Retro Radio Hour – Nifty 50s

It’s almost that time again! Retro Radio Hour is back, this time celebrating all things 1950s! Join us and the cast of our next show, Wait Until Dark, on Friday March 25th at the Imperial Pub for an evening of vintage radio plays, oldies music, magic, classic cinema trivia and more! Doors open at 8pm, tickets are only $5 at the door (cash please!). All proceeds go to support Wait Until Dark, running April 14-16th in the rehearsal hall at Tarragon Theatre.

Hope to see you there!

Retro Radio Hour Nifty 50s

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Bygone Theatre Presents Frederick Knott’s WAIT UNTIL DARK

Bygone Theatre presents…

WAIT UNTIL DARK
written by Frederick Knott
directed by Emily Dix

April 14-16th, 2016 – limited run, only 5 performances
Tarragon Theatre Rehearsal Hall, 30 Bridgman Ave.

SYNOPSIS:

A sinister con man two ex-convicts are about to meet their match. They have traced the location of a mysterious doll to the Greenwich Village apartment of a young photographer and his blind wife. Persuaded by a strange woman to transport the doll across the Canadian border, the photographer has unknowingly come into possession of the thousands of dollars worth of heroin sewn inside. Through a cleverly constructed deception, the con men convince the wife that the police have implicated her husband in a murder and that the doll is key evidence. However, with the help of a young neighbor, the young woman figures out she is the victim of a bizarre charade and realizes that her only chance of survival in this deadly game of cat and mouse, is to plunge all those involved into the total darkness that only she knows how to navigate.

STARRING:

Shannon Lahaie
Shannon Lahaie
as Susy

Shannon Lahaie is an actor, writer, and sketch comedian living in Toronto, Ont. She can be seen in the films `Think Deep“ (Digital Dimensions), “The Talent Scout“(Cinematik Kitsch), and “Ìnsane“(Stormdust Pictures) – which has been screened at over 35 Film Festivals throughout North America, earning her a Best Actress nomination at the FilmQuest 2014 Festival. She also performs and writes with her sketch comedy troupe Dame Judy Dench, whose recent show `That`s Just 5 Kids In A Trench Coat“ received NNNNN in NOW Magazine. She is thrilled to be a part of this great cast and to work with Bygone Theatre.

Mark Nocent
Mark Nocent
as Mike

Mark Nocent is a Honours Graduate from Humber College’s Acting for Film and Television Program. A resident of Toronto, Mark has found success in commercials, short films, notably the short “W4M”, part of an ongoing web-series by 9 Light Entertainment, and indie features, notably “Smoke it” which is currently in Post Production. On stage Mark has run a gamut of Musical Theatre, Sketch Comedy, and traditional plays, most recently touring the 2015 Fringe with the show ‘MARS’, written by Jayson McDonald.

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Eric Miinch as Roat

Eric Miinch attended the University of Windsor where he graduated with an Honours BFA. He is a graduate of The Toronto Second City Conservatory and has performed in every major city in Canada. Recent credits include: The Village Green (Applebox Film Company), You Detective (Toronto Fringe), Finding John Stooge (EggMilk Productions).

Dave Walpole
Dave Walpole as Carlino

Dave Walpole was born August 11th, 1986 and stems from Hamilton, Ontario. Not an ordinary kid growing up, Dave was born with a congenital heart defect for which he had to have two surgeries at the ages of 4 and 5. Dave was always the class clown and soon began to stretch his talents by doing more comedy and drama. During high school he played a small part in the Wiz, and was the captain of the school’s improv and sketch team. After high school he took his training to Humber College for Comedy Writing and Performance. There he learned from SNL’s Robin Duke, and Second City’s Alan Guttman. Upon finishing the program, he went to work on Royal Caribbean Cruise lines, hosting dance parties, and activities. Aside from also being a stilt walker in the ship parades, Dave Walpole and his partner Patrick Carolan formed “The Blues Brothers Released”, a tribute band to the Blues Brothers, where he performed as Elwood Blues for Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Lines. Since his departure from the ship life, Dave Walpole has been in numerous projects such as Dumb and Dumber To, CNN’s new series Race For The White House, The Volunteer by Rosco Films, and Civil War Chronicles, soon to be released for the American Heroes Network. Currently the host on YouTube’s InformOverload, FTD Facts and his personal project The Ivy Show featuring him and his loud mouth long haired chihuahua named Ivy. Currently he is slated for a feature film The Weekend by Livingston Studios.

