AREA 33 by Natalie Meisner
A new play development workshop with a public staged reading and audience talkback August 16 at 6:30pm.
Featuring local actors Jeffrey Renn, Deb Toole, and Metta Rose.
AREA 33 is about a friendship between women, resilience, lobster fraud, and the search for signs of intelligent life one summer at the Shag Harbour UFO Incident museum.
Chloe has had a difficult time of things. After losing her Mom at a young age she has been shunted about among her relatives like a stray cat – many of them fishermen in this tiny rural community. Living with her Uncle Sheldon, owner of a lobster pound, she learns to do the books and finds herself drawn into increasingly questionable dealings with overseas buyers. This leads to her being somewhat of a pariah in the village populated by fisherfolk and their family who feel ripped off by the middlemen. She suspects she might have seen enough of human nature and is quietly engineering a no-nonsense early exit for herself when she stumbles into the local UFO museum and is offered a summer job by Evelyn. Evelyn is a no-nonsense come from away who has been put in charge of the museum, but she also has a secret. The museum is her cover, she is working undercover for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to investigate reports of fraudulent seafood sales overseas. Evelyn finds herself in the questionable position of befriending and mentoring a young woman… while also trying to extract information from her.
Deb Toole (as Evelyn) has lived on Salt Spring Island for 29 years with her husband, Mark. They have raised their family here and own/run a private holiday resort on St. Mary’s Lake. Deb was trained as a musician playing flute and singing. Has conducted choirs and taught vocal technique for many years. A great love of the spoken and written word and a true delight in stage work has led her to participate in many performances on and off the island of plays, comedy, Emceeing. Really looking forward to this process of working so directly with Natalie.
Jeffrey Renn (as Sheldon) is an actor, director, teacher, clown, and – always – a master storyteller. He is an alumnus of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic, where he studied acting and has an MFA in Directing from the University of Victoria. Jeffrey was a member of the acting companies at the Shaw and Stratford Festivals and has also appeared on Broadway in Moliere’s The Miser and Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.
An acclaimed Director and Acting Teacher, Jeffrey taught Acting and Movement at The University of Victoria, The Gastown Actors Studio, George Brown College, the University of Winnipeg, Queensland University of Technology, Bond University, and the Lismore School of the Arts in Australia.
He was honoured to be the interim Artistic Director of Realwheels; a Vancouver-based, professional theatre company that produces performances that deepen the audience’s understanding of the disability experience and continues his work in this community with Kickstart Disability Arts Organization.
At present, he resides on Salt Spring Island building exitStageLeft’s summer Shakespeare program and his one-man show, At Your Service – the story of the life of Robert Service.
Metta Rose (as Chloe) was born & raised on Salt Spring Island. She moved to Vancouver and studied Musical theatre for two years at Capilano University, as well as trained in various other theatres, dance and voice lessons/workshops both in Canada & the US. Some favourite past shows include: Arsenic & Old Lace and A View from the Bridge (SS Community Theatre), Cabaret & Spamalot (exitStageLeft Prod), Just So (CapU), Harvey (Metro Theatre), Wizard of oz Panto (SMP Dramatic Society), Little Shop of Horrors (GISS), Peter Pan (SS Centre) & Alice (Stage Coach).
Pamela Halstead (DIRECTOR/ DRAMATURGE) is a director, dramaturg, actor, teacher and arts consultant. Pamela is currently the Artistic Director of Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre (PARC) as well as co-founder and Artistic Producer of Halifax’s DMV Theatre. She is the former Artistic Director of Lunchbox Theatre (Calgary, AB) and Ship’s Company Theatre (Parrsboro, NS). In her 10 years between these two companies, she dramaturged, directed and/or produced over 60 productions, the majority of them premieres of new works. Pamela was awarded the inaugural Evans Award at the Calgary Critics’ Awards for her contribution to the vibrancy of the Calgary theatre community.
Natalie Meisner (WRITER) is a full Professor in the Department of English, Languages, and Literature at MRU. Her stage plays have won numerous awards, been produced across the country, and been featured in Canadian anthologies. She is part of Eastern Front Theatre’s Playwright’s Unit where Boom Baby will premiere next April. This play was workshopped at ArtSpring last year and went on to win the Canadian National Playwriting Competition. Meisner’s books, Double Pregnant: Two Lesbians Make a Family, My Mommy, My Mama, My Brother & Me, Growing Up Salty, Legislating Love: The Everett Klippert Story and Speed Dating For Sperm Donors take on social justice themes with warmth and humour. Her forthcoming collection of poetry, Baddie One Shoe (Frontenac) is an ode the renegades past and present. Natalie hails from Nova Scotia and makes her home with her wife Vivien and two great boys on SSI. She is ecstatic to bring her passion for new play development to the island and to work with such wonderful local talent.