Saturday, August 2, 2014

LITTLE MONSTERS by Kristen M. Finlay at the 2014 Edmonton International Fringe Festival

CRACK by Anne Marie Szucs at the 2014 Edmonton International Fringe Festival

August 2014 - Bringing FinallySauces Back to the Edmonton International Fringe!

FinallySauces has been busy... not that you can tell from this blog, but we have.  Both Anne Marie and Kristen have been writing and working on scripts and looking for opportunities to produce them.  Life and other theatre projects with other companies sprang up along the way.  Since the summer of 2011 when we produced Pieces at the Edmonton Fringe, we have both directed (Anne Marie - Marion Bridge, The Weir; Kristen - Proof, Nine, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Playmates), and acted (Anne Marie - Nine; Kristen - A Little Night Music, The Misanthrope), and participated in two Playworks Inks resulting in a good deal of writing. We attempted the Fringe lottery for last year, but were unsuccessful, however this year we had not one, but two successful draws from the Fringe Lottery so this spring has been busy with rehearsals and sets and production meetings! Now that August is finally here, we're delighted to let you know more about the two shows we are presenting.  

We are excited to be producing our first one of Anne Marie's scripts, Crack, this Fringe season, in addition to Kristen's third FinallySauces offering, Little Monsters.  

CRACK by Anne Marie Szucs, 
directed by Kristen M. Finlay
Featuring: Joyce LaBriola, Rebecca Ponting & Anne Marie Szucs
Description: Three friends gather to celebrate a 40th birthday at a cabin in the woods.  With the birthday girl, Christine, as the hub, her disparate friends Angela and Pam rub each other the wrong way.  All have secrets they have not previously shared, and Christine has the biggest one of all.  The celebration deteriorates as the truths spill out.

Note from the Playwright: I've been working on various iterations of this play for 7 years, so the themes have evolved as I have. I first wanted to explore friendships between women - what makes them last, what makes them collapse, what makes them so necessary. Then, I started thinking about public vs. private selves. How much of ourselves do we truly disclose to our closest friends?  Are there parts of ourselves we never expose?  And if not, why not?  Now, I'm intrigued by women in mid-life. Are we really living the lives we thought we'd live?  "Ring the bells that still can ring.  Forget the perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets through." (Leonard Cohen).

LITTLE MONSTERS written & directed by Kristen M. Finlay
Featuring: Erin Foster-O’Riordan, Cory Christensen, Julie Sinclair & Anne Marie Szucs
Description:When Lizbeth had her son, Liam, she thought that she would be the perfect parent and he the perfect child because she would do everything right.  When Liam goes to playschool she discovers that no matter what you do, your child can have issues.  Her husband Brendan struggles to support her because he can't relate to her parenting style.  When other parents at the playschool behave badly, she leans on her friend Tamra.  It's about realizing that there is no such thing as a perfect parent - that all you can really be is the right parent for your child.

Note from the Playwright: This was a hard play to write because it is loosely based on some experiences  I had with one of my children when he was in playschool.  I wasn't as stressed by what happened as Lizbeth is, but I was surprised to discover how judgmental other parents were.  I was shocked by some of the ways people, adults, talked about children. I think because it's been so long since the actual event, I could look back and write it with some objectivity.This is a play for those who feel judged and for those who do the judging.  I think it says something about how we all need to cut ourselves and others a little slack and be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What we are up to...

Well, the season is a time for writing for Sauces and I. Sauces is working on a few scripts that she really got a handle on this Fall at Playworks Ink. I wish I could say I have been as productive. I did make some progress on a new play called Little Monsters about parenting and judgement and frustrations with not being able to be the perfect parent. I have about 17-18 pages written and will keep plugging away. We decided to not enter the lottery this Fall for the 2012 Fringe because of other commitments in the Spring and early Summer so the focus for the company is on writing. We are dedicated to the idea of not declaring presentation of a work until it is ready for that, so it's a slower process than others might take. Besides Both myself and Sauces frequently have other projects on the go with other companies, so we like to wait to make sure we can dedicate our time to making the best work we can.

