Over­ture, cur­tains, lights... lo­cal celebs deal with frights

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Kevin Prokosh

MAN­I­TOBA cham­pion curler Jeff Stoughton will have to hurry hard to learn his lines in time for his ap­pear­ance next Wed­nes­day in the So You Think You Can Act fundraiser at the Gas Sta­tion The­atre.

Stoughton, fresh off win­ning his 10th pro­vin­cial curl­ing crown last week­end, is one of the celebri­ties test­ing out their act­ing chops in the sec­ond an­nual fun com­pe­ti­tion hosted by the lo­cal the­atre com­pany Sarasvàti Pro­duc­tions. The 2011 world cham­pion is used to the largest curl­ing stages but the the­atre has him sweat­ing like he was need­ing a raise dou­ble take-out in the 10th end of the Brier fi­nal.

“No doubt I’m go­ing to be ner­vous about it,” the 49-year-old Stoughton says. “I’m com­fort­able out on the ice, mak­ing last shots, but to be out in front of a the­atre crowd is dif­fer­ent. I will make sure I have the cor­rect shirt on so no one can see how badly I will be sweat­ing.”

The list of lo­cal celebri­ties also in­cludes Olympic bronze medal­win­ning soc­cer star De­siree Scott, big band leader Ron Pa­ley, co­me­dian Jon Ljung­berg, Jenna Khan from Break­fast Tele­vi­sion, CBC Ra­dio host Marcy Markusa and Kerri Salki from 102 Clear FM. The in­au­gu­ral So You Think You Can Act, won by ra­dio DJ Ace Burpee, raised al­most $5,000, and Sarasvàti artis­tic di­rec­tor Hope McIn­tyre has a goal of even more money to un­der­write the com­pany’s May pre­miere of Jail Baby, a drama about in­car­cer­ated women.

Last year’s par­tic­i­pants learned that Sarasvàti Pro­duc­tions 7 p.m. Wed­nes­day, Gas Sta­tion The­atre

Tick­ets: $25 at 204-586-2236 act­ing isn’t as easy as it looks, says McIn­tyre. “Sev­eral of them said how dif­fi­cult it was, the multi-task­ing that act­ing takes,” says McIn­tyre, who co-wrote Jail Baby with Cairn Moore. “Some of them strug­gled with be­ing in the moment, learn­ing lines and fo­cus­ing on their scene part­ner.”

This year’s theme is fam­ily ties, a sub­ject that of­fers great the­atri­cal scenes, many penned by Win­nipeg­gers. Pa­ley will do a bit from Rick Chafe’s The Se­cret Mask while Ljung­berg will play an Elvis im­per­son­ator in Sharon Ba­jer’s Burnin’ Love.

While Stoughton was re­cently pre­oc­cu­pied with skip­ping his four­some to the pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onship, he kind of for­got about So You Think You Can Act. He even had to check that he will be por­tray­ing Danny in a scene from The Nor­bals, a fam­ily drama by former Win­nipeg­ger Brian Drader.

“I don’t think I’ll have time to mem­o­rize all my lines,” he says. “I think I will have some cheat sheets hang­ing some­where.”

Stoughton is not a com­plete novice as an ac­tor; he ap­peared in the 2002 Cana­dian curl­ing movie Men With Brooms, in which he pulled off a spinarama shot in one take.

“It wasn’t a speak­ing role, I was spin­ning but not speak­ing,” says Stoughton, who tried, but failed to keep the rest of his four­some from dis­cov­er­ing that he would be try­ing to act in pub­lic. “This time you can ex­pect that I will for­get my lines and em­bar­rass my­self, which is fine.”

Scott, the former Univer­sity of Man­i­toba soc­cer star, was keen to be a part of So You Think You Can Act. The stage was a main fo­cus for her while at­tend­ing West Kil­do­nan Col­le­giate.

“Back in my high school days it was about the drama classes and the plays, so this is right up my al­ley,” says the 25-year-old mid­fielder. “I wanted to get in­volved.”

She was cast in lead roles in many stu­dent pro­duc­tions, in­clud­ing An­nie, and this time will ap­pear in Norm Fos­ter’s Mag­gie’s Get­ting Mar­ried, in which she plays the bride-to-be’s older sis­ter who dis­cov­ers she has been in­ti­mately ac­quainted with the prospec­tive groom. Be­ing in the spot­light by her­self is not some­thing Scott is used to any more.

“Soc­cer is a team sport, so there is more pres­sure on you in­di­vid­u­ally in the­atre,” says Scott, who is fin­ish­ing up her de­gree at U of M. “That’s why I love team sports. You have 10 other peo­ple be­hind you to pick up the slack.”

She will ad­mit to be­ing ner­vous about her stage per­for­mance Wed­nes­day, but she’s not con­cerned about the crowd; the Gas Sta­tion The­atre has only 232 seats.

“The largest au­di­ence was 28,000 for the Canada-Great Bri­tain game at the Olympics,” she says. “It will be a lit­tle smaller at the Gas Sta­tion. I should be able to han­dle it.”

REUTERS AR­CHIVES (ABOVE), BRUCE BUM­STEAD / BRAN­DON SUN AR­CHIVES (RIGHT)

Scott (right) bat­tles against South Africa dur­ing the Olympics last sum­mer in Lon­don. At right, rock star Stoughton takes aim.

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