So the Betty Mitchell Awards nominations were announced this past Tuesday.
They are like the Oscars for the theatre industry in Calgary.
The Betty Mitchell Awards Nomination Commitee is an anonymous jury of twelve theatre professionals who select nominees in sixteen award categories from the eligible shows. The input is then tabulated and a list of nominees is then produced. The final ballots are then distributed to the same twelve member Nomination Committee and to anyone who has seen twenty five of the eligible productions.
There were 56 eligible productions this theatre season, and to get a vote you had to have seen 25.
I saw 29. So I filled out the passport to get a vote.
My ballot is in the mail (which hopefully means I’ll actually get it) and I can vote in any of the categories in which I’ve seen 3 or more plays.
Here are my thoughts and analysis on the nominations that I can vote for:
Outstanding Set Design
▪ Terry Gunvordahl – Girl In The Goldfish Bowl – Sage Theatre
▪ Terry Gunvordahl – Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde – Vertigo Theatre
▪ Terry Gunvordahl – The Penelopiad – Alberta Theatre Projects
▪ Pam Johnson – Much Ado About Nothing – Theatre Calgary
▪ Deitra Kalyn – Reasons To Be Pretty – Ground Zero Theatre & Hit & Myth Productions
(I didn’t see Vertigo and Sage Theatre’s entries)
This category is hard to vote on. The Penelopiad’s set design was pretty simple allowing the audience to focus on the many ladies on stage. I remember the nooses hanging from the ceiling, then falling to the stage on cue. Much Ado’s set design was complex by comparison, complete with fake trees and water well. The entire set rotated to reveal different scenes. Reasons To Be Pretty was also simple design. One long stage, that had a bed in the one corner and didn’t change throughout the entire play. The set was a bedroom, a food court, a lunchroom and a baseball field. That play was hinged on the actor’s ability to convey what the audience couldn’t see.
R. tells me to vote on what set served best to tell the story. I keep going back and forth, but I’m going to go with the Penelopiad. The set just suited the theme of the play, 10 women playing everyone and a simple set that helped to convey the mood.
Outstanding Sound Design Or Composition
▪ Andrew Blizzard – Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde – Vertigo Theatre
▪ Anna Friz – 300 Tapes – Public Recordings with Alberta Theatre Projects & The Theatre Centre
▪ Allison Lynch – The Penelopiad – Alberta Theatre Projects
▪ Richard McDowell – Smash Cut Freeze – One Yellow Rabbit
▪ Matthew Waddell – ONE – Ghost River Theatre
I didn’t see Vertigo’s Play.
So I did a major preview piece for 300 tapes so I know that work inside out. They composed the pieces from scratch on the Penelopiad. There were some crazy interesting things going on in Smash Cut Freeze and One. There was a demon in One who had sound work performed so that her voice was distorted. All of these entries are great and this category is full of talented people.
I’m going to have to go with Ghost River’s One.
Outstanding Performance By An Actor In a Supporting Role
▪ Duval Lang – Goodness – Downstage Theatre & Hit & Myth Productions
▪ Grant Linneberg – Nisei Blue – Alberta Theatre Projects
▪ Graham Percy – One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest – Theatre Calgary/Manitoba Theatre Centre
▪ Kevin Rothery – Girl In The Goldfish Bowl – Sage Theatre
▪ Trevor Rueger – One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest – Theatre Calgary/Manitoba Theatre Centre
(Again, I didn’t see Girl In The Goldfish Bowl. I didn’t even HEAR about it. It must have been good though)
So I had to look up who Graham Percy and Trevor Rueger played in Cuckoo’s nest. Turns out Graham played Dale, and Trevor played Billy. Theatre Calgary’s Cuckoo’s Nest was well done. I would venture to say one of the best in their season. I didn’t actually review it because I saw it on a comp ticket. But both those actors did amazing jobs. I’m a Duval Lang groupie. I went to see ATP’s the Erotic Anguish of Don Juan just to see what what he would do with it. I saw him for the first time in Goodness and his performance was poignant and intense.My review for Grant Linneberg can be found here. He put forward a strong performance, maybe even better than Duval Lang in Nisei Blue. This is a hard decision, because all of these are really great performances. Though Lang was outstanding in Goodness, I think Trevor Ruger’s portrayal of Billy outshines the rest by the slightest bit.
Outstanding Costume Design
▪ Bretta Gerecke – Nevermore – One Yellow Rabbit/Vertigo Theatre/Catalyst Theatre
▪ Raven Hehr – Kung Fu Panties – Ground Zero Theatre & Hit & Myth Productions
▪ Deitra Kalyn – The 39 Steps – Vertigo Theatre
▪ Deitra Kalyn – Mom’s The Word: For Crying Out Loud! – Theatre Calgary
▪ Deitra Kalyn – The Penelopiad – Alberta Theatre Projects
I haven’t seen The 39 Steps or Mom’s The Word
I didn’t post a review for Nevermore though I saw it, and my Kung Fu Panties review was pretty short. As far as costuming goes, I have to go with Nevermore on this one. It set the mood for the gothic Edgar Allen Poe tale.