Speaking of other projects, I have been able to work on the development of a new play by local young playwright, Bevin Dooley, called The Playmates. It is being presented at New Works at the University of Alberta in SPS. The Festival runs 2 nights of new plays (3 per night). Our show opens tomorrow night but the whole festival kicks off tonight. I have enjoyed being the director on this new work and it has been a valuable learning experience working with Bevin and the Festival Team as a whole. Every show I work on helps me to learn new things about play construction and this is amplified when I work on a new piece of theatre that is constantly evolving. I hope you can make it out to the festival to see some of the exciting new pieces that are being presented.

- submitted by Kristen (Finally)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fringe Accompli!

Thank you Edmonton International Fringe! We could not have wished for a better 11 days. It was such a thrill experiencing 4 Sold Out houses for Pieces. We created it with love and we were overwhelmed by the response from our audiences. We lacked the hubris to hand out Kleenex before hand but we appreciated the number of people saying afterwards that they wished we had. I did not even mind watching 3 of the shows from the booth (it was always fun to hang with Kim!).

For those who did not make it - here is the lowdown on Pieces:

Playwright/Director - Kristen M. Finlay
Stage Manager - Kimberlee Stadelmann
Sound Designer - Erin Foster-O'Riordan

Diane - Anne Marie Szucs
Joan - Francie Goodwin-Davies
Young Joan - Lindsey Walker
Doctor/Ben - Justin Deveau
Sharon/Grace/Young Diane - Janine Hodder

We had a great time together and hope that some or all of these wonderful artists join us for future projects.

- posted by Kristen

Thursday, August 18, 2011

We Love This...

Thanks to word of mouth, reviews and wonderful friends and family we have had 2 Sold Out shows (Tuesday and Thursday). Saturday and Sunday are also well on their way to selling out. We are simply thrilled with the response to the play and are glad we get to show it to so many people.
If you are unable to get tickets, the Fringe holds back a small percentage of the house tickets until an hour before (I think 5-7 for our venue) so you can get a couple in that last hour if you time it right. We have two shows left - Saturday, August 20 at 4 p.m. and Sunday, August 21 at 2 p.m.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Very Nice Way to Finish Up on Saturday...

We had our second show tonight. The wonderful Ops from Catalyst worked to rebuild all our lost lighting cues and we got them finessed before the show and then I got to see the show with near perfect tech and it was lovely. We had a nice sized house for a 10:30 p.m. drama and I was very pleased with the show. Then, on the way home, I received word that we were reviewed in the Edmonton Journal and we got FOUR AND A HALF STARS!!! Not only that, but the review is lovely, lovely, lovely in it's wording.


Review by Iain Ilich

4.5 stars out of 5

Stage 6, Catalyst Theatre

The descent into dementia isn’t a light topic.

Every day, dutiful daughter Diane makes the trek to the care home where her mother, Joan, has recently moved. Dementia has stripped Joan of much of her memory and of her ability to communicate in a way that makes sense to anyone but herself. She can no longer identify her visiting daughter. She holds onto and cherishes pictures as if they were people. She is sad and lonely and terrified.

The story is a collection of little fragments of memory woven together with Diane’s narration. We learn more about Ben, Joan’s beloved late husband whose death Joan is no longer aware of. We travel back to Joan’s childhood misadventures, cut into tiny fragments of thought expressed in half-formed sentences and emotional outbursts. Diane even learns things about her mother, and her mother’s impression of her, that she never knew before.

But the real highlight here is the brilliant use of the stage to allow multiple scenes to take place at the same time, linked by shared phrases. On one half of the stage, the present is played out with daughter visiting mother in a care facility. On the other half, actors play fragments of memory that dart through Joan’s head. It’s like a living footnote that explains and provides context to the action in the present. It sounds complicated, but it works perfectly. It captures the confusion of the person in the present with the lucidity of the thoughts before they’re filtered through dementia.

It’s a sad, moving play at a festival where comedies sell tickets. It deserves to be seen.