Town­ships ac­tors on ‘The Fringe’

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Len­noxville

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.

pho­tos cour­tesy

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.

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