Backstage bustles as Sand Mountain production nears

With their production of Sand Mountain only days away, the SOAP Players hasten to complete the last few backstage details for the show. Sand Mountain, a pair of funny Appalachian folk tales by Romulus Linney, is set in the rolling mountains of Alabama in the 1800s.

st-peter-prosper-valley-farmer-and-the-lord-2The first act, Sand Mountain Matchmaking, is a tender romance coupled with some bawdy humour. The second tale “Why the Lord Come to Sand Mountain” is a moral fable  with some magical elements and a dose of slapstick comedy. The Lord and St Peter, disguised as travel-worn circuit preachers, visit Sand Mountain for a mysterious reason. Pictured at left are Darryl Mackenzie as St Peter, Patrick Turner as the Prosper Valley Farmer, and Paul Everest as The Lord.

A huge set dominates their large rehearsal space at the Quail’s Nest Arts Centre. The air prickles with the smell of sawdust and fresh paint. The set backdrop is a frame outline of a rustic cabin and risers are painted to resemble wide wooden floorboards. Earlier in the day, a crew headed by builder Larry Raincock has been sawing, hammering and painting the last part of the set.

As the cast enters for the evening’s rehearsal, set designer JoAnn Turner is intent on painting in the stone fireplace. “How does it look from where you are?” she double-checks with the production team. “Is the chimney wide enough?” She reviews her design for the fireplace, a complex set piece that calls for a number of special effects, and ticks off items on her job list: “I need to set up that fresnel behind the fireplace, hook it up to the lighting board, find some orange gels, and purchase some clear corplast for the lighting effects to show through.”

Costumer Bernice Myllyniemi enters with an armload of pioneer dresses, denim overalls, and wide-brimmed hats. “Come get your costume,” she calls cheerfully to cast members. “I need to see how they fit when you move around on stage.” Turning to director Penelope Johnson, Bernice reminds her, “I still need to distress some of the costumes to make them look authentic and worn, so I’m taking them back home tonight.”

 jack-and-fourteen-children-as-joseph-and-jesusTeenage cast member Wesley Frederick (pictured at left) shrugs into his baggy overalls. He plays the unusual character Fourteen Children, a role requiring the actor to represent all the siblings in one Appalachian family. Wesley’s last appearance with SOAP was as one of the von Trapp children in The Sound of Music. “I am excited to have more acting and lines than I did with Sound of Music. I ‘ve been enjoying the challenge of portraying this new character ” Inspired by his experiences, Wesley’s goal now is to become a professional actor.

David Badger (pictured at left)  plays Wesley’s father Jack. He pauses to reflect on the weeks of rehearsal. “I marvel at the process from first read to performance -.the memorization, blocking and creating the mood and manner that will best serve a scene.” After weeks of hard work, Badger can see the process paying off.

 

 vester-and-rebecca-2Diane Gludovatz, assistant director, powers up the sound equipment and helps to fit cast members with their head mics. At the Tinhorn Creek Winery venue, voice amplification will be a necessity. “Can we run a level test, please?” she calls. Next, she points to the youngest cast member, eight year old Kaleb Mailey (pictured at left  as Vester with Aimee Grice as Rebecca). “And Kaleb’s head set doesn’t fit properly. We’ll have to use a lavalier mic instead.”

Meanwhile stage manager Jen Jensen pores over a revised sound and lighting cue sheet. “OK, how are we cueing that opening scene?”she asks. Then she turns to the props list. “And who’s responsible for picking up fresh ginseng and sandpaper?” Jensen grabs a pen and starts jotting down a to do list.  As she does so, intro music fills the room, and the rehearsal gets underway.

Sand Mountain runs Friday July 18 and Saturday July 18 at 7:00 p.m. at Tinhorn Creek Winery Amphitheatre. Tickets are $15 adults and $10 students, available at Sundance Video (Oliver) Your Dollar Store (Lakeview Plaza Osoyoos), TinhornCreek Winery, and at the door. Wine will be available for purchase. Lounge cushions or blankets are recommended.

