Cast Spotlight: Michael Barkey

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Michael Barkey is playing reporter Endicott in our upcoming production of His Girl Friday; this will be his first Bygone Theatre production.

Bio: Michael Barkey, who plays the role of Endicott, is proud to join the cast of His Girl Friday. His most recent theatre role was as Marc in Sandworms! at Alumni Theatre.  His favourite role of 2016 was as Detective Carling in the feature length, sci-fi film Transmission, to be released in 2017.  Michael has trained at George Brown College, Second City, and Armstrong Acting Studios. He is a trained linguist, a licensed electrician, and has held diverse work and volunteer positions around the world.

1. How did you hear about Bygone Theatre and this production of His Girl Friday?

I discovered the casting call for the production on a casting website and applied right away. I didn’t know about Bygone Theatre before this but it’s clearly one of the best companies in Toronto!

2. What made you want to be involved? / What do you love about the story?

His Girl Friday is hilarious, see, and I love a good laugh. This is a chance to work on comedic timing, accents, and period specific themes.  The story is well crafted, and has substance and social relevance.  How grand that this is a screwball comedy but also touches on some darker themes such as greed, selfishness and corruption. 

3. What’s your favourite old movie?

At the moment, I’d say “The Big Sleep”.  Of the many amazing film noir stories, this classic stars a hard-boiled detective and has the delicious blend of an intricate plot, an undercurrent of desire and sexuality, and a cynical perspective of human nature that keeps me coming back for more. 

4. Have you been in a show like this before? What else might people have seen you in recently?

This is definitely the first time I’ll be acting in a stage adaptation of a classic film that was itself an adaptation of a play to begin with. What a treat!  

My most exciting recent role is in the independent, sci-fi, noir film “Transmission” due for release later in 2017.  You can find our more about this made-in-Toronto, soon-to-be-cult-classic, at the following website:

www.famousmotionpictures.com/films/transmission

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Michael Barkey in TRANSMISSION, Famous Motion Pictures/ Matthew Scott

5. Why should people come and see the show?

Come to see His Girl Friday for the damn good story and come for the laughs!  Come for the fast-paced passion, deceit, and moral ambiguity. You’ll also get a steamy glimpse into the world of the newspaper business in the early 20th century, with all it’s dubious practices.  Asking questions about the media and journalism is crucial these days and boy, this was quite the chapter in the history of the dissemination of information to the public.  Anything to get the story!

See Michael onstage this March in His Girl Friday – tickets on sale now.

Cast Spotlight: Alex Clay

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Alex Clay plays newspaper man McCue in our upcoming production of His Girl Friday.

Bio: Alex studied at the University of Guelph and the University of Toronto, collecting degrees with all his might until he realized that the safest and most stable route for him was definitely acting. Alex debuted as Jason in Guelph Little Theatre’s Rabbit Hole. He then played Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a park somewhere. Next, he discovered the world of acting in short plays with Special Delivery at Theatre InspiraTO festival, Remembrance at Social Capital, and Lifeboat at Small But Mighty Productions. Alex then got his creep on. First, as a dimwitted camera operator turned enigmatic demon in Interview with a Demon, then as a teenage prodigy turned psychopathic murderer in The Dialogues of Leopold and Loeb. This summer Alex made his Toronto Fringe Festival debut in Inch of Your Life: Episode 1…stay tuned folks! Most recently, he trekked to Windsor to play Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire. Alex is thrilled to be making his Bygone Theatre debut with this amazing group of artists.

1. How did you hear about Bygone Theatre and this production of His Girl Friday?
I do my best to keep up with as many theatre companies in Toronto as I can, so at some point I stumbled upon Bygone Theatre and I really liked their mandate and play selection, so I began following them on social media. I have a few friends who have worked with them in the past as well. When I saw the casting call for His Girl Friday I was excited to see that their newly adapted script was made available. I read the script, loved it, auditioned, and here we are!

2. What made you want to be involved?/ what do you love about the story?
There is a strong female lead; Hildy Johnson is badass. It’s a classic screwball comedy. Many of the characters are so self involved that in the context of the play it’s funny, but it’s also a statement that still resonates today about how people can become desensitized by the tedium of their jobs. Media coverage is a hot issue these days and this play provides an insider look at the coverage of a high profile case.

