Bygone Theatre’s Top 5 Toronto Fringe Picks 2017

As always, here’s our round-up of the Top 5 2017 Toronto Fringe shows we think you should see – we know they’re gonna be great because they feature past Bygone artists! Check it out:

32 Short Sketches About Bees (Shannon Lahaie)

32 Short Sketches About Bees - 2017 Toronto Fringe

Synopsis: It started out as a bet: could this team put together a sketch comedy show with thirty two sketches about bees – any kind of bees, from honey bees to the letter B to Bea Arthur (if we can get the impression right) – in sixty minutes? Maybe they will. Maybe they won’t. Let’s find out!

Featuring: Created by Andrew Bushell (Bad Dog), Leigh Cameron (Second City), Claire Farmer (Dame Judy Dench), Jessica Greco (Dame Judy Dench), Shannon Lahaie (Dame Judy Dench), Chris Leveille (Dame Judy Dench), and Cameron Wyllie (O Dat Dum), and directed by Paul Bates (Second City).

Shannon Lahaie: You may remember Shannon as Susy in Wait Until Dark. While she did a stunning job as a young, blind housewife in this suspense drama, Shannon’s greatest strength is in comedy. I saw her last year in Everything Else Is Sold Our and it was absolutely brilliant. With many of the same faces onstage this year, I know this show will be a hit.

 

Caitlin & Eric Are Broken Up (Caitlin Robson, Eric Miinch)

Caitlin And Eric Are Broken Up - 2017 Toronto Fringe

Synopsis: Newly-Singles Caitlin and Eric walk into a bedroom… and go on a painfully funny rebound to look back on their past relationships.

Featuring: Misery loves company! At a story-telling event in 2015, Eric Miinch (Fratwurst Comedy, Behold the Barfly Fringe 2016) told the audience a funny story from his personal heartache, and Caitlin Robson (Karenin’s Anna, Fringe 2014) countered with one from hers. Realizing what they had, they teamed up with Director Jess Beaulieu (Crimson Wave Comedy & Podcast), and through some improv, roleplay and imagination, they devised this candid, laugh-til-you-cry dialogue about love lost, and the art of moving on.
#CEBrokenUp

Caitlin Robson: You may remember Caitlin from her role as Miss Jeffries in our 2015 production of Rope. While this was another drama, Caitlin showed off her comedic timing at our Retro Radio Hour – Suspense! fundraiser, and I can’t wait to see her in this original show.

Eric Miinch: Eric played the sinister Mr.Roat in last year’s production of Wait Until Dark. While he made for an excellent villain, it was very against his character, and almost felt like a waste not giving him a chance to show off his comedic improv skills. Eric shines in comedy, I can’t wait to see him in this.

Confidential Musical Theatre Project (June 9 – Elizabeth Rose Morriss)

Confidential Musical Theatre Project - 2017 Toronto Fringe

SynopsisOur casts are given their scripts and scores and asked to familiarize themselves with their roles – but not to reveal the show title or their role in it to anyone. With no rehearsals, the cast and crew meet for the first time one hour before the performance begins. The audience shows up with no knowledge of what show they’re about to see. The only rule: don’t stop. No matter what.

Featuring: It varies, but we recommend the June 9th performance as it features the lovely Elizabeth Rose Morriss!

Elizabeth Rose Morriss: Liz has been a Bygone staple from the beginning. You may remember her from her role as Miss Kentley in RopeGertrude Baldwin in His Girl Friday, her performances at our Vaudeville Revue, or from one of our many Retro Radio Hour shows. CMTP is an ambitious project at any time, but doing them for a Fringe sounds incredibly challenging. Liz is a wonderful actor and a beautiful singer, so you know that, regardless of what the show is, the June 9th performance is going to be great.

