Dramatis Personae’s Quick Exits

Westmount community theatre group’s Fall production.

By Patricia Dumais

Starting on Friday December 4 and running until Monday December 7, Westmount community theatre group Dramatis Personae will present Quick Exits, a series of six short plays, in the Lodge Room of Victoria Hall.

“Quick Exits is a collection of six slightly dark comedies that have quick departures as their common thread” said actor Malcolm McRae during a rehearsal I attended. The plays featured are: Misfortune by Mark Henry Levine, Three Turkeys Waiting for Corncobs by Don Nigro, Numbers by Greg Kreutz, Variations on the Death of Trotsky by David Ives, Time Flies by David Ives and Seeing the Light by Robert McKay.

Quick Exits is a collection of six slightly dark comedies that have quick departures as their common thread.

McRae went on to explain, “We typically produces two shows each year. The Fall production is a series of short plays tied together under some common theme. This allows all members, new and old, to have a central role in at least one of the short plays. The Spring production is a full-length play.”

Founded in 1985 by Ann Page, the community theatre group has been performing regularly ever since. In its early years the group performed at the Atwater Library. Then in 1988 it became affiliated with the City of Westmount recreation department. The first play performed in Victoria Hall was a series of vignettes based on stories by O. Henry.

Clive Brewer, Jenepher Chopra and Dara Murphy

Clive Brewer, Jenepher Chopra and Dara Murphy rehearsing Three Turkeys Waiting for Corncobs.

“Dramatis Personae was fortunate to have Jacqueline van de Geer as its artistic director from 2007 to 2015,” said long-time member Ann Elbourne. “With van de Geer’s encouragement and imaginative direction the group was able to reach higher than it had thought possible before.” It was during this time that the group began to consistently put on two shows a year, the first being Arrivals and Departures by Carol Shields, and the very last being Noises Off by Michael Frayn.

Dramatis Personae’s new Director Christopher Moore graduated as an actor from the John Abbott College Professional Theatre Program. For the past 10 years, Christopher has worked with a number of companies in and around Montreal, including Persephone Productions (Othello, Hamlet) Gravy Bath Productions (This Table, Oedipus Rex), Tableau D’Hôte (Haunted House), Montreal Theatre Ensemble (Of Mice and Men, All My Sons), Altera Vitae (Bent), Hudson Village Theatre (The Graduate), MSTC (Julius Caesar, Titus Andronicus) and Rabbit in a Hat (Penumbra, Cornered).

In 2012 he became Persephone’s Artistic Director and went on to direct or co-direct many of its productions, including Spring Awakening: The Musical, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Far From the Madding Crowd. Christopher finds time to direct for other companies as well, including: I Don’t Know Where Here Is (Vanguard Productions), Bard Fiction (Beyond the Mountain), Hairspray (WISTA), and Julius Caesar (Montreal Shakespeare Theatre Company).

Dramatis Personae rehearsal

Christopher Moore (right) directing Desmond Soltendieck and Harriet Dove in Misfortune.

This is Christopher’s first time directing for Dramatis Personae, although he has seen several of their productions. He is always excited to work with new people and is very enthusiastic about his collaboration with the group.

I had the opportunity to watch him rehearsing the performers, creating the blocking and developing characterizations with the actors. I was impressed by the way he guided the actors into vastly improving their performances in just a short time.

Dramatis Personae is a not-for-profit group funded by membership fees and donations from its audiences. The players are a diverse group from all walks of life. Said actor Ellen Ruben, “Though it is helpful to have some acting experience, enthusiasm is even more important and people with all kinds of creative or organizational skills are welcome to join the group.”

Dramatis Personae meets every Monday evening at 8 pm in Victoria Hall from September till June. Those interested in joining may call one of the numbers below.

Feature image: Harriet Dove, Karen Sauder and Desmond Soltendieck in Misfortune.
Images: Patricia Dumais

Quick Exits runs in the Lodge Room of Victoria Hall, 4626 Sherbrooke W, on the following dates:

Friday, December 4 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, December 5 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, December 6 at 3 pm and 7:30pm
Monday, December 7 at 8 pm

Admission: suggested donation $10
Reservations are strongly recommended.
For reservations and information go to theatrewestmount.weebly.com/reservations
or call 514 484-2016 or 514 486-7423.

Patricia Dumais, artistic director, award-winning graphic designer specialized in brand design is co-founder of Visionnaires, publishers of Westmount Magazine. Patricia develops visual concepts and ensures that all deliverables follow our publication’s standards and reflect the editorial voice. You can connect with Patricia on Linkedin, Twitter and Pinterest. or by email at pdumais@westmountmag.ca.

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