dennis Miller in his cynical prime, with a dash of Sandra Bernhard).
Sarah Constible gives a masterful performance in the lead role in Timon of Athens. Constible is undoubtedly the star here, though, and rises to the occasion with a masterful performance. Her Timon is a swooning socialite in the first half, showing just the faintest traces of the utter desperation to be loved that drives her to give constantly to those around her, however unworthy.
There’s even an echo of that in the far more sombre second act, as a near-feral Timon tries to turn her back on the rest of humanity. She spars with everyone who approaches her, including the quick-witted Apemantus, who Timon drives away — only to look longingly after her once she’s gone. It’s a sad and tender moment, as the comedy from earlier scenes takes on a dark edge.
No, Timon of Athens is not Shakespeare’s greatest achievement. But this is a rare chance to see the play — and a smart, stylish and well-performed production makes it a chance you shouldn’t pass up.
Shakespeare in the Ruins’ Timon of Athens runs at the Trappist Monastery Provincial Heritage Park until June 23.
This article is late, but one of the featured filmmakers, Amanda Kindzierski, is in this. The film Raising the Bar, as part of the 2016 48 Hour Film Competition, was a short film I was involved in.
These LGBTQ filmmakers want to make Winnipeg ‘a beacon for CanCon’
These LGBTQ filmmakers want to make Winnipeg ‘a beacon for CanCon’
“In Winnipeg, I can make a movie with 50 bucks and some sandwiches from my mom. And that’s not something you can do just anywhere.”
– Amanda Kindzierski, filmmaker
Amanda Kindzierski also came to filmmaking later in life. After working for many years as an account manager at various large companies, the death of a high school friend got her questioning her life. She realized she was destined for something more than crunching numbers and churning out reports. She wanted to tell stories.
“Raising the Bar” is a quirky comedy following two assistant managers at a gay karaoke bar trying to figure out who to fire in order to save money. Like Fitzpatrick and Epp, she’s a lifelong Winnipegger with no plans to leave, though she’d like the rest of the country to give her hometown film scene a second look.
“Raising The Bar.” (Reel Pride Winnipeg)
“I’ve always wondered why Winnipeg isn’t better known as a film city,” she says. “We have so many talented people the movie industry hasn’t recognized yet and I feel like we could really become a beacon for CanCon creation. It’s also a great place to make work because the community is so supportive and willing to help you out. In Winnipeg, I can make a movie with 50 bucks and some sandwiches from my mom. And that’s not something you can do just anywhere.”
At 16 Ashley was forced to give up her daughter. 18 years later, on the eve of their meeting for the first time, the girl disappears without a trace. The only person helping Ashley is Jake, her old boyfriend. Their relationship is tested when Jake discovers that he’s also the girl’s father.
It’s finally arrived for y’all to watch. Stay tuned for future broadcasts.
More information to come about my impending role in this theatre company.
Bard to get gender twists in Ruins’ new season
By: Randall King
Posted: Winnipeg Free Press 01/23/2018
In a year that kicked off with massive protests against institutional sexism, the Winnipeg theatre company Shakespeare in the Ruins (SIR) announces a season that uses the works of William Shakespeare to target the gender divide from a fresh perspective.
The company performs Timon of Athens at the Trappist Monastery venue from May 31 to June 23 with an all-female cast. The second play of its season, typically a touring production that plays high schools and rural municipalities, sees SIR return to its 2017 tragedy Romeo and Juliet, this time performed by four male actors, which hearkens to the early Elizabethan tradition banning female actors from the stage (as portrayed in Shakespeare in Love).
“I thought I would balance the choice of an all-female show with an all-male show,” SIR artistic director Michelle Boulet says. “But choosing to do an all-female show as our mainstage production is kind of a big statement.
Their Romeo and Juliet “will not be the same at all” to the two-hour Ruins production of 2017, Boulet says. “It will be a one-hour show and it will give the students the idea of how, in Shakespeare’s time, women weren’t even allowed to act.
“So we put it in a historical setting and that frees them up to watch the show as an educational thing,” she says. “As they watch it, they’ll get drawn in and forget that they’re watching four guys.
“In the same way, I’m hoping the audience will forget that in Timon, they’re watching all women and go along with the story, no matter what the gender is.”
Given that Shakespeare wrote a couple of plays that explicitly address a battle of the sexes — The Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado About Nothing — Timon of Athens registers as one of the Bard’s more obscure plays, about a gentleman of Athens who is undone by his foolish generosity to undeserving friends.
“I was looking for a show that didn’t necessarily have gender politics in it, so that when you transfer it over, it’s unencumbered by that,” Boulet says.
“Basically, it’s such a simple story, it’s like a parable. It’s just Timon’s very simple journey.”
Thanks to Althea Cunningham for writing such a wonderful piece. I only hope the play itself becomes a success.
Thanks to Sarasvati Productions for taking me on, for the umpteenth time. I look forward to more productions with y’all.
Thanks for the company Of wonderfully talented women I shared the stage with: Ady Kay, Anjali Sandhu, Anna Binder, Monika Thurn Und Taxis, Joanna Hawkins, Reena Jolly, Kristy Janvier, Cheryl Soluk and Cynthia Fortlage. May we work together again. ❤️
Thanks to the crew: Hope McIntyre, Rachel Smith, Sandy Klowak, for your level-headedness, your encouragement and your guidance throughout the performances and car rides.