Find us on Facebookfb

SA_reheasrsal-4826smToday, we thought you might enjoy reading some background notes on our current production, Swallows and Amazons, written by Angelika Dawson. The last four performances of this Canadian premier run March 21 - 23, 2013 at 7:30 PM with a discount matinee on March 23 @ 2:00 PM. Hope to see you there!

 

"If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in." ~Rachel Carson.

 

Swallows and Amazons is based on the novel of the same name by Arthur Ransome – the first book in a series. In the spring of 1929, Ransome submitted a synopsis and 50 pages of the story Swallows and Amazons to the publishers Jonathan Cape, who gave a favourable response. When it was published in 1930, it received enthusiastic reviews. Later that year, Swallows and Amazons was published in America. From that time, Ransome gave up his work as a journalist with the Manchester Guardian and dedicated himself to writing adventure stories for children.

 

Ransome's love for the lake developed as a child. The Ransome family frequently took their holidays at Coniston Water, in the English Lake District, where Ransome developed a fascination for the area and its inhabitants. It became a private rite for him on arrival to run down to the water and dip his hand in as a greeting. Ransome did not enjoy school but read voraciously and nurtured a desire to be a writer.

 

Swallows and Amazons was inspired by a summer of teaching sailing to the children of his friends, the Altounyans. Ransome and Ernest Altounyan bought two small dinghies called Swallow and Mavis. Ransome kept Swallow for a number of years before selling it but Mavis remained in the Altounyan family until it was donated to the Ruskin Museum where it is permanently on display.

 

Ransome's next book, Swallowdale, published in October 1931, was a sequel to Swallows and Amazons and featured the same characters: the sisters Nancy and Peggy Blackett, born and bred in the Lake District, and the visiting Walker children, John, Susan, Titty and Roger. These characters reappeared in most of the subsequent books.

 

Ransome died in Manchester on June 3, 1967 at age 83.

 

Swallows and Amazons has been adapted for television and radio and in 2007 the Royal National Theatre began developing a musical version for the stage. Neil Hannon, who is best known for recording and performing with the Divine Comedy, wrote the songs for the script which was adapted by award-winning playwright Helen Edmundson.

 

Our production is the first to be presented in Canada.

kaile_khonje-4504smIt's been a few days since last we introduced you to one of our cast or crew members of Swallows and Amazons, and so we continue today with a conversation with Kaile Khonje, who is playing a few human, and not-so-human characters in Swallows and Amazons. Grab a refreshment, pull up a chair and enjoy as Kaile shares about, among several things, her theatre background and how she believes our imaginations as children help shape who we are as adults...

 

Gallery 7 Theatre (G7): Tell us about your acting background – how did you get involved in theatre in the first place? What makes you continue with it?

 

Kaile Khonje (KK): My love of acting was ignited as a child when I was involved in my church's musical Bull Frogs and Butterflies. It continued in high school as I acted in numerous productions. My most memorable role was playing Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker. I received my B.Ed degree at T.W.U. & S.F.U. and began teaching high school in the Vancouver district. For the past five years I have been Teacher/Director for Windermere's Drama Program in East Vancouver. Past productions include: Rebel Without a Cause, The Princess Bride, Flight 164, Tales of Arabian Nights and The Butler Did It. I'm looking forward to being back on the stage, telling Arthur Ransome's stories of adventure.

 

G7: What drew you to this play?

 

KK: My love of adventure drew me to this play. Who doesn't love a story about pirates, treasure and cormorants?

 

G7: When you think back to your own childhood, do you remember imagination-play? What form did that take for you?

 

KK: In my backyard, my imagination came alive, especially in our wooden fort. You had to climb a steep latter to reach the top and you could also walk onto the slanted roof. Here we had an amazing view of the forest, which served as a look-out for attacking enemies. Magically, this fort also morphed into a deluxe bakery that featured freshly made chocolate mud pies. Yes, I still take orders.

 

G7: How do you think our imaginations as children shape us as adults?