On The Inside (Ryan Kotack)

On The Inside - 2017 Toronto Fringe

Synopsis: On The Inside is a docutheatre production inspired by Ashley Smith, a young female inmate from New Brunswick. Convicted of a minor infraction, Ashley later spent nearly three years in solitary confinement. This piece takes a close look at the effects of solitary on a young person and the hunger for relationships. Shame and vulnerability reveal themselves at different moments in the lives of an inmate, nurse and two prison guards. Each character journeys through the contrast between a harsh penal system and the reality of our universal desperation to be felt, heard and seen.

Featuring: Harry Lavigne, Ryan Christopher Kotack, Marnie Wohl Bennett, Kelechi Ofoha.

Ryan Kotack: Ryan was recently seen as Murphy in His Girl Friday, and before that as a cop in Wait Until Dark. In both of these roles, as well as others I’ve seen him in, he plays a gritty, disillusioned tough guy, and with the sound of this show I think he’s well cast and will be right at home – can’t wait.

Grey (Kenton Blythe)

Grey - 2017 Toronto Fringe

Synopsis: Twelve years ago Richard Buttle killed Jayden Alexander. Today is the day of his parole hearing. Jumping through time, the circumstances that lead to the crime begin to unravel. Who is really to blame? Not everything is as black and white as one would like to perceive.

Featuring: Kenton Blythe, Andrea Carter, Kion Flatts, Mandy Roveda, Asante Tracey and Veshone Cunningham.

Kenton Blythe : You may remember Kenton from way back in 2013, when we mounted our second ever production, Dial M For Murder. Kenton played loveable crime-writer Max. Since then he’s gone on to perform in a tour of Evil Dead; The Musical and to do a season at the Shaw Festival. Can’t wait to see him onstage here at home!

 

The Toronto Fringe Festival has an amazing 160 ticketed events, as well as over 50 free, drop-in events – so get out there and get Fringing!

-E.

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Cast Spotlight: Shannon Lahaie

Time for our first Wait Until Dark cast spotlight! Shannon Lahaie stars as Susy Hendricks, a blind housewife living in 1960s New York.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself, what do you do when you’re not rehearsing for Wait Until Dark?
    Outside of the show, I also write, rehearse, and perform with the sketch comedy troupe, Dame Judy Dench. We’ve been lucky enough to be accepted into The Toronto Fringe Festival this summer for the third time in a row.
2. How did you hear about the show? What made you want to get involved?
    I saw a facebook post shared by a friend of mine about auditions for the show. I had been saying how badly I wanted to do a play, and knew the film. I love the story and the character challenge of playing Susy, a blind woman having to outwit a group of con men. It was something that really appealed to me, I knew I had to do it.
3. What has been your favourite moment in rehearsal so far?
   I’d have to say the fight rehearsal was a standout day. It was a great bonding moment for us all to go around and practice choking and kicking each other, laughing and playing the whole time. Then to get to the detailed choreography of the individual fights, especially the end where Susy gets to kick some butt was really thrilling.
4. How do you prepare for playing a role like Susy? 
    I’ve never had a chance to play a character like Susy before. I feel like there’s so much to prepare. I want to avoid playing that showy blind default, constantly walking with hands out front. It’s also difficult in rehearsal, when I want to visually engage with my scene partners, and having to force myself not to make eye contact. It’s such second nature to me, so I really have to think about how else I can engage with my acting partners without using my eyes, playing with how Susy interacts with each individual differently. The script has many clues throughout about Susy and all her quirks at coping with her blindness, so I’m lucky in that way.
5. Why should everyone come see the show?
   It’s a wonderful thriller. There’s a lot to have fun with, and the energy of this cast is something I think the audience will get carried away with. It’s touching, mysterious, funny, and at times flat out scary. There’s so much to enjoy.
6. Any final thoughts?
    I’m so grateful for the chance to play Susy and work with this great cast of people. Also to my ever supportive partner, Andrew, who pushed me to submit to the casting, when I doubted if I could.
Come see the talented Shannon Lahaie onstage April 14-16th in the rehearsal hall at Tarragon Theatre. Tickets onsale now.

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.

EricMiinchAscot

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.