Sunday, December 3, 2017

A Little Princess-Theatre for the Whole Family

Bottle Tree Productions presents a stage adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's children's classic; A Little Princess. Starring Emily Flake, Martin Fobert, Fiona Beech, Lynn Kerr Sid Anjilvel and Catie Parks and directed by Charles Robertson, this play will tug at your hearts strings. The play runs at the St Andrews Presbyterian Church at 130 Clergy St. Kingston, ON from Dec 14-16 and you can get tickets online at the Grand Theatre website, or in person at the box office or by phoning  613-530-2050.

A Little Princess is adapted from the children's novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett,

Born in India, Sara Crewe is a privileged student at a prestigious private school for girls in London in the late 19th century. Her doting father is a wealthy captain in the British army. When Sara's mother passes away, her grief-stricken father acknowledges that he can't look after her properly and takes her to London to Miss Minchin's private school. He insists that nothing is to be denied his little girl. He will spare no expense to make sure she is well-looked after. Though she is treated as a little princess, she is kind to everyone and especially the unfortunate scullery maid; Becky.

When her father suddenly dies, Sara's fairy-tale existence comes crashing down. She is left an orphan, without relatives or money. She is forced by the cruel Miss Minchin to work as a servant in the school with little food or rest and without pay. The only other option would be to beg on the streets. She and Becky live side by side in the rat-infested attic of the school.
A mysterious neighbour then moves in next door to the school and brings with him, redemption, forgiveness and salvation. A story that will tug at the heart strings and uplift the spirits of young and old alike.

A perfect Christmas story for the whole family.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Opens Nov. 23 2017!

November 16, 2017


Kingston, ON – Bottle Tree Productions presents the Kingston premier of Christopher Durang's Tony Award winning comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Starring Sean Roberts, Amie Bello. Helen von Bretzke, Daniel Pauley, Cassel Miles and Hannah Smith, and directed by Gord Love, this play will keep you in stitches. The play runs at the Grand Theatre in the Baby Grand from Nov. 23-Dec. 2 and you can get tickets online at the Grand Theatre website, or in person at the box office or by phoning 613-530-2050.

Durang's take on sibling dynamics is pointed up in this comedy, as Helen von Bretzke's aging starlet, Masha , comes home to visit her brother and sister. She brings news and a young man – a VERY young man. Her life is perfect, she has ventured out into the world and has been successful in her career--and she has Spike (Daniel Pauley), her handsome young lover, to decorate her arm.

Sean Roberts and Amie Bello as Vanya and Sonia (photo H.Smith)
Her brother, Vanya (Sean Roberts), and her sister, Sonia (Amie Bello), have stayed in the family home to care for their aging parents, who have since passed on. Theirs was a life of apologising to neighbours for the inappropriate antics of their unwell parents, changing adult diapers, and waiting for the blue heron to make its appearance at the pond. They are dissatisfied with their lives, and with each other. Masha's visit only serves to highlight to them that they have not lived their lives and they find themselves in middle age with nothing behind them, and no prospects for the future.

Sean Roberts, Cassel Miles, and Daniel Pauley
Cassandra, their prescient housekeeper, expertly played by Cassel Miles, brings premonitions about events that will come to pass, In true oracular style, she speaks riddles that contain advice for the siblings. Of course, they think she is crazy, but her warning “Beware of Hootie Pie” hits home.

Spike finds aspiring actress Nina (Hannah Smith) and invites her to meet his famous girlfriend and her family. Nina is a breath of fresh air and hope; young, optimistic, romantic, innocent. Masha is not impressed.

Can anything help this dysfunctional family dynamic? We must always hope.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike plays at the Baby Grand Thursday November 23-Saturday December 2. Due to strong language and partial nudity, it may be unsuitable for some patrons.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Fall Acting Classes, PLUS Musical Theatre (Dancing and Singing), and Technical Theatre!

It's that time again--FALL-- and a new term of acting training for Kingston children and youth.