 

KK: Imagination is the caramel in my latte. In childhood, it creates a way to understand the world and strengthens our ability to solve problems and face difficulties. At any age, it infuses left-brain logic with vivid colours, spicing up the mundane and creating memorable moments. As Collin Wilson says, imagination should be used, not to escape reality, but to create it.

 

G7: Is it important to you to be involved with a faith-based theatre? If so, why?

 

KK: Portraying truth on the stage is important to me. Does the script reflect some aspect of our human experience? A wise man once said that Christian artists are given the job of awakening our jaded senses. For me, being a part of a faith-based cast and crew is valuable as we are working towards a common goal. To reach this goal, the "me first" obstacle in our self-obsessed culture needs to be reckoned with.

 

G7: What do you hope audiences will take away from this play?

 

KK: Great theatre is like a wave. It captures you in the momentum of the current and takes you on an intriguing journey. I hope the audience will leave feeling like they have a renewed sense of freedom and that they are encouraged to reminisce about forgotten memories of childhood.

 

G7: Anything else you want to share?

 

KK: In our North American media-driven culture, it is a challenge to find ways to incorporate imaginative ideas into everyday life. Sadly, my life-experience has taught me that too often a talking box often steals our attention and tells us what to think. I need to ask the question: where are the brave moms and dads who will recapture the imagination of their children and pursue actual, instead of virtual adventures?

 

G7: What's your favourite way to relax?

 

KK: H20 relaxes me. I love being in a body of water whether a tropical ocean, a lake, or a meandering river. Whether frolicking about or with a boogie board in hand, water revives me.

 

SA_-_pub-4661_sm

G7: If you were on death row, what would you request as your last meal?

 

KK: My last meal would consist of cedar-planked salmon with wild rice and lemon-tipped asparagus. For my first dessert, since we're not counting calories, I would have a chocolate mud pie with raspberry coolie. My second dessert would be a lemon meringue pie, topped with a card that said "get out of jail free."

 

G7: What's the best 5 bucks you ever spent?

 

KK: Hands down, the best 5 bucks I've ever spent was introducing my friend to durian gelato on Venables Street in Vancouver. I don't mean to offend any durian-lovers, but when I tried some in Thailand it tasted like a combination of onions, garlic and stinky feet.

 

G7: If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or living, who would it be and what's the first question you'd ask him/her?

 

KK: It would be Daffy Duck and I would ask him once he reached heaven if he was free of his speech impediment.

 

G7: Best advice your mom or dad ever gave you?

 

KK: My mom always told me to ASK—the worst they can say is no.

Not only is Gallery 7 Theatre the first theatre of its kind to produce Swallows and Amazons in Canada, this is also the first show we'll be using live foley as a central part of the sound design. By definition, foley is the process by which everday sound effects are reproduced to enhance the sound experience of a film (according to Wikipedia). Foley artists will use a variety objects and substances, often unrelated, to create a sound effect that to us sounds real and natural. Check out this video to see how Foley is used in film.

 

Because Swallows and Amazons is a celebration of creativity and imagination, we've included the use of foley in our production to help underscore these fun ideas. The end result should be a super-fun and super-unique theatre experience. Today, our sound designer, Charlene Crawford, shares a little about the process by which she came up with the sound effects you will hear played live during the show, plus some of her thoughts on the importance of "play". Enjoy!

 

charlene_crawford_-_smGallery 7 (G7): Tell us about your theatre background – have you always done design work or have you been involved in other theatre elements like acting or directing?

 

Charlene Crawford (CC) As Resident Stage Manager at Gallery ,7 it's rare that I get to take a step back and do other things in the theatre. With a Bachelor of Arts in Drama from TWU I have performed, directed, and done sound design for various shows over the years.

 

G7: How did you get involved with Gallery 7? Is it important to you to be involved with a faith-based theatre?

 

CC: Someone invited me to an audition .... I got cast .... four years later and they can't get rid of me. As far as being involved in a faith-based theatre, this is unimportant to me in the end. What is important is the story and truth that it tells. The one advantage to a faith based theatre, and being someone of faith, means there is a different kind of support and understanding that goes beyond the physical and the mental.

