Drama on the slopes

Gavin Simms
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New Curtain Theatre Company invites you to come for the skiing, stay for the Shakespeare

It seems that we just can't shake the snow, but some make it work to their favour.

This week, as the New Curtain Theatre Company (NCTC) brings two timeless plays to the stage at White Hills, the weather will be watching.

Auditions were held on the day of a February snowstorm, which made for a lower turnout than anticipated, but didn't put things off.

Kevin Woolridge (left) as Antonio and Steve O'Connell as Shylock rehearse a scene from "The Merchant of Venice." New Curtain Theatre Company stages two Shakespeare plays at White Hills starting tonight. Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

Clarenville - It seems that we just can't shake the snow, but some make it work to their favour.

This week, as the New Curtain Theatre Company (NCTC) brings two timeless plays to the stage at White Hills, the weather will be watching.

Auditions were held on the day of a February snowstorm, which made for a lower turnout than anticipated, but didn't put things off.

This week, while there may or may not be another storm to contend with, snow aplenty will provide the backdrop as Shakespeare on the Slopes gets underway at the loft theatre of the White Hills Ski Resort.

NCTC considers the White Hills loft to be their "home base."

NCTC artistic director Geoff Adams and his crew may have been situated at Rabbittown Theatre in St. John's for the past two weeks working on rehearsals, but only due to the larger size of the cast and issues involved with finding accommodations in Clarenville.

While previous productions of NCTC have featured performers from other parts of the island, this time around there will be a local talent in the lineup. Mary Russell of Clarenville, a student of New Curtain's adult acting classes, has joined the cast of seven. Adams says she "will get a great chance to see what it's like up there in the front lights of her hometown."

The show runs for two weeks and alternates between two of Shakespeare's most varying works - "The Merchant of Venice," which has been visually updated to the setting of a 1930's dockyard, and "A Midsummer Night's Dream," which has taken a more traditional approach in terms of its fantastical art direction.

Adams will direct "A Midsummer Night's Dream," while Rabbittown Theatre's Aiden Flynn will direct "The Merchant of Venice."

"The storyline was very crucial. We wanted something light on one end and then something that has a bit of darker dramatic content, to sort of counterpoint them against one another," explains Adams of his choice of plays.

He is hoping this will be a great opportunity to attract an audience of ski- enthusiasts from the city, out for one last rush on the slopes during Easter break.

Adams said he also looks forward to the opportunity to share the rich experience of theatre with those who might not have had the chance to see a show until now, most notably the younger ones and those travelling in from surrounding rural areas.

"In this technological age that we have today, we seem to have lost the ability to speak creatively; that's what Shakespeare does, to this very day.

"These are two very accessible stories, back then as they are today, and just as powerful.

"Theatre itself has more power to it than film or video games, and our theatre is so small, it's just such an intimate experience."

Shakespeare on the Slopes starts its run tonight at 8 p.m. with a pay-what-you-can-preview show. The show continues until March 30.

Organizations: New Curtain Theatre Company, Rabbittown Theatre, White Hills Ski Resort

Geographic location: Clarenville, White Hills, Venice St. John's

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