Crew Spotlight: Emily Dix

25.pngEmily Dix is the Artistic Executive Director of Bygone Theatre, and is directing, stage managing, designing and producing His Girl Friday. Emily has produced all of Bygone’s shows and directed 5 of the 6, with this now being her 7th.

Bio: Emily Dix is a Toronto based theatre artist, a “jack of all trades” who has worked as a director, producer, stage manager, set & costume designer and performer. In 2008 she moved to the city to attend UofT and quickly became involved with companies on campus, like Victoria College Drama, the UC Follies, St. Mike’s Drama and Hart House Theatre. In 2012, she founded Bygone Theatre, a company which she still runs today as the Artistic Executive Director. Emily has worked as a producer for Theatre 20 and as the assistant producer at Tarragon Theatre, as well as a production assistant for Poculi Ludique Societas, the PR Manager for the Social Capital Theatre, and numerous other freelance positions. In addition to her work in theatre, Emily is a vintage lover and avid collector. She owns an Etsy shop, Tucked Away Antiques, that specializes in small vintage items and digital downloads. Emily has also dabbled in design, making web sites and posters for local artists. For past credits and more information, visit her website, www.emilydix.com.

What made you want to mount His Girl Friday?

While not a conscious decision, I realized that all of the shows Bygone had mounted so far were either dramas, or at the very least rather dark comedies. I never intended for us to stick to style like that so when I was planning our 2016/17 season I knew I wanted a comedy. I had a list of several that had caught my eye, but one day I stumbled across a list of films that were currently in the public domain, and couldn’t believe His Girl Friday was one of them! I was going to write the adaptation myself, but my uncle, Craig Dix, had recently sent me a radio of script of his he’d done, so I asked him if he’d like to do it, and the answer was an enthusiastic “yes”. It’s a great story, with a large and diverse cast, strong female lead AND in the public domain – how could I not want to put it on?

What do you love about the show?

It really is very funny. I love the fast-paced dialogue and the opportunity for cheesy, over-the-top humour. While there are certainly complications with having such a large cast, I did want to be able to include a lot of people, so the size of it appeals to me as well. Plus, I love stories that include a great romance, without it being the central part of the story. It keeps things endearing but not sappy, and makes for a plot everyone can enjoy.

Which role – director, producer, designer, stage manger – have you found most challenging? Why?

I think with this one, I’d have to say director, simply because of the size of the cast. While I did the first round of auditions very early December, it took a very long time to get everything cast; I’m glad I held out for the right actors, but it has been stressful not having the whole group. As producer, it’s always stressful because there is a lot of money on the line, but I feel like I’ve done it enough by now that I have a pretty solid idea of what it takes, and just look at past show reports to calm myself when I start worrying about whether we’ll be able to make rent.

What has been the most rewarding part of the process so far?

Seeing the advances the cast has made. Like I said, big show, lots of fast-talking dialogue, it’s not an easy play. It’s exhausting, especially for the leads. But I’ve got an amazingly talented cast, and every rehearsal they’re leaps and bounds above where they were before, so it’s super fun and rewarding to see them get comfortable in their roles and play with a lot of the silliness that is there in the script. It’s going to be a funny show.

Why should people come and see the show?

It’s so much fun. Fast-paced, goofy, it’ll have you laughing and on the edge of your seat. Not to mention we’ve got a huge cast, so if you’re in the local theatre scene, chances are you know someone involved! Come out and support Toronto Theatre.

Anything else we should know?

Sadly, it’s a very limited engagement, just one weekend. So there are only 5 chances for the public to come and see the show; Thursday March 2, 8:00pm; Friday March 3, 8:00pm; Saturday March 4, 2:00pm and 8:00pm; Sunday March 5, 2:00pm. We encourage you to buy your tickets in advance, which can be done through the Native Earth box office, at www.nativeearth.ca/hisgirlfriday. Hope to see you there!

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Cast Spotlight – Mark Nocent

Mark Nocent plays the con man Mike in our upcoming production of Wait Until Dark. Mark and director Emily Dix had first worked together back in 2012 on a short play titled Noble Savages for the Newborn Theatre Odds & Ends Festival.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, what do you do when you’re not rehearsing for Wait Until Dark?

I hold a position with an escape game company, which runs games out of Casa Loma. I’ve been performing within games for a number of rewarding months, and recently became a puzzle fabricator for their newest game, Station M, a spy themed game set in the tunnels of the castle. I’m building a board game currently, and just generally enjoying life!

2. How did you hear about the show? What made you want to get involved?

Emily reached out to me, and I had wanted to work with her again after doing a short one act a number of years ago. She sent me the script for WUD and I loved it, so I had to audition.

3. What has been your favourite moment in rehearsal so far?

Jeeeze, so many. Cynical life lessons for Abby, terrific Italian accents, 1950’s radio shows, discussions about dead bodies. Plus the process itself is a pleasure with such a great group of humans.

4. How do you prepare for playing a role like Mike? 

Mike is certainly in my wheelshouse, but there’s a lot of tension going on in every scene, and prepping for it has involved combing the scenes looking for moments to de-stress, and how Mike can do that.

5. Why should everyone come see the show?

This show is fun. The audience is immediately let in on the plan, and gets to watch it unfold, and watch the characters sweat when things go wrong. It’s a thriller, who wouldn’t want to see it?

See Mark in this captivating thriller April 14-16th in the rehearsal hall at Tarragon Theatre. Tickets on sale 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.