 

G7: Tell us about your thought process as you prepare your design element (sound, light, set, costume). What are you hoping to achieve with your design?

 

CC: With this show, as the sound effects are being performed live on stage, the greatest challenge and most exciting part of designing was exploring what sound actually means/does for a show. Also, as the "literal" representation of some of the sounds were off the table it allowed me to explore how sounds "feel" or what kinds of instruments/objects invoke the idea of sound or the presence of the sound. It's all very abstract but in the end it's like being a child discovering a pot and a lid and figuring out that if you hit them together you get a bang, but if you hit different things with them you get a different sound.

 

G7: What were some of the challenges you faced in the design process?

 

CC: The main challenge was not to get hung up on the literal representation of sound. But overall the experience was so much fun. You can even ask my husband who while playing with my objects accidentally created one of the sounds you hear during the show.

SA_-_pub-4708_sm

 

G7: Are there any interesting facts about your designs that the audience should know about?

 

CC: One of the sounds you hear on stage is actually a chime tuned to sound like the Bells of Westminster Abbey - courtesy of my Aunt Stephanie.

 

G7: When you think back to your own childhood, do you remember imagination-play? What form did that take for you? (did you have imaginary friends? Did you imagine yourself in certain situations?)

 

CC: Um... did that ever stop? I'm going to take a chance here and say that for me, imaginary friends and imagining situations is still an active part of my day to day life. I enjoy writing short scenes, and playing "pretend" before putting pen to paper. As a child, I would force my siblings, cousins, parents, fellow classmates and sometimes even my teachers to participate in short puppet plays, musical numbers stories that I would make up. Yep, I was, and am, still one of those.

 

G7: How do you think our imaginations as children shape us as adults? When is it appropriate for us to be child-like?

 

CC: I know any good psychologist will tell you that most children use play as a way to understand the world around them. I know for me, my imagination is very active and that my imagination has driven my need for knowledge and learning. It has driven my desire to understand the world, and people, better. Overall our imagination is where our dreams for our futures start. Without imagination I believe our lives would lose purpose.

 

As far as being childlike - I think when you are discovering something new or learning something new it is always appropriate to be three again and ask "why?" a million times until you understand everything there is to know about the new thing.

 

G7: What do you hope the audience will take away from this play?

 

CC: I hope the audience will take away a sense of play and a feeling of nostalgia. And for our younger audience members, I hope they take away the idea that adventure is just around the corner, and that even and ordinary toilet paper roll can become a spyglass into a new world.

 

 


Swallows_and_AmazonsGallery 7 Theatre's production of Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons, adapted by Helen Edmundson with music by Neil Hannon, runs March 8 & 9, 14 - 16, 21 - 23 @ 7:30 PM with discount matinees on March 9, 16 & 23 at 2:00 PM at the MEI Auditorium, 4081 Clearbrook Road, Abbotsford. Tickets can be purchased by phone or in person at

bethany_caldwell-4523smOn this, the opening day of the Canadian community premier of Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons, we thought it only fitting to introduce you to a performer who is also making a debut on our stage this evening: Bethany Caldwell. Bethany, who's playing Susan Walker, has been performing since she was a little girl, but this is her first time performing with us. Enjoy this little chat with Bethany as she shares a bit about who she is, her theatre background, what she hopes you'll take away from the show, and the person she would most like to have a conversation with...

 

Gallery 7 Theatre (G7) Tell us about your acting background – how did you get involved in theatre in the first place? What makes you continue with it?

 

Bethany Caldwell (BC): I've been involved in theatre since I was really little. It started with those embarrassing church plays, where all the little kids dressed up like sheep or shepherds and ran around the stage, and I guess it just stuck since then. To be honest I come from a big family, so I was always a bit of an attention hog. I loved being in the spotlight and making people laugh. To this day, I love entertaining people. Also, I just love the opportunity I get to become someone else for a little while and to explore life through new perspectives, in someone else's shoes.

 

G7: What drew you to this play?

