Four plays will be staged at FOTA this October. Felicity Sidnell Reid, chair of the Festival, gives us a behind-the-scenes peek at what’s involved.
In 2017, we had great success with the presentation of Marie-Lynn Hammond’s Beaux Gestes and Beautiful Deeds so we wanted, this time, to give greater exposure to drama.
Soon after we started to plan this year’s festival — which seems centuries ago now but was really only last August — we discussed how we might involve our writers’ group in the drama nights we envisaged for this event.
We decided to ask members to submit short plays they had written or would write specially.
Drama requires so much hard work and preparation. Short plays would involve more people as writers, directors and actors, but would, we hoped, reduce the requirements for individuals involved. And the chosen plays would be performed twice on Thursday October 24th and Friday October 25th.
Marie-Lynn Hammond, assisted by Reva Nelson, agreed to give a workshop in December. She gave instruction on writing 10-minute plays, using her own play, Mouse, which had been chosen to be produced in Calgary at a festival of short plays, as an example.
The workshop stirred a great deal of interest and eleven plays were submitted for consideration. Finally, four were selected, including Marie-Lynn’s comedy about a surprising encounter between two very different people on an uncomfortable, crowded bus.
Author, editor and musician, Chris Cameron, came on board as the coordinating director for the evening.
The programme was completed with the addition of two dance acts:
Allison Townsend and members of her troupe with their popular belly-dancing performance…
and Lesley and Michael Daly’s exciting flamenco performance.
In the coming days, watch out for conversations with dancer Lesley Daly, and the playwrights, Katie Hoogendam (Plan X), Ronald MacKay (Einstein’s Fridge), Christopher Black (Love on a Park Bench), Marie-Lynn Hammond (Mouse) and director for the evening, Chris Cameron.
Author Felicity Sidnell Reid chairs the Spirit of the Hills Writers Group and the Festival of the Arts. With a background in education and drama, her most recent book is Alone: A Winter in the Woods.