3. What’s your favourite old movie?
This is a really tough one. I’m a huge fan of Hitchcock, including Rope and Dial M for Murder, both of which Bygone Theatre has produced. But if I had to go with one it would probably be Fritz Lang’s mystery thriller M…or Jean Renoir’s pacifist war film La Grand Illusion…or Vittorio De Sica’s heart wrenching Bicycle Thieves. I told you this was a tough one. These three films could probably not be any more different from one another, but they all have really interesting things to say about the human condition. La Grand Illusion is a film about the First World War that subtly reveals the looming danger of Hitler (released in 1937), and Fritz Lang ably shows the dangers of a mob mentality when a child murderer is on the loose, and De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves is partly responsible for breathing life into a new way of filmmaking. This is ground breaking, revolutionary, must-watch material. #selfidentifiedfilmnerd

4. Have you been in a show like this before? What else might people have seen you in recently?
Around this time last year I was in a new play by Brad Walton called The Dialogues of Leopold and Loeb which is only similar in so far as it was set only about a decade prior to His Girl Friday. This script demands a fairly fast paced delivery of the lines, which is something I became accustomed to in working on Massimo Pagliaroli’s Inch of Your Life: Episode 1 at last year’s Toronto Fringe Festival. I look forward to working with Massimo and his great cast and crew on the upcoming instalments in that series.

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Former Bygone member Tom Beattie and actor Alex Clay in The Dialogues of Leopold and Loeb.

5. Why should people come and see the show?
People should see this show because there is nothing else quite like it, certainly not on the stage in Toronto anyway. It’s got humour, mystery, intrigue, and phenomenal period appropriate costume and set design. The tickets are quite affordable and we are performing at a relatively new and up and coming venue, the home of Native Earth Performing Arts, Aki Studio at Daniels Spectrum. Check out Métis Mutt before it closes on February 5th!

6. Anything else you want us to know?
Go to the theatre, if not this show, then some other one (but definitely still consider this one). The performance of a play only lasts 60, 90, 120 minutes, whatever its runtime may be, and then it ends and will never be seen again. You can do a one-month run and no two shows will be the same. It’s alive, it’s breathing and it’s brought to you by talented (often local) artists. I could not be more proud of what I do, and I do it for you. Support the arts!

Cast Spotlight: Matthew Hallworth

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Matthew Hallworth plays reporter Roy Bensinger in our upcoming production of His Girl Friday.

Bio: Matthew is a Toronto-based Producer, Writer, Actor, Improviser and Singer. He is a largely supportive member of the Toronto Improv Community both on stage and as a Stage Manager at The Second City. His most notable work is “Fumbled” a short film created as part of the 48 Hour Film Project which he was Producer, Writer and Actor on and won “2nd Runner Up” and “Best Ensemble”.

1. How did you hear about Bygone Theatre and this production of His Girl Friday?
I have been familiar with Bygone Theatre for some time because of their Retro Radio Hour shows, I just had to jump on the opportunity to do a fast-talking 1940’s piece!

2. What made you want to be involved?/ what do you love about the story?
I’ve always had a fascination with classic comedies and as a modern comedic performer; I feel its important to be in touch with these classic styles as so many elements are still very much crucial today. I love all the layers to this work; the love triangle, the sleazy reporters, the big plot changes and the fun of all of it!

3. What’s your favourite old movie?
The Great Dictator (1940) I’m a huge admirer of Chaplin’s work and this one really speaks to me as a brave political satire which mocked Hitler before the world knew him to be a monster. Everyone knows the famous speech at the end, but the film all around is a beautiful work of slapstick and screwball comedy, all the bits with Chaplin and Jack Oakie still make me laugh hysterically. 

4. Have you been in a show like this before? What else might people have seen you in recently?
I was once cast in a slapstick production which unfortunately never came to be! I’m mainly an Improviser and perform throughout the city, I recently Produced and Directed Miracle on the Danforth, an Improvised Holiday Special at the Social Capital. In March you can see me in Round 2 of the World’s Biggest Improv Tournament with my esteemed partner, Sean Browning. 

5. Why should people come and see the show?
The comedy, drama and relationships in this piece are timeless; add to that the presence of a strong female character (Hildy) and, well, this is going to be a great time! 

See Matthew onstage this March in His Girl Friday. Buy tickets now.

Cast Spotlight: Ashlie White

529520_10153462184710023_1936804906_nAshlie White is playing down-on-her-luck Mollie Malloy in our upcoming production of His Girl Friday; this will be her first Bygone Theatre production.

Bio: Ashlie originally hails from Alberta, where she received her diploma in Theatre Arts from Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton. Some of her favorite credits include: Martha (The Secret Garden), Clairee (Steel Magnolias) Penelope Pennywise (Urinetown), Lucy (You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown), as well as spending 4 seasons with the Edmonton Opera Chorus. Ashlie has been active with The Confidential Musical Theatre Project appearing in their productions of Nine (Toronto), and Kiss Me Kate (Port Perry). Ashlie is thrilled to be making her ByGone Theatre debut in His Girl Friday.