Abby Strachan
Abby Strachan as Gloria

Abby Strachan was born in Toronto and has loved to perform for as long as she can remember. She has been involved in many small theatre productions and school plays as well as Mirvish’s production of The Railway Children. She was the recipient of the Karen Kain School of the Arts Drama Award, and currently majors in theatre in her high school. She is very excited to be playing Gloria in Wait Until Dark.

Andrew Lorimer Headshot
Andrew Lorimer as Sam

Andrew Lorimer is an actor originally from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. He made the move to Toronto three years ago after being accepted into the George Brown Theatre School. Some of his notable roles include: Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (Quonta Drama Festival Adjudicator Award for Youth and Theatre Ontario Outstanding Juvenile Award), and George Gibbs in Our Town (Quonta Drama Festival’s Bob Sproule Award). He also had the very exciting opportunity to work with the Theater Reconstruction Ensemble in New York City, exploring the text of Hamlet to create new theatrical work. Wait Unit Dark marks Andrew’s premiere on stage in Toronto.  

Ryan Kotack
Ryan Kotack as Officer Sully

Ryan Christopher Kotack is an actor and screenwriter. As an actor, his work has screened at international film festivals. His first feature film, IN THE HOUSE OF FLIES, gave Ryan Christopher critical praise: “newcomer Kotack delivers an admirably lived-in performance that make fully convincing characters’ growing sense of despair,” (Frank Scheck, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER).In addition to his work on screen, Ryan Christopher has written for Canadian Film Review, ACTRA Toronto’s Performers On Set Magazine, and short films NEW DOMAIN & MARS IS LAUGHINNG AT US, in association with ACTRA Toronto YEAA SHORTS and ReelWorld Film Festival. A University of Guelph Theatre Studies Alumni, Ryan currently is an advanced study of Meisner Technique (Adrian Griffin) at Fraser Studios. Ryan is grateful to be on stage with Bygone Theatre and cherishes the support from his friends and family. Catch Ryan Christopher Kotack in the television show REIGN (CW/CTV) this Spring.

So, Ya Wanna Be In Vaudeville? CASTING CALL

Hey you! Ya, you! Have you ever dreamed of playing the circuit? Making it big on stage? Think you got what it takes to be a star of Vaudeville? Well then you’re in luck – forget those critics, Vaudeville ain’t dead! We’re breathing new life into it this June with Bygone Theatre’s…

VAUDEVILLE REVUE
Alumnae Theatre Mainstage
June 22-24, 2016

We are currently accepting proposals for acts and are looking for the following;

  • Singers
  • Dancers (tap, ragtime), solo or group
  • Comedians (think more sketches than stand-up)
  • Acrobats/gymnasts
  • Magicians
  • Musicians
  • Jugglers
  • Clowns
  • Unique acts

Acts should be 3-8 minutes long and family friendly (keep it PG). We are looking for period appropriate, which for Vaudeville means 1890s-1930s, so keep that in mind when it comes to material, style and music – don’t worry about costumes, we’ll take care of those. Please note, only scripts and songs written before 1935 will be accepted.

At the moment we are looking for people with specific acts in mind; they don’t need to be completely polished, but we want to know what your source material is and your general concept. There may be an open casting call at a later date for those who want to be involved, but that will depend on this round of submissions.

How to apply:

  • Email director Emily Dix at emily@bygonetheatre.com with the following;
    • A copy of your source material (ie. a link to or pdf of the script, sheet music etc.)
    • A description of your proposed act that highlights, a. the number of performers, b. any specific materials required (props, set, costumes etc.), c. the approximate length, and, d. a breakdown of what the performance will include (if it’s something like a dance that need explanation, for sketches the script will suffice).
    • Any support materials you may have (video footage of a previous performance, or a self-tape is ideal)

What Else You Need To Know:

  • This is likely to remain a non-union production, but at this stage Equity members are welcome to apply, as we are still working on funding
  • This will be a profit-share production
  • All performers will receive a high-quality, professionally filmed copy of their performance
  • Rehearsals will be in June 2016, with a load-in/dress on June 21, and evening performances June 22-24; matinees TBD

Deadline for this first round of submissions is Friday February 12, 2016, at 5:00pm. 

Spread the word and spread the love – Vaudeville is back!

-E.

Merry Christmas!

We’d like to wish all our friends, family & fellow theatre lovers a very merry Christmas and happy new year. Thank you for your continued support, and we hope to see much more of you in the new year.

To wrap up our Retro Christmas Countdown, here is our Top 20 Forgotten Vintage Christmas Songs – throw them on while you’re unwrapping presents or meeting your sweetheart under the mistletoe. Enjoy!

-E.