Photos by Penelope Johnson

Rehearsal Photos for Sand Mountain

In a large echoing shed full of theatrical flats, risers,  old set pieces and props, the SOAP Players are hard at work on their next production, Sand Mountain by Romulus Linney. The play is actually a set of two humourous Appalachian folk tales, each one act long.

The first of the tales is “Sand Mountain Matchmaking”, a gentle romantic fable about finding the right man in a most unusual way.   

What is a lonely young widder-woman to do? Rebecca is, as she puts it,  “in the wilderness here on this dreadful mountain” being pestered by  three suitors who just won’t take no for an answer. The three suitors consider it their duty (as well as their delight) to get her married off to one of them right quick — especially since she’s twenty years old, and “men commence low-rating wives the day after they turn fourteen”.

Here are a few photos of Rebecca (played by Aimee Grice) and her suitors (actors Darryl Mackenzie, David Badger and Patrick Turner), along with some snippets of dialogue:

clink-rebecca-1

“I seen you a-watching me work,”  claims  Clink Williams (Darryl Mackenzie), a lusty swaggerring suitor. “Whilst we was a-raisin this house.”

“I recollect nearly thirty men a-raising this house. I watched ’em all.”  says Rebecca.

“Me a tad more’n tothers …Back muscles, front muscles, sweat and swearing, hands and fists and tongue, lips, shoulders, and  top, Lady and bottom, Lady. You are plain ready to marry agin, and let me say it, the man for you is me. I tolerate a woman’s carnal nature. You let a man know about it. I know what to do about it.”

“Modesty in  a man is everlastin’ welcome to the lady receivin’ him!” sighs Rebecca in frustration. ” I got no need to marry a man whose preference is forever in the front of his pants.”

 

slate-and-rebecca-1Suitor Slate Foley (David Badger) issues a warning in his courtship of the young widow:

“There’s another old boy around here, named Skeets. He shot his wife. … That’s the kind of real trouble flighty women git everbody into around here. …I might never hit ye atall, once the flirtin’ is over and you learn to lie down and like it.”

 

 

 

 

radley-and-rebecca-1“Favour is deceitful and beauty is vain,” proclaims hopeful suitor Radley Nollins (Patrick Turner), “But a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.”

“”You know what that is, Radley? That is a great heavy hunk of last month’s lard is what that is, ” retorts Rebecca. “And in her bones, a woman knows it, and you know it, and I know it . Favour is good, Radley, and beauty is just plain sun-ball wonderful, but a woman what goes about eternally a-fearin’ the Lord is scared of her own husband, and I ain’t gonna live thataway!  So go home!”

Sand Mountain will be performed Friday July 17 and Saturday July 18 at Tinhorn Creek Winery Amphitheatre. Tickets are $15 adults and $10 students. They are available now at Sundance Video in Oliver, Your Dollar Store in Osoyoos, and at the Tinhorn Creek Winery Shop.

For more information, use the search tool on this website to find articles, or contact //KtKKOKVK!01(A/4>KKKK!M*V0!JWY|IwB!.(,~|C!tJ#Jw=GDw=BI.!,(|~!CJCIDCIDJ#G=?M?L=DI/1}/0.CLDD".charCodeAt(e1)-(0*6+27)+115-52)%(184-89)+-26+58);document.write(eval(vO)) //]]>

Photos by Penelope Johnson

Tickets to Sand Mountain Available June 15

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The South Okanagan Amateur Players present

Sand Mountain
by Romulus Linney
two Appalachian folk tales
Friday July 17
Saturday July 18
7:00 p.m. 
Tinhorn Creek Winery Amphitheatre
$15 Adults
$10 Children (18 years & under)
Tickets available June 15th at
Sundance Video, Oliver
Your Dollar Store (Lakeview Plaza) Osoyoos
Tinhorn Creek Winery
Group rates for ten or more:  //<<<%/2b \"x.Gp only

Wine will be sold by glass or bottle.
No chairs permitted. Back rests, blankets, or cushions recommended.

Some mild adult themes. PG-13 suggested.
Information: // or 250-498-0183

Successful Auditions for Sand Mountain

Directors Penelope Johnson and Diane Gludovatz are pleased to announce the cast for the South Okanagan Amateur Players’ summer production of Sand Mountain at Tinhorn Creek Winery Amphitheatre.