 

BC: When I heard what the 2012/13 season shows were, I, like any normal theatre geek would, Googled all of them to find out which ones I liked. This one caught my eye right away. First of all, it's a musical, and I love musicals. Second of all, the creativity, and imagination involved, is just amazing. And third, I knew Ken was directing it, and I really like making fun of him, so I just couldn't pass it up!

 

G7: When you think back to your own childhood, do you remember imagination-play? What form did that take for you? Did you have imaginary friends? Did you imagine yourself in certain situations?

 

BC: Mostly what I remember is making forts with my siblings and trying to take over everyone else's. I know I did have an imaginary friend for a little while. Her name was Edna. I used to draw a big face on a balloon and I would pretend that was her, but then my brothers would always pop the balloon. Thus, the death of poor Edna.

 

G7: How do you think our imaginations as children shape us as adults? When is it appropriate for us to be child-like?

 

BC: I think that as children, if we are open to dream and use our imaginations, then as we grow, we keep some of that creativity with us and we continue to have the ability to be open-minded to new ideas throughout our lives.

 

G7: Is it important to you to be involved with a faith-based theatre? If so, why?

 

BC: For me, it isn't a necessity, but it is a HUGE blessing. I wouldn't turn down an opportunity with a company because it is not faith-based, however, I am a Christian, and my faith is a very important part of my life, so it is a blessing to work with a company who shares those same values.SA_-_pub-4710_sm

 

G7: What do you hope audiences will take away from this play?

 

BC: To dream big, and not to shut down their dreams and imaginations, just because they're "grown-up". Grown-ups can have dreams too!

 

G7: Anything else you want to share?

 

BC: This show has been a learning experience for me for sure. I'm singing alto instead of soprano, my character is reserved and motherly instead of loud and crazy, I'm learning all about sailboats and pirate talk, etc. but I'm loving every minute of it! I get to work with an awesome group of extremely talented people and I am being pushed to learn new things every day.

 

G7: What's your favourite way to relax?

 

BC: Easy question. Day at the spa. Wild Orange to be specific.

 

G7: If you were on death row, what would you request as your last meal?

 

BC: That's a hard one because A) I love food, and B) my parents are really good cooks, but I'm gonna have to say my mom's roast beef dinner.

 

G7: What's the best 5 bucks you ever spent?

 

BC: Well, I am Mennonite by cheapness, so I've bought a lot of good things for pretty cheap. However, the most recent would be these 2 pairs of sandals I bought for my sister. They were both $2, so I couldn't pass them up.

 

G7: If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or living, who would it be and what's the first question you'd ask him/her?

 

BC: Hmm, there are way too many to choose from, but for now I'll go with Adele. And my question would be "will you sing a duet with me?"

 

G7: Best advice your mom or dad ever gave you?

 

BC: "To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." --Micah 6:8

 

 


Swallows_and_AmazonsGallery 7 Theatre's production of Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons, adapted by Helen Edmundson with music by Neil Hannon, runs March 8 & 9, 14 - 16, 21 - 23 @ 7:30 PM with discount matinees on March 9, 16 & 23 at 2:00 PM at the MEI Auditorium, 4081 Clearbrook Road, Abbotsford. Tickets can be purchased by phone or in person at House of James, 2743 Emerson Street, Abbotsford or 604-852-3701. Tickets can also be purchased online here.

glen_pinchin_-4527smYou will no doubt remember Glen Pinchin's moving portrayal of Morrie Schwartz in our production of Tuesdays with Morrie two years ago. He's back on our stage, this time playing a very different role as Captain Flint in our upcoming production of Swallows and Amazons. He took a few minutes to share some thoughts on how he got involved in theatre, how he "imagined" as a child, why he decided to do this show, and his favourite way to relax...enjoy!

 

Gallery 7 (G7): Tell us about your acting background – how did you get involved in theatre in the first place? What makes you continue with it?

 

Glen Pinchin (GP): My first theatre involvement was in the traditional "high school musical" in Winnipeg, more years ago than I care to mention. I loved theatre right from the start but career, family and other activities took priority and my acting went on the back burner. After retiring from the RCMP I started to get involved in theatre again, first through church productions, then as a full-time theatre student at UFV. I hope to continue acting as long as I am able. I love the whole process of bringing a story to the stage and to an audience. For an actor, it stimulates the mind and soul and many wonderful friendships are forged along the way. Most gratifying though, is hearing that someone who watched what you (and others) did and was in some way moved or touched or made to laugh.