Outstanding Choreography Or Fight Direction
▪ Denise Clarke – The Penelopiad – Alberta Theatre Projects
▪ Tracy Flye – The Drowsy Chaperone – Theatre Calgary/Manitoba Theatre Centre
▪ Laura Krewski – Nevermore – One Yellow Rabbit/Vertigo Theatre/Catalyst Theatre
▪ Karl Sine & Nathan Schmidt – Macbeth – The Shakespeare Company
▪ Adrian Young – Kung Fu Panties – Ground Zero Theatre & Hit & Myth Productions
I didn’t see Drowsy or Macbeth.
I would have to say that the Penelopiad made great use of outstanding choreography. Women played men, and this was illustrated purely by their movements. You could saw men get killed by bow an arrow on that stage and that was all choreography. Though Kung Fu Panties had some great fight direction, it wasn’t as convincing as the Penelopiad.
Outstanding New Play
▪ Denise Clarke – Smash Cut Freeze – One Yellow Rabbit
▪ Darrin Hagen – With Bells On – Lunchbox Theatre
▪ Rebecca Northan – Kung Fu Panties – Ground Zero Theatre & Hit & Myth Productions
▪ Cathy Ostlere & Dennis Garnhum – Lost–A Memoir – Theatre Calgary
▪ Mieko Ouchi – Nisei Blue – Alberta Theatre Projects
I didn’t see With Bells On
This is such an interesting category. My review for Smash Cut Freeze is here. It was a great little play. Full of irony and great images in black and white. Kung Fu Panties was a lot of fun and was well written, but I didn’t think it was the best in the category. Nisei Blue was interesting but still needed some work. Lost, also needs some work but was the most compelling out of all of them, so I would go with that.
▪ Mark Bellamy – The 39 Steps – Vertigo Theatre
▪ Ryan Luhning – Reasons To Pretty – Ground Zero Theatre & Hit & Myth Productions
▪ Kate Newby – 12 Angry Men – Vertigo Theatre
▪ Vanessa Porteous – The Penelopiad – Alberta Theatre Projects
▪ Eric Rose – ONE – Ghost River Theatre
I didn’t see the 39 Steps
Okay. So this one is difficult. My Reasons To Be Pretty review can be found here. And my review of One can be found here. Let’s start with 12 Angry Men. It’s a great story and Vertigo did a good job with it. I was right there in the trial. The Penelopiad was such a different piece, and Porteous did a remarkable job with the script. Then there is Reasons To Be Pretty. It is the only play that one of my twitter followers went to see based solely on my 140 character recommendation. I loved that play. The acting, the set, the story. It was lovely. But One was so visceral. I took my roomates to see it and they thought it was the best play they’ve ever seen. It was so magical and gut wrenching. And the direction along with all the other elements is what makes the play and to a certain extent you can’t compare the two. Arg. After much debate… I’m stuck. I can’t decide. I can’t decide between the two. And I don’t know anyone who saw both. Hmmm. Decision at the end of the post.
Outstanding Performance By An Actress In A Drama
▪ Vanessa Holmes – The Blue Room – Sage Theatre
▪ Karen Johnson-Diamond – And So It Goes – Downstage
▪ Jamie Konchak – Macbeth – The Shakespeare Company
▪ Jamie Konchak – Reasons To Be Pretty – Ground Zero Theatre & Hit & Myth Productions
▪ Esther Purves Smith – Girl In The Goldfish Bowl – Sage Theatre
I can’t vote on this one, I haven’t seen enough.
But Konchak is the only actress to make me cry. Just sayin.
Outstanding Performance By An Actor In A Drama
▪ Haysam Kadri – Macbeth – The Shakespeare Company
▪ Robert Klein – 12 Angry Men – Vertigo Theatre
▪ Trevor Leigh – Richard III – The Shakespeare Company
▪ Patrick MacEachern – Reasons To Be Pretty – Ground Zero Theatre & Hit & Myth Productions
▪ Shaun Smyth – One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest – Theatre Calgary/Manitoba Theatre Centre
I didn’t see anything by the Shakespeare company this year.
I saw 12 Angry Men and I looked up who Robert Klein played: Juror #3. That’s helpful.
The summary says he was the aggressive one who bases the case on his relationship with his son. Nothing is really springing to mind. I’m sure Klein did a good job, but it wasn’t forefront in my brain. It doesn’t help that 12 Angry Men was back in September. Shaun Smyth was McMurphy. He did a outstanding job. Standing ovation performance. But Patrick MaEachern (along with Konchak) made me cry. His performance was subtle and versatile. He has my vote.
Outstanding Production Of A Play
▪ 12 Angry Men – Vertigo Theatre
▪ The 39 Steps – Vertigo Theatre
▪ ONE – Ghost River Theatre
▪ The Penelopiad – Alberta Theatre Projects
▪ Reasons To Be Pretty – Ground Zero Theatre & Hit & Myth Productions
Uh oh. Okay so we’re down to Reasons To Be Pretty and One. Again.
So, since I have to decide, this one goes to Ghost River’s One.
Best Direction goes to Reasons To Be Pretty.
We’ll see who actually wins. The awards ceremony is in August.
Next season, I’m the official reviewer for Alberta Theatre Projects, Downstage and Ground Zero at getdown.ca
Anything else I see might be posted here. Looking forward to another season!