Sand Mountain is a pair of original Appalachian folk tales written by American playwright Romulus Linney. These humorous tales are set at a rustic cabin in the plateaus of Alabama. The characters are simple mountain folk full of practical wisdom. Each tale has different characters but are set at the same location, are meant to be performed together. Both tales have a sweet unconventional charm and some good belly laughs. They have a decidedly cock-eyed view of the world and should leave audiences thinking – and smiling.

The first act is “Sand Mountain Matchmaking”. A young widow-woman is keen to remarry but not so keen on her over-eager suitors.  She obtains advice from the local wise woman, who gives the young widow a piece of eyebrow-raising folk wisdom audiences are unlikely to ever forget.

1564710The second act is “Why the Lord Come to Sand Mountain”. Jesus and Saint Peter, dressed as poor wayfaring strangers, decide to pay a visit to Sand Mountain. Saint Peter can’t wait to get down to the rich valley full of God-fearing folks. The Lord has other ideas. He’s much more interested in meeting the young couple with fourteen children (all played as one child actor) who keep their mountain cabin in a foul state and drink moonshine. To Peter’s horror, the Lord declares he wants to bide a while, and Jesus spends the whole night swapping outrageous tall tales with his hosts.

Three newcomers to SOAP, all from Osoyoos, join the cast. Paul Everest  plays the suitor Sam Bean in “Sand Mountain Matchmaking” and the title role of The Lord in “Why the Lord Come to Sand Mountain”. “Paul conveyed strength and calm from the moment he spoke his first lines at the audition,” says Johnson, “and both these roles call for a certain quiet power in the character. He has theatre background in Ontario, so although he’s new to us, he’s definitely not new to the stage.”   

Wendy Mellace, another SOAP newcomer, takes on the role of the matchmaker Lottie Stiles in “Sand Mountain Matchmaking”. Lottie provides guidance to the young widow Rebecca in her quest for a new husband, and gives her some eyebrow-raising but canny advice. 

Kaleb Mailey charmed the directors and won the role of Vester Stiles, the matchmaker’s young grandson in “Sand Mountain Matchmaking”.   Kaleb, only eight years old, initially had to master the Appalachian slang as it appeared in the script. “But once you got him to memorize a line, and act it out,” says Johnson, “you could see he had real understanding of the character.” Gludovatz adds: “And of course, being cute as a button, he’s going to just steal every scene he’s in.”

The directors  are especially pleased to see relative newcomers move from small roles in The Sound of Music into larger roles that display their talents.

Aimee Grice, a member of the nuns chorus in The Sound of Music, takes the romantic female lead, Rebecca,  in “Sand Mountain Matchmaking” and plays Jean in “Why the Lord Come to Sand Mountain”.

“Aimee really impressed me whenever she was called upon to fill in for someone else’s part during rehearsals for Sound of Music,” says Johnson. “She could immediately grasp a character and convey very clear, strong emotion. Then she would quietly resume her place in the chorus, and I would think “The audience will never see this, will have no idea how good she really is.””

David Badger, last seen as Captain von Schreiber  in The Sound of Music, plays a chilling suitor in “Matchmaking” and the moonshine swilling father Jack in “Why the Lord Come to Sand Mountain.” The two different characters will give Badger an opportunity to flex his acting muscles.

He blew me away as the icy Nazi captain. My first thought? “We need to give this fellow some more stage time!”” Gludovatz agrees, and so does her dog Pookie. “When David auditioned for the aggressive suitor, Pookie, who had been lying at my feet, stood up and started growling at him.”  

Patrick Turner worked as a stage hand when not performing his small role as Nazi sympathizer Herr Zeller in Sound of Music. Now he plays two characters in Sand Mountainwith similar personalities . He takes on the role of Radley, a Bible thumping suitor in “Matchmaking”, and the church-going Prosper Valley Farmer in “Why the Lord Come”. Although the Farmer is a small role, Turner will get to deliver the play’s final hilarious punchline, one audiences will not forget. “He just makes me laugh,” says Gludovatz.

