The Suburban’s Bernard Mendelman previews The Halloween Tree: “members of the audience are encouraged to wear costumes. It should be a hoot — even if you don’t show up dressed as an owl.”
Read on The Suburban’s website: Geordie Productions celebrates Halloween with macabre stage play
Bernard Mendelman – October 19, 2016
Prepare to get spooked out even before Halloween arrives by attending Geordie Productions’ staging of The Halloween Tree that opens on Friday, Oct. 21. The play was written by Ray Bradbury, who died in 2012 at the age of 91. A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and close to 50 books as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays and screenplays, Bradbury was one of the most acclaimed writers of our time.
He adapted 65 of his stories for television’s Ray Bradbury Theatre that ran from 1986 until 1992. Prior to becoming a stage play, The Halloween Tree was created as a novel in 1972. Bradbury also wrote and narrated a feature-length animated version of the novel for television in 1992 for which he won an Emmy Award. His provocative fantasy and science fiction stories always kept me on the edge of my chair.
The eerie play takes place on Halloween night. A group of costumed boys set out to meet their friend, Joe Pipkin, to go trick-or-treating at a haunted house outside of town in a ravine that none of them have ever dared to visit. There they encounter the cadaverous Mr. Moundshroud. As Pipkin scrambles to join them, he is swept away. Moundshroud leads the boys through time and space to search the past for their friend and during the whirlwind journey he educates them on the origins and meaning of Halloween and other rituals.
This will be Mike Payette’s first mainstage production since he took over the reigns in February as artistic director of Geordie Productions. Both as an actor and director, Payette brings a lot of credentials to his new appointment. He has appeared on some of Canada’s finest stages, including the National Arts Centre, as well as with many of our local companies, including Black Theatre Workshop, Repercussion Theatre and the Segal Centre. As an actor at Geordie, he appeared in Robinson Crusoe in 2004 and after that on their Western National tour of The Jungle Book in 2009. Last year Payette won a META (Montreal English Theatre Award) for Outstanding Direction at the Mainline Theatre of the Montreal English-language premiere of Michel Tremblay’s Hosanna.
Payette stated, “I’m thrilled to welcome The Halloween Tree to our stage with director Amanda Kellock’s deft hand and beautiful adaptation.” Kellock, as artistic director of Repercussion Theatre, made her mark this summer with her Shakespeare-in-the-Park presentation of Julius Caesar, with an all female cast. For The Halloween Tree, Kellock has assembled a formidable cast that includes three of last season’s META award-winning actors — Eloi Archambaudoin, Davide Chiazzese and Lucinda Davis. They are joined by Trevor Barrette, Jimmy Blais, Charlotte Rogers and Jaa Smith-Johnson. Speaking to Payette recently just after he returned from watching a rehearsal, he said, “I’m very excited how the show is progressing.”
In keeping with the spirit of Halloween, Patrick Charron, Communications and Marketing Director, told me that members of the audience are encouraged to wear costumes. It should be a hoot — even if you don’t show up dressed as an owl. After each show a treat bag will be given for the three best costumes. At the final performance a grand prize winner will be chosen and will be rewarded with a family pass to the Geordie Theatre Fest. This is a new project scheduled in March that will feature three of Geordie’s shows in repertoire playing for a week at the Monument-National Theatre.
Geordie has been presenting live English theatre since 1980. Although known for appealing to young audiences, their aim has always been to entertain, provoke thought, and fire up the imagination of all ages.
The Halloween Tree is recommended for children age 7 and up and adults of all ages. Performances are from October 21 to r 30 at D.B. Clarke Theatre, Concordia University Hall Building 1455 de Maisonneuve W. For Box Office and information: 514-845-9810 or www.geordie.ca
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