Retro Christmas Countdown – Xmas in the 20th Century

While Christmas dates back hundreds of years before, it was the start of the 20th century that saw the turn towards the lavish and very commercial holiday that we all know today. Here’s a very brief history of Christmas traditions from the last century.

1900s

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The first Christmas card was created in 1843 by John Horsley, and by the turn of the century the Victorian’s love of sentimental greetings had made this a popular tradition.

The Victorian styles of decorating carried into the start of the 20th century, with gilded nuts, candles and paper ornaments adorning trees.

This decade also saw the creation of what was to become one of the most popular children’s toys of the century; the Teddy Bear. Named after President Roosevelt, the charming story of the origin of this toy and its name can be read here.

1910s

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As Christmas rapidly became a highly commercialized holiday, more and more companies used it as a means of selling their products, and the image of Santa Claus began to morph into the one we are familiar with today. It was in the 1910s that Santa’s now unmistakable look, with red suit and pants trimmed in white fur, matching cap and long white beard, began to become the norm.

While a legend has grown that claims Coca Cola invented the modern-day image of Santa, that is not quite the case. Prior to the famous Coca Cola Santa (who was created in 1931), the jolly elf had been portrayed as anything from tall and lanky to a munchkin-sized man. Norman Rockwell had painted a Santa who is strikingly similar to the 30s Coke version all the way back in 1911, however it wasn’t until Coke began regularly producing consistent looking Christmas ads that the current version of St. Nick really began to stick.

For an interesting pictorial history of Santa, check out this link.

1920s

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By the 1920s the upper class had traded-in their candles for electric Christmas lights, and trees were as lavish and daring as the fashions of the decades.

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With the rising popularity of the wireless (radio), the 1920s also saw the first Christmas radio broadcast when, in 1922, Arthur Burrow presented “The Truth About Father Christmas”.

1930s

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Rockefeller Centre, 1931

In the midst of the Great Depression few had money to spend on food and clothing, let alone Christmas gifts and decorations. Still, the tradition of putting up a tree hung on, with many families owning decorations they had purchased in the more prosperous 1920s. Homemade ornaments also adorned the tree, made out of things like the foil paper saved from cigarette packs. As previously mentioned, Coca Cola started to advertise with their own version of Santa, and upbeat Christmas songs were enjoyed on the radio. Advertisements still bombarded shoppers with ideas for the perfect Christmas gift, only their tactics had changed; a focus on the practical and sometimes financing options were promoted.

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The popular character Rudolph, everyone’s favourite red-nosed reindeer, was created in 1939 by Montgomery Ward. Although it wasn’t until a decade later when Gene Autry released the song that we’ve all learned as kids.

rudolph

1940s

The 1940s saw the Second World War, and with that came rations and a reminder that the war effort should be supported above all else. Sales in non-necessities like Christmas lights dropped dramatically as many companies changed their focus to assist in the war effort. War bonds were promoted as a perfect gift for any family member or friend, and Santa himself switched his classic red & white outfit to don army duds and support the cause.

With many families missing fathers, brothers and sons overseas, Christmas could have been a bittersweet time. However, back home the masses were reminded to keep their spirits up while fighting the good fight, so many Christmas celebrations resumed some of the splendour they had seen before the Depression.

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1950s

The post-war boom made the Christmas of the 1950s one of the biggest and gaudiest yet. The Baby Boom meant there were lots of families with youngsters, and so the toy market was buzzing. Wide-spread prosperity meant most were lucky enough to be able to afford Christmas celebrations, and women’s magazines, eager to encourage them to return to the home, now that the war was over, pushed for the ideal Christmas season, full of elaborate recipes and decor.

Television was also becoming popular and with it came a host of Christmas specials. Stars like Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby recorded Christmas songs and popular shows like I Love Lucy recorded special Christmas episodes.

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1960s

By the 1960s, the fads of the 50s were firmly cemented; every toy imaginable was available on the market and they were advertised directly to children in between the cartoons they watched on tv. The Christmas shows we still see today – Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Frosty the Snowman – first appeared on the airwaves and decorations were more colourful and outlandish than ever before.

There was significant variety now as well. Christmas trees could be anything from your traditional green pine, to the popular aluminum trees that came in silver, aqua and even pink! And don’t forget the fake snow! The concept of “Kitschmas” was truly born in the 1960s.

What’s your favourite Christmas decade? Tweet your replies to @BygoneTheatre #RetroXmas 

-E.

Retro Christmas Countdown – Crazy Vintage Recipes

Every family has their own Christmas traditions, and chances are, they include some much-loved recipes. However, for every delicious pie there is that dreaded fruit cake or failed potato salad that family members choke down once a year so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings. Imagine the difficulty in doing that, however, when the popular recipes of the day looked like this!