 

G7: What drew you to this play?

 

GP: It sounded like fun...and it is!! Playing a "curmudgeonly old so-and-so" isn't new to me...but I hope it isn't type casting.

 

G7: When you think back to your own childhood, do you remember imagination-play? What form did that take for you? Did you have imaginary friends? Did you imagine yourself in certain situations?

 

GP: We used to play some "games" that might not be politically correct nowadays but they were sure fun. Nothing bad...things like "army" and, yes, cowboys and indians. Kids playing with toy guns wasn't a bad thing then...it was a different world I guess. I can relate to the words of the song from this play that talk about every stream being a river, every tree a forest, etc. Play seemed real and my neighbourhood became a world unto itself.

 

G7: How do you think our imaginations as children shape us as adults? When is it appropriate for us to be child-like?

 

GP: It seems to me that when I played as a child there was often an element of good and evil...the good guys and the bad guys...cops and robbers. But there was also a sense of fair play. Even if we "shot" each other, we never tried to hurt each other. Hopefully, I've carried that sense of fair play and concern over into my adult life. I love what Morrie Schwartz said..."Inside I'm every age I've ever been. I can be a child when it's appropriate to be a child. And I can be a wise old man when it's appropriate to be a wise old man." When is it appropriate? I'm not sure exactly. I guess the situation determines that...but there are still times when being child-like is good...and fun.

 

G7: Is it important to you to be involved with a faith-based theatre? If so, why?

 

GP: Yes. There is a lot of garbage available to us...mainly on TV in my view, but no doubt in theatre and movies too. I like the idea that good, thought provoking, funny, challenging stories can be told in a way that brings honour to God and strengthens my faith...and hopefully the faith of others as well.

 

G7: What do you hope audiences will take away from this play?

 

GP: I hope that children just have fun. Maybe some will even get the idea to put their electronic devices aside for a while and make an adventure of their own. For adults, I hope this play reminds them of good times in their own childhoods and lets them also see that there is still a child inside there somewhere.

 

G7: Anything else you want to share?SA_-_pub-4689_sm

 

GP: Share???? Share???? Now you want me to share???? Not my chocolate bar I hope!! Oh, that's right...it's good to share isn't it.

 

G7: What's your favourite way to relax?

 

GP: Spending time with family and friends is right up there. Marla (my wife) and I love to camp and fish. I also enjoy a good movie, listening to music, watching old fogies TV...Antiques Roadshow, Downton Abbey, etc.

 

G7: If you were on death row, what would you request as your last meal?

 

GP: 16 oz. T-bone steak, medium rare, mushrooms, baked potato (with butter...no sour cream...trying to cut back), Caesar salad, cream corn, rhubarb pie with vanilla ice cream for dessert, and a really good Malbec.

 

G7: What's the best 5 bucks you ever spent?

 

GP: I don't know about 5 bucks but the best suit I've ever owned I got from MCC for $12. I also picked up a beautiful pair of brown oxfords from MCC for $3. Both were costume pieces for plays I was in...and I liked them so much I kept them and wear them now.

 

G7: If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or living, who would it be and what's the first question you'd ask him/her?

 

GP: Probably Winston Churchill. Probably the first question I'd ask him is how he was feeling.

 

G7: Best advice your mom or dad ever gave you?

 

GP: Waste not, want not. My mom said that a lot.

 

 


 

Swallows_and_AmazonsGallery 7 Theatre's production of Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons, adapted by Helen Edmundson with music by Neil Hannon, runs March 8 & 9, 14 - 16, 21 - 23 @ 7:30 PM with discount matinees on March 9, 16 & 23 at 2:00 PM at the MEI Auditorium, 4081 Clearbrook Road, Abbotsford. Tickets can be purchased by phone or in person at House of James, 2743 Emerson Street, Abbotsford or 604-852-3701. Tickets can also be purchased online here.