Townships actors on ‘The Fringe’
Theincreasingly popular and world-renowned St. Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival is in full swing. There are undoubtedly Townshippers who will be heading down the autoroute to the big city to catch some of the thought-provoking or zany
(or both) performances in this year’s Fringe and, this year, we also know of two Townshippers who will be performing in the annual festival.
Two recent graduates of the John Abbott College drama program, Michael Nangreaves and Cedrick Roy, will be performing in the play The Tin Can People by Edward Bond, presented by the John Abbott College Department of Professional Theatre and Diana Productions.
The play, about a group of young men and women living in a commune seventeen years after a nuclear holocaust, has been described as “physical and darkly comic theatre that confronts the most pressing issues of our age…truly harrowing theatre.” After appearing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year, getting very good reviews, the College’s production of the play will be performed at the Montreal Fringe Festival from June 16th to the 24th.
Cedrick Roy grew up on his family’s farm in Hatley, attending Ecole St. Luc, in Barnston, and then Mitchell Montcalm high school. “I got the interest in acting when I was about eight. I wanted to get closer to the Arts in high school but I was too shy for acting so I took Fine Arts. Then when I went to College I decided to give it a try,” explained Cedrick in fluent English, something he picked up in College.
Cedrick is playing the part of the “Third man” in
The Tin Can People. “He is a blind man, a survivor of the bomb. He’s a bit like the family pet that everyone takes care of,” explained Cedrick in a phone interview between intensive rehearsals. “I went to Edinburgh last summer to act in the play. That was pretty amazing on its own but now to be performing at the Fringe Festival in Montreal, it’s even better. Here it gives you the visibility and you encounter people in the industry. It’s a very small community.”
“I learnt stage acting at John Abbott but I’ll be looking for new challenges in the future like in television and film which is very different from stage acting. Quebec has a very big film industry. I’ve also started a three year course in classi-
cal dance. I did sports all my life but dance is a way to bring art and physical activity together; that resonates with me,” commented Mr. Roy. This Townships actor will also be performing the role of Lennox in the Montreal Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Macbeth this summer.
Michael Nangreaves, who grew up in Lennoxville, was also between rehearsals when I spoke with him. “I went to Lennoxville Elementary, then Galt, then I did one semester at Champlain. I didn’t do any acting at LES or at Galt, but in the Champlain Creative Arts Program I did a few plays and really liked it,” he explained.
But what really sent Michael off to pursue acting on a serious level was his involvement in a Townshippers’ Association program that took place in Stanstead in 2009: “Theatre Townships”. That program was designed to develop life and employment skills in young people through the disciplines of theatre production. The small group of young adults wrote and performed plays in a few schools, including at Sunnyside Elementary where they were based. “The directors of that program, Christopher Freeman and Mary Harvey really encouraged me to apply at John Abbott and they helped me with my audition pieces to get into the school. I’m very grateful for that program,” commented Mr. Nangreaves.
Michael will be a member of the five person Chorus in the play. The members of the Chorus play an integral part, on stage throughout the performance, going back and forth between narrating or commenting on the action and becoming human topography. “Human topography is like a human sculpture. Sometimes we become part of the terrain like a big rock. It’s very physical.”
Asked what it meant to be in the Montreal Fringe Festival, Michael answered: “It’s really exciting. People who take part in it really love theatre and want to bring it into the community. It’s cool to be part of that community – it’s a privilege.”
The Tin Can People will be playing during the festival at Theatre La Chapelle from June 16th to the 24th. Ticket prices, which are extremely low, and the performance schedule can be found on the Fringe Festival’s website.
Michael Nangreaves, left, and Cedrick Roy.
The cast of The Tin Can People, with Cedrick Roy at the far left, are rehearsing intensively for their eight day run of performances at the Montreal Fringe Festival.