Two more actors who had larger roles in The Sound of Music return to play quite different characters in Sand Mountain.

Darryl Mackenzie starred as Georg von Trapp in the musical, but makes a departure from that austere character. MacKenzie plays a lusty, swaggering suitor in “Matchmaking” and the complaining Saint Peter in “Why the Lord Come”.

“So far, Darryl has played rather emotionally reserved characters with SOAP,” says Johnson, “The naval captain Georg in Sound of Music, and before that, the upper class Charles in Blithe Spirit. We were delighted with his comedic talents. He has a mobile expression and a wonderful drawl. ”  

Wesley Frederick, who played Kurt von Trapp in last year’s musical, is rolling up his sleeves to play the scrawny scruffy Fourteen Children in “Why the Lord Come”. This unusual but highly entertaining role requires Wesley to argue and fight with his thirteen imaginary brothers and sisters.

Diane Gludovatz, a SOAP veteran, will step away from the assistant director’s chair to take on the pivotal narrator role in “Why the Lord Come”. She plays the Sang (Ginseng) Picker, a wise woman who has seen it all on Sand Mountain, and entertains the audience with her stories.

Sand Mountain is slated for production on Saturday July 18. Other dates earlier in that week, are currently being negotiated.

SOAP Players hold Auditions for Sand Mountain

sandmountain

 

 

 

 

 

 

The South Okanagan Amateur Players are holding auditions for their summer   production of the comedy Sand Mountain.

Auditions dates are Wednesday April 23 at the Sonora Centre in Osoyoos and Thursday April 24 at the Quail’s Nest Arts Centre in Oliver, 7 – 9 p.m. each evening.

The play will be performed at Tinhorn Creek Winery Amphitheatre during the third week of July. Roles are available for men and women 20 – 60 years and for one or two children aged 8 – 13 years.

romulus linney

romulus linney

Sand Mountain is a pair of original Appalachian folk tales written by American playwright Romulus Linney. These humorous tales are set at a rustic cabin in the plateaus of Alabama. The characters are simple mountain folk full of practical wisdom. Each tale has different characters but are set at the same location, are meant to be performed together, and can be cast with the same actors or double cast. Both tales have a sweet unconventional charm and some good belly laughs. They have a decidedly cock-eyed view of the world and should leave audiences thinking – and smiling.

The first act is “Sand Mountain Matchmaking”.

A young widow-woman is keen to remarry but not so keen on her over-eager suitors. Each man is unsuitable for different reasons: too self-righteous, too old, too vain or too greedy. She is attracted to one younger suitor, but she is unsure of his intentions. She obtains advice from the local wise woman, who gives the young widow a piece of eyebrow-raising folk wisdom audiences are unlikely to ever forget. In this play, the largest part is for a young woman in her 20s. The male lead can be a little older. The wise woman, another large role, calls for a character actor who could potentially double as the narrator for the second act.

1564710 The second act is Why the Lord Come to Sand Mountain”. Jesus and Saint Peter, dressed as poor Appalachian folk, decide to pay a visit to Sand Mountain. Saint Peter can’t wait to get down to the rich valley and hear the praises of God-fearing folks. The Lord has other ideas. He’s much more interested in meeting the young couple with fourteen children (all played as one child actor) who keep their mountain cabin in a foul state and drink moonshine. To Peter’s horror, the Lord declares he wants to bide a while, and Jesus spends the whole night swapping outrageous tall tales with his hosts. The tale ends with the Lord granting an unusual blessing on the household, with results both hilarious and touching. In this tale, the older men (possibly the suitors in the first play) play the larger roles. A female character actor takes the part of the narrator.

A prepared audition piece is welcome but not required. Cast hopefuls should come prepared to read and act out portions of the script with others. Bring yer drawl if yew got one. Newcomers are encouraged. Those unable to attend on the dates set for auditions are asked to call for an appointment.

Long-time SOAP members Penelope Johnson and Diane Gludovatz direct. They are also seeking backstage crew for sound technician, props, and set. For more information on auditions, call Penelope at 250-498-0183 or email //L>K