How did you hear about Bygone Theatre and this production of His Girl Friday?

I had seen several postings on Facebook about Bygone Theatre and had been intrigued by their Retro Radio Hour radio plays. It immediately looked like something I wanted to be involved with.

What made you want to be involved? What do you love about the story?

I have always loved classic films. When I first saw the posting I had heard of His Girl Friday but never actually seen it. Once I read the script I fell in love with the fast paced writing farce like plot.

What’s your favourite old movie?

I’d have to say Singing’ In the Rain. I love old MGM musicals

Have you been in a show like this before? What else might people have seen you in recently?

I co-produced and acted in a production of The Attic The Pearls and 3 Fine Girls this November. In February I am playing Blanche in Plain Stage Theatre’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

Why should people come and see the show?

This show has everything! Drama, comedy, crime, romance and classic 1940’s style.

You can see Ashlie onstage March 2-5, 2017, at the Aki Studio, Daniel’s Spectrum. Tickets on sale now at www.nativeearth.ca/hisgirlfriday.

His Girl Friday Costume Designs: Finding Vintage Fabric

As any of you who have seen one of our past shows knows, I care a lot about having costumes that are as authentic looking as possible. I’ve done past posts on how to fake a vintage style with more recent clothes or patterns, and on what types of fabric were common to a certain era – but where do you go to find that fabric? As I’ve been scouring the web looking for answers to that very question, I thought I’d share my best finds here.

Reproduction Fabrics

Don’t be dissuaded by their dated looking website, reproductionfabrics.com is an amazing resource if you’re looking for vintage or antique styled patterned fabric. From the late 1700s through to the 1950s, they have a selection of fabric that covers nearly every style and colour, and for very reasonable prices. Some are actual reproductions of old patterns and some appear to be “in the style of”, either way, this should be one of your first stops if you need vintage, patterned, fabric.

American Folk and Fabric

Another good source for reproduction designs in americanfolkandfabric.com. I found they had “frillier” fabrics than Reproduction Fabrics – lots of florals in pink, that sort of thing – so depending on what you’re looking for this could be perfect, or may miss the boat.

Antique Fabric

Depending on the project, you may prefer actual vintage or antique fabric to a reproduction. In this case, you’re likely going to find smaller amounts and a higher price, and remember, the condition won’t compare to what you get from a reproduction. While for costumes I’d always opt for a modern-made fabric, I certainly see the appeal of the real thing. If you’re looking for variety, check out antiquefabric.com. Well indexed and with a wide-variety of fabrics from periods ranging from the 1800 through to the 1960s, you’re very likely to find something you’ll want. Sadly, most of the pieces I found drool-worthy were not big enough to make what I’d like. But if you want some authentic pillows or accessories, even a blouse that takes only a yard or two, this is your spot.

Spoonflower

If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, you can try creating your own design and printing it through spoonflower.com. This site allows you to upload designs that you can print for yourself on a number of types of fabric (plus wallpaper and wrapping paper), and has the additional option of allowing you to sell your designs to others through the site (you get a commission). Try searching through what others have made, or upload your own!

Most quilting sites also offer a selection of vintage & antique styles, though I’ve found it isn’t necessarily as accurate as some of these other sites. But if you know what you’re looking for and have a particular style in mind, Equilter and Hancocks-Paducah can be great resources.

Happy searching!

-E.

His Girl Friday – Tickets Now On Sale

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Tickets are now on sale for our upcoming production of His Girl Friday!

The show runs March 2-5, 2017 at the Aki Studio, Daniel’s Spectrum (the new Native Earth facility). Tickets are available for purchase online or in the Aki Studio box office; follow this link for more details, or to make your purchase.

Bygone Theatre Holiday Auction

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Bygone Theatre’s Holiday Auction is just around the corner! We’ve got something for everyone, with some bids starting as low as $5. Wide range of items including theatre tickets to shows produced by Buddies in Bad Times, Scarborough Music Theatre, Hart House Theatre, Crow’s Theatre and Mysteriously Yours Dinner Theatre; vintage items from Tucked Away Antiques like signed photos of classic Hollywood stars and vintage movie posters; charming themed gift baskets; getaway packages to New York, Tuscany and Sonoma, and much more!

Proceeds go towards our upcoming production of His Girl Friday, running March 2-5, 2017. This is a big show with a big cast – 18 actors! – and so we have a lot of work to do. Help support local theatre while doing  your Christmas shopping from the comfort of your own home! Auction runs online from 9:00am Thursday December 8th to 2pm on Saturday December 10th – bid at bygonetheatre2016.eflea.ca.