Elly on the Arts: Updates on stage and screen

What a whirlwind two weeks we have just had!  Ann Hodges, the extraordinary director bringing our Flin Flon and area cast into the (stage) light of Mamma Mia was here to set up the whole stage play. Also along for the ride was Seth Johnson, from a small town outside St. John, NB via Toronto, who will play Sky, Sophie’s love interest. Even though we have had the experience of Hodges’ talent before, one must marvel at just how easy she makes it seem to put a musical on the stage. Between Feb 1 and Feb 10, the entire show came together before our eyes. Teachers, nurses, geologists and radio DJs became Sophie, Donna, Bill and Sam; dancers and actors emerged while we looked on - awestruck!  

Seth Johnson is only 24 years old but already has an incredible resume of roles in regional theatre as well as independent theatres in the Toronto area. He has played in Mamma Mia before, though his role was Eddie, not Sky.  He also performed as Kenickie in Grease, a show we are very familiar with, at the Globe Theatre in Regina, Sask. He is a graduate of the Sheridan College musical theatre program, earning a bachelor of musical theatre in 2017.  

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Musical theatre performers need to be “triple threats” to find work now. That means they have to sing, dance and act to audition for and get parts. Johnson says he didn’t even start dancing until he left high school in rural New Brunswick and when he got his first role, he worked at rehearsal all day, then found a friend who is a really good dancer to work with him for three more hours in the evenings, until he got it right. It doesn’t show now though. When he arrived to begin rehearsals here, he watched our local dancers who have been rehearsing for a month (on choreography created by the wonderful Janelle Hacault), then jumped in and by week’s end - voila!

He has worked with Hodges before too. In his final year of his degree program, she was the director employed by the college to give the graduating students a taste of what real theatre life is, through the Canadian Music Theatre Project. Johnson says he absolutely jumped at the chance to work with her again. Flin Flon and area performers can certainly relate to that, following our Les Miz experience.

Hodges and Johnson will be back in Flin Flon right after Easter, to put the finishing touches on the show. It will be an incredible theatrical experience and if you have not got tickets yet, go get them. There are still seats for the newly added Thursday May 9 performance. Call the Arts Council office at 204-687-5974 or drop in at Northern Rainbow’s End on Main Street to purchase.

Tomorrow, Thursday Feb 21 the Central Canada Film Group presents the TIFF film Puzzle at the Dorothy Ash Theatre in Hapnot Collegiate.  The film focuses on Agnes, a suburban wife and mom who is trapped in her daily routine til she discovers a knack for solving jigsaw puzzles.  Even though she is shy and uncomfortable with strangers, she gets involved with Robert, who enters the two of them into puzzle competitions.  She falls in love and rediscovers herself in the ways she can put together random puzzle pieces to make a complete picture of life.  The cost is only $10 but you need extra cash for treats!  Be there before 7:30 PM.

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