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Ok, I kind of get it…candles, Christmas, those sort of go together. But somehow looking at those I don’t find myself thinking of candles…also, maybe it’s just me, but bananas never exactly screamed “xmas” to me.

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In keeping with our candle theme here’s one dish that does something incredible; turns me off from food even more than the previous one. It’s like someone had spent years plopping that cranberry sauce out of the can and thinking, it needs something extra, and then one day, eureka! We can mix it with mayonnaise and light it on fire! I mean, the lighting it on fire part isn’t a bad idea…

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Oh goody! More of everyone’s favourite Christmas treat; bananas! But now we’ve perfected them by ADDING MEAT.

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Now, on top of generally just being against eating anything that smiles at me, I feel like “seafood” and “mousse” are two words that shouldn’t really go together. Gotta appreciate that great presentation though, the bed of greens and 3 awkwardly places tomatoes really give it that je ne sais quoi.

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Despite it’s bizarre appearance, I feel this may be the most normal meal on the list. I think those are cornflakes that have been sort of “candy-fied” and topped with what I assume are mints. Worth the effort? Not really. But much less likely to give you nightmares or gut rot than most of this list.

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There were just too many lovely jello creations to choose from, I couldn’t narrow it down to one. Really, all you need to know is that jello used to be SO popular they made vegetable flavour, and that it wasn’t uncommon to serve as part of the main course. Now, admittedly, my Grandmother always serves jello with Christmas dinner, I think it’s a rural Ontarian thing, but THANK GOD it’s cherry flavoured and I’ve never been forced to choke down shrimp and olive jello.

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I think the name says it all. “Bacon pudding” is even worse than “vegetable jello” in my books. Fun Fact: this comes up looking the exact same way it does going down.

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Last, but certainly not least, this piece de resistance that certainly does take the crown. I think what really makes it for me is that, they seem to have sliced the sausages lengthwise so that they can curve up around the dish, rising up so support that lovely pile of…I guess it’s some sort of sauerkraut…I’d love to see someone try and serve this without the whole thing falling apart, almost as much as I’d love to watch someone eat it without falling apart themselves.

Did you like this post? Check out other blogs like Bad Jelly (where they make and try some of these fabulous creations) and The Gallery of Regrettable Food. Have you ever tried anything this ghastly? Tweet us your pictures or stories to @BygoneTheatre #RetroFood.

-E.

Vintage Christmas Printables

In need of some last-minute decorations or gifts? Check out these sources for great vintage printables and hand-make a card, gift tag, wreath or garland. Be sure to tweet pictures of your creations to @BygoneTheatre! Click on the images for links to the original sites.

Graphics Fairy

Graphics Fairy has hundreds of Christmas printables.

 

Vintage Holiday Crafts features many turn-of-the-century Christmas cards

Vintage Holiday Crafts features many turn-of-the-century Christmas cards

 

Beautiful gift tags from Christmas Charisma.

Beautiful gift tags from Christmas Charisma.

 

True to its name, Free Pretty Things For You has some adorable prints, a bit more modern and colourful than the others, plus ideas how on to use them!

True to its name, Free Pretty Things For You has some adorable prints, a bit more modern and colourful than the others, plus ideas how on to use them!

 

Miss the kitschy-fun wrapping paper of yesteryear? No fear! Aunt Peaches has some scanned so print to your hearts content.

Miss the kitschy-fun wrapping paper of yesteryear? No fear! Aunt Peaches has some scanned so print to your hearts content.

 

Enjoy!

Retro Christmas Countdown – Gifts For The Guys

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post on finding the perfect gift for the vintage-loving ladies in your life, we thought we’d do one for the boys.

For The Host

Does your man love to play host? Help him up his vintage game with a gift like this masculine travel bar set from Etsy, or check out Toronto’s BYOB for a similar one-of-a-kind find. Not much of a drinker? Why not help add to the ambiance with a retro-inspired radio or mp3 player, like the funky ones by Crosley.

For The Film Buff

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An easy gift for you film-loving friend is of course, a movie or movie box set. Already know his favourite vintage flick? Why not buy him a gift set by the same director or starring the same actor? If you really want to leave an impression, you can even give him this ridiculous (but very cool) vintage-style Crosley tv.

