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A new festival

A handful of one-act plays at NACC

Michele LeTourneau
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Jan 26/01) - Brian Wainwright will prove that you can't get too much of a good thing.

Known for the sets he builds for others who stage plays, Wainwright participates as a director each year at the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre's annual one-act play festival.

The Line-up

Flight of the Living Dog
by Greg Nelson
Directed by Brian Wainwright
Starring Paul McKee
Krapp's Last Tape
by Samuel Beckett
Directed and performed by George Divecky
Moving Out
by Aviva Ravel
Directed by Brian Wainwright
Starring Mary Bryant and Wayne Bryant
Not Suitable, improv
Featuring Brian Collins, Rebecca Jaud, Jaysen Knight and Ken Woodley
by Emil Sher
Directed by Brian Wainwright
Starring Crystal Milligan and Mark Seebaran
by Margaret Matula
Directed by Andrew Stewart
Starring Amanda Dei

"I enjoy the summer one-act festival. It's lots of fun and I want to do more of that," he says.

Wainwright started talking to fellow theatre-minded folk around the time Ptarmigan Ptheatrics staged Music Man.

"I had a whole bunch of people interested at that point, nine of whom ended up being in Rocky (Horror Show), which was scheduled for November ... which was rescheduled for December ... which was the actually put on in January -- way too close. So I lost that lot."

Then there are the usual absences caused by travel, be it business- or holiday-related.

"For a moment there, I thought, 'Aye, I'm dead.' But it made me squeeze."

Wainwright also attempted to involve drama students from both St. Patrick and Sir John high schools. For various reasons, that didn't pan out.

Each director, Wainwright himself, George Divecky, and Andrew Stewart, picked their own plays. All genres, from drama to comedy, are represented.

"I've got a whole library of plays, which I bought deliberately. I found a catalogue that's got 650 by Canadian playwrights. Six hundred and fifty one-act plays. All Canadian. There's got to be at least one good one in there," says Wainwright, laughing.

"But you couldn't stage all of them. Some of them wouldn't go over too well in Yellowknife. They're not ready for that yet. Some of them are too long, some of them are too short."

The only play that isn't Canadian is Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape, which George Divecky performs and directs himself.

"George is in love with Beckett at the moment -- fine. He was simply going to direct it, then his actor was travelling."

Another unique piece, special by virtue of its cast, is Moving Out by Aviva Ravel. Wainwright direct husband and wife Wayne and Mary Bryant.

Wayne was last seen in Music Man, while Mary last performed when she embodied Ramona the Raven.

"Ravel writes very real people. They reach out to you. Just reading the script, you can see that you know them. They're friends or relatives," says Wainwright.

"Working with a husband and wife team is interesting. It's different. You haven't got to lower the barrier and get them used to each other."

Not Suitable, Yellowknife's improv troupe, will also perform.

The audience has two chances to catch each play. Wainwright will do a mail-out of programs. Look for yours in the mail.

Tickets are available at Birchwood Gallery and through cast members.