By: Sharman Yarnell
Photos courtesy of Dramatis Personae
Ahhhh, for Community Theatre! There is nothing quite like it – It’s like the Energizer Bunny that keeps on giving! It’s invigorating and creative. It’s done for the love of theatre, the love of performing. It is the very heart and soul of performing arts. Indeed, Canada’s present Professional Theatre grew out of the many amateur theatre companies spread across the country.
Dramatis Personae is Westmount’s community theatre. Founded by Ann Page in 1985, it has moved from its original home in the Atwater Library to Victoria Hall. In the fall, it traditionally produces a series of short plays under one specific theme and in the spring, a full fledged play is mounted. Over the years, DP’s repertoire has included Under Milkwood, Nude With Violin, The Dining Room and Richard Cory, to name but a few.
Dramatis Personae is a non-profit theatre group funded by membership fees and generous donations from audience members. (The suggested donation is $10.) The money is put to good, creative use on sets, lighting equipment, and those ever present royalties required to mount a play.
The sign of any strong based theatre ensemble, is one that has had the same group members for years. That would be the case with this Westmount community theatre group, although it does welcome new members every fall. In 2006, the group acquired a professional director, Jacqueline van de Geer, who has taken the company to another level with her experience of working in theatre in various European countries.
The Good Doctor, by Neil Simon, the group’s latest offering, is a composite play with Simon’s comedy and Anton Chekov’s brilliant satire. The story involves a narrator who is assumed to be Chekov. He is suffering from the infernal writers’s block and in the play, tells the audience some of his stories. (In this production you’ll find some “added Montreal spirit”.) It debuted on Broadway in 1973 and was nominated for a number of Tony awards with one win, Frances Sternhagen, for Best Featured Actress in a play.
This is an excellent choice for any group because it offers many different stories (Chekov’s) demanding that the cast members perform more than one role. It is a great way to spend an evening of theatre – it’s humorous, fun, and exposes the human eccentricities and frailties that are so inherent in Chekov’s and Simon’s plays.
The Good Doctor is presented Wednesday, May 28 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, May 31 at 2 pm, Saturday, May 31 at 7:30 pm, Sunday, June 1 at 2 pm (sold out) and June 2 at 8 pm, at Victoria Hall, 4626 Sherbrooke Street West, Westmount.
For more information: http://www.theatrewestmount.com/