For The Business Man

If he has an office or dedicated workspace, there is a wide range of gorgeous office accessories out there sure to make any vintage lover squeal with delight. Restoration Hardware has spectacular pieces and while most are pricey enough to be options for the very wealthy (few of us have upwards of $3000 for a desk) some of their desk accessories are relatively accessible, like the 19th Century Belgian Deed Boxes (doubt he already has one!). Or go for something with a more personal touch and find an antique card holder from your local vintage shop and take it in to be engraved.

For The Greaser

If he’s more of a 50s bad boy type lots of vintage and rockabilly stores have some wicked shirts, like these from Tatyana’s boutique. And if he spends more time doing his hair than you do, maybe throw in some good old fashioned hair pomade as well and help keep those Elivis-esq coifs looking fine.

For The Dandy

 

If your gentleman prefers tweed jackets and bow ties to jeans and bowling shirts, you may want to look for something a little more upscale and help him complete his “dandy” image. New York’s Fine & Dandy would be my first choice here as they carry everything you could need for this look – even spats and sock garters! If that’s a little much check out their wide range of neckwear, sure to impress the most particular of tastes.

Retro Christmas Countdown – Gifts for the Ladies

With Christmas less than a week away we thought it was time to do a final Christmas countdown for all you retro lovers out there. Check our blog every day up to and including on Christmas for some vintage holiday fun.

To start things off, here are some fabulous gift ideas for the lovely ladies on your list.

For The Makeup Lover


Is the lady on your list a fan of glamourous vintage makeup looks? Then be sure to check out Besame Cosmetics. Created by cosmetic historian (yes, that is a thing) Gabriella Hernandez, Besame features a wide range of  reproduction beauty products that beautifully capture the luxury styles of the 1920s-50s. From 20s style cake mascara to 1938 Crimson Cream Rouge, this company is sure to have the perfect item for your makeup loving friend.

For The Quirky Friend


Not sure what to get for your quirky, vintage-loving pal? Have no fear, there are dozens of great options. Why not try a funky pillow with a great cult-vibe? Or an adorable Sailor-Jerry-esq tea towel set? Blame Betty has these and many more for very reasonable prices. Not quirky enough? Try scouring Etsy for a unique find, like these book purses from Novel Creations, or find a one-of-a-kind vintage item, like this kitschy figurine – she’s sure to remember that!

For The Cocktail Fan

Nothing screams vintage like the perfect cocktail served up in a gorgeous vintage glass. West Elm carries a nice set of 20s inspired stemware, and Toronto’s own BYOB carries everything from stunning absinthe fountains to funky tiki mugs.

For The Jewellery Lover

Dazzle her with an Edwardian (reproduction) ring or a daring Deco necklace. Jans Jewells offers a wide selection of reproduction jewellery made with more affordable materials (eg. cubic zirconia rather than diamonds) so you can get that beautiful one-of-a-kind look without breaking the bank buying a real vintage piece. 1928 is a similar store with a lot of great vintage-inspired finds; check out their Downton Abbey collection for some hopelessly romantic pieces.

For The All-Round Retro Diva

Does your gal love everything retro? Does she look like she stepped out of a Golden Age picture? Then you’re in luck, because there are dozens of stores dedicated to amazing retro-styled fashions. Here in town check out shops like Tatyana’s Boutique or Rosie the Rebel for more casual retro duds, or try Cabaret Vintage for a more upscale look. If you’re willing to look overseas you’ll find an even better collection at shops like Collectif or What Katie Did. Make sure you check the return policy, especially if ordering from overseas. In cases like this, a gift card may be the way to go, it’s unlikely your retro diva would be disappointed in that.

Vintage Halloween Masks – DIY Printables!

With Halloween just around the corner, we thought we’d share some fun vintage masks that you can print out at home! Check out these great sites for more, and be sure to follow our pinterest board for all the updates.

Wings of Whimsey is a great source for free printables and one I visit often. You can find things like this vintage cat mask;

VintageHalloween.com is an obvious choice if you’re looking for something specific and don’t mind spending some money. They have a wide array of vintage reproduction so you can make your Halloween party as authentic as you’d like (I’m swooning over some of this stuff).

This is sort of a random one that I stumbled across while browsing pinterest. 50’s Ben Cooper Box Art Detail is how the flickr album is labeled and it seems to be a high-res scan of an old costume box. Pretty nifty.

The Monster Masks Blog is a spectacular find – you really can get anything on the internet. Check out an amazing assortment of high-quality rubber and latex masks and download some cool paper ones for yourself!

 

Prefer pretty over creepy? Check out Mamelok Papercraft for some beautiful Victorian reproduction masks like these;

Got some more resource you think we should share? Send them our way! Tweet them to @BygoneTheatre.

  • E.D.