The community theatre group, Phoenix Players, put on the short but seriously funny play “Bad Auditions by Bad Actors” at the 40th anniversary of ActFest, held in the William Glesby Centre in Portage La Prairie.
In the play, a casting director has one day to find the leads for a community theater production of Romeo and Juliet. What seems like a simple task proves impossible when the pool of actors includes extreme method actors, performers who just don't know what to do with their hands, and one woman who may think she's a cat.
Actors included Bob and Maureen Senff, Iris Munchinsky, Kelvon Smith and Dianne Burk.
Also at ACTfest, Virden playwright George Baker presented his own work, “Uncanny”. Brandon actors played alongside Baker in his 40-minute play. The protagonist, Andrew (Baker), leads a life characterized by frustration. With the loss of a prestigious job, dissatisfaction in his marriage to Margaret (Carol McInnis) and a girlfriend on the side, Chrissy (Aleca Antonakis), the plot thickens.
Andrew, in a fit of jealous rage, kills the narcissistic Chrissy, burying her in the garden.
Andrew's troubles don't end there, however, as Margaret seems to have psychic power, and in a series of dreams, she has been witnessing his crime, one segment at a time.
Enter the neighbour and Margaret's friend from down the street, Mavis (Loretta Hamilton).
She has conveniently brought a small vial of poison for that troublesome badger that's been digging up the garden.
It occurs to Andrew, to use the poison on Margaret, but there is a twist at the end.
“I wrote this play as a drama, but some in the audience seemed to regard it as a dark comedy,” says Baker. He said his adjudication was “thoughtful and valid”.
ActFest is Manitoba’s Association of Community Theatres festival. Performers enjoy a great opportunity to socialize with other amateur actors. Last year, Virden actors hosted ActFest.