Kincardine Theatre Guild in rehearsals for "Hollywood Arms"
By Liz Dadson
To Comment on this article Click Here
|Elaine (Van Rooyen) Slade is a huge fan of Carol Burnett.
So, Slade jumped at the chance to direct the Kincardine Theatre Guild's production of "Hollywood Arms," based on Burnett's memoir, "One More Time," set to open
May 25 at the Kincardine Arts Centre.
While she has been with the theatre guild for seven years, this is Slade's first time directing.
"Carol Burnett is my hero," says Slade, "so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to direct this play written by her and her daughter, Carrie Hamilton."
Slade recalls the time she went to see Burnett live in Toronto about three years ago.
"I was so excited," she says. "Here was my chance to see this woman, my idol. But when she came out on stage, I was so star-struck that I started crying. I was a blubbering fool."
"Hollywood Arms" is the bittersweet story of a girl who spends a troubled childhood with her mother and grandmother (Nanny) before finally making it big in New York City. The play is drawn from the life of Burnett and her early days spent in a dingy apartment near Hollywoodland, as it was called in 1941.
Burnett's daughter never saw her work reach the stage as she died of brain and lung cancer in January, 2002. Burnett was determined that the play would serve as a tribute to her daughter's memory, bringing the play first to Chicago in April, 2002, and Broadway in October, 2002.
"The action takes place in 1941 when Helen (based on Burnett) is 10 years old, and then 10 years later when she is 20," says Slade.
The 11-member cast includes:
Since it is a period piece, there are challenges in finding stage props and costumes for the show, she says. "We've managed to find some old appliances and furniture, and we have music from the 1940s and '50s to play."
Slade says the story is amazing in that Burnett's mother and grandmother were very talented, full of charisma and comedic charm, but they never managed to make it to the major leagues, unlike Burnett who did become famous.
As director, Slade is in charge of a multitude of things, such as lighting, props and sound. "These responsibilities are new to me," she says. "I've never been involved with them before. But it's great, I'm loving it."
Working with her are producer Lorraine Needham and stage manager Mary Beth Dennis.
New to the theatre guild stage are Angeles Lewis and Caleb Palmer.
Angeles, 14, is a Grade 9 student at Kincardine District Secondary School. She auditioned for the play with a group of friends just on a whim, thinking she might have a chance to work backstage.
"I was quite excited to be cast as Alice," she says. "It's really different being on stage. It feels weird because you're way up there, saying lines and moving from place to place. It's a lot to remember - the lines and the blocking. But it's fun. I'm enjoying it."
She has to remember to raise her voice and project it to the back of the theatre. Ironically, her friends did not get a part in the play.
Angeles works at the Erie Belle Restaurant on weekends and is involved in school activities. She also enjoys swimming, knitting, reading and hanging out with her friends.
Caleb, 14, is in Grade 8 at St. Anthony's School, Kincardine. He is playing the part of the young cop in the play.
"I've always been interested in acting," he says. "My friends told me about the play so I tried out and got the part. I have some really funny, comedic scenes but not a whole lot of lines."
While he has thought about becoming an actor, Caleb's goal is to become a doctor.
He enjoys playing video games, hanging out with his friends, and being involved in activities at school, such as chess, knitting, scrabble and volleyball.
Besides bringing "Hollywood Arms" to the stage, the theatre guild is gearing up for the Gala Grand Re-opening of the newly-refurbished theatre on May 26.
"This is our 30th anniversary and we're proud of the improvements," says Slade. "We have a new coat of paint on the walls, new flooring, carpeting, chairs and washrooms. Everything is wheelchair accessible."
The work was done, thanks to a Trillium Foundation grant of $30,500 and other donations, Slade says.
"Hollywood Arms" opens Friday, May 25, at 8 p.m. at the Kincardine Arts Centre. It continues May 26 (Gala Night), May 31, June 1-2, and June 7-9.
Tickets are $15 each (plus $5 each for the Gala evening), available at J'Adorn in downtown Kincardine, or by calling the Box Office at 519-396-9000.
For more details, check the website at www.kincardinetheatreguild.com
Director Elaine (Van Rooyen) Slade (back, right) joins the cast, back, Caleb Palmer (L), Scott Marshall, Fort Papalia; and front, Angeles Lewis (L), Leise Peddie, Slayde Millar, Alanna Boucher, Stacey Millar and Gabriel Pitre; absent are Liz Small and Ron Boucher
Director Elaine Slade (L) shares a laugh with newcomers Caleb Palmer and Angeles Lewis
Alanna Boucher is Helen at age 20, based on the life of famous actress Carol Burnett, in "Hollywood Arms"
Real-life mother and daughter, Slayde (L) and Stacey Millar play young Helen and Louise in the play
Scrolling stops when you move your mouse inside the scroll area. You can click on the ads for more
books, sports, movies ...
Friday, May 04, 2012