We are always considering what is needed in the community for training young people to become confident contributors to theatre and we have developed three new courses to help round-out our offering to the next generation of artists and practitioners.

Young actors rehearsing.
Singing for Musical Theatre takes a group approach to vocal class and is intended for a chorus of girls and boys with unbroken voices. We take ages 9-16 (boys likely a younger top end). Our Music Director, Darrell Bryan, teaches correct, safe vocal technique to improve the voice and to keep it healthy for life. Terrific class for  young people to gain confidence through correct technique and practise. Pitch-matching is important to this course, as it is a group endeavour. We retain the option to excuse students who are not able to match tones ("I will play this note, and you sing it back to me.") and will offer an appropriate refund or the option to transfer to a different class.  *If you would like us to test for pitch-matching before you enrol, please email and we can set up a time to get together.

Dancing for Musical Theatre trains those who may not necessarily have a dance background, but find that they need something to help with musical theatre auditions and performances. This class will boost confidence and understanding of dance terminology, and give your young thespian practise in dancing.

Technical Theatre is an upper-year course, training youth in the non-performance aspects of theatrical productions. Students will learn basic to intermediate costuming, lighting, sound, set and props design and creation, including safe use of tools and equipment. They will have access to and training on sound and lighting boards, hand tools, sewing machines, and video and sound recording and editing equipment.  There is also a stage management aspect to the course, as we take the class through managing a production from the ground up. The course covers three terms, and is paid in three installments. Once completed, the students will have an intermediate knowledge of the practical aspects of costuming, lighting, sound, set and props design and of stage management techniques. They will have been exposed to theoretical aspects of design, they will be able to put their ideas on paper, and they will be given the opportunity to execute their designs. This course is for middle to high school students (grade 8-12).

All of our courses culminate in term performances (every ten weeks). Actors need audiences!

Classes start Saturday Sept 23. Our class performances are on Saturday Dec. 2 at the Grand Theatre in the Baby Grand.  Winter Term begins after the Winter Break.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

CASTING NOTICE POSTED - Non-Union, Paid, Full-TIme Seasonal

Bottle Tree Productions has partnered with the Saint Lawrence Parks Commission to provide theatrical programming pertaining to the cusp of the Confederation of Canada. We are thrilled to be able to provide full-time, seasonal employment for five actors between May and August this year, and we are accepting submissions until March 25.
Our casting notice is posted in full on our website, here. If you can rehearse as a Kingston Ontario local starting in mid-May, and are willing to travel with us to Morrisburg for site-specific, immersive theatre this may be the job for you.
In a nutshell, we are looking for two males who can play between 18-35 years old, one man and one woman who can play between 35-55 and one female to play between 18-25. You must be aged 18 or over to submit for these roles.
For more information, and how to submit, read the casting notice on our website. We look forward to your submission!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

No Small Parts: in Praise of Big Acting

It is challenging to cast a play. There are probably two larger roles (Romeo and Juliet), some supporting roles (Tybalt, Friar Laurence, Nurse), and some smaller roles and bit parts (Peter, Gregory, Sampson), and you are dealing with human beings who are hoping for a 'lead'. Sometimes, actors will equate their self-worth with the size of the roles that they are given. Sometimes, they will be upset that a director clearly did not see the talent that was before her, and they will be unhappy with  a 'bit part'.

 "There are no small parts - only small actors." Stanislavski knew that the roles were not small - but the acting in them sometimes caused the role to shrink. We like to pair his quote with this rule of thumb, "The smaller the role, the bigger you can be."

While we could not tolerate an entire play where Romeo was as exaggerated as Gregory or Sampson - played well, played BIG - those actors get noticed for the right reasons. They are fresh and different and they bring a different energy to the stage. They can be played as noteworthy.

Take a look at the young man in this video. He has a tiny teeny little role that he didn't even audition for. He has the same role as the other Celts fans, but they do not see their opportunity to play it big. He does.

People remember the performer who fully embraces his role.