The story of ‘a man’

So what we’ve got here is a play within a play within a musical. Within the musical we meet a community theatre group called The St. Imelda’s Players, in 1964 Dublin. This is real church basement  community theatre.  They know they’re not very good, but it doesn’t matter.  They just love doing it. Of course isn’t that why we all do community theatre.

The troupe is led by Alfie Byrne, a bus conductor in his 40’s and lover of Oscar Wilde. He lives with his sister Lily, who is looking after him until he gets married, at which point she can marry Mr. Carney, the butcher next store.  Alfie wants to put on Oscar Wilde’s play Salome, but the church has objections. The troupe decides to put on a play about Alfie and the St. Imelda’s Players doing ‘Salome’.

Throughout the play we meet others in Alfie’s life such as Robbie Fay, a bus driver and Adele Rice, a newcomer to Dublin who will play the Princess Salome. We get to know the troupe of ‘players’ and we learn about important relationships between Alfie and Robbie, and Alfie and Adele. We learn, as Alfie does, how little he knows of some aspects of life, and how hard it is to be true to himself. We see Alfie push through fear with the help of Oscar Wilde.

Shaun Toohey (Alfie Byrne) Photo: Patrick J. Whitfield

The revelations learned by Alfie and others in the play change but don’t negate his most important relationships, with his sister, Robbie and Adele. He continues to believe that you must ‘love who you love who you love. In the end, after a tumultuous journey through the play, Alfie is left with a sense of freedom and hope.

There are many other intricacies of the story, but you’ll have to come to the show to find out the rest!

I’ll leave you with a video of Shaun Toohey, who plays Alfie, learning a song that he sings in the pub one night, a taste of the beautiful music in this show. (Paul Legault, our Music Director, on the piano).

The AMONI Creative Folk

I am delighted to be once again writing about an indie women productions show. This time it is a beautiful musical set in 1960’s Ireland. So you might ask why this show.  This is a favourite of our musical director, Paul Legault and has become a favourite of us all.

Before I tell you about the show itself, I want to introduce you to the creative folks who are bringing us the show.

Maxim David, Artistic Director

Maxim David is our Artistic Director.  You might have seen Max in indie women productions’ second Next to Normal, where he played Henry, or perhaps in Orpheus’ production of RENT, where he played Collins. He’s a theatre guy day and night, having studied theatre at Collège Lionel-Groulx in Ste-Thérèse, Quebec. This time he’s on the other side, bringing this wonderful story to life. (Photo credit Patrick J. Whitfield)

Paul Legault
Paul Legault, Music Director

Paul Legault is our Musical Director.  Paul was Musical Director for the first Next to Normal and we’re glad to have him back. He’s worked on many musicals with Orpheus and even some with OLT. Memorable shows for me, which he musical directed include Titanic (Orpheus) and Jasper Station (OLT). A public servant by day, he fills his non-work time with music, whether, directing, accompanying or playing in the orchestra. (Photo credit Patrick J. Whitfield)

Rowan Dupuis, Choreographer

Rowan Dupuis is our Choreographer. She came to us through cast member Sarah Olberg and we’re glad to have found her. This show needs a special kind of choreographer, who can work in the field of Irish dance. Rowan is a professional Irish dancer and choreographer and studied at Sue Fae Healy Studio in Ottawa. (Photo credit Patrick J. Whitfield)

Our wonderful creative team is supported by two extraordinary women.

C. Lee Bates
C. Lee Bates, Executive Director

C. Lee Bates (Cindi to many of us, C. Lee to others) is the Artistic Director for indie women productions and one of the original indie women. She directed both productions of Next to Normal and Bingo Ladies. She has worked on numerous productions before indie women in Perth and Ottawa and has been a driving force behind the company. This year she invited two talented young men to direct and has worked closely with them as a mentor. (Photo credit Patrick J. Whitfield)

Skye MacDiarmid
Skye MacDiarmid, Apprentice Musical Director

Skye MacDiarmid was our beautiful lead, Diana, in both productions of Next to Normal. She worked with Paul Legault as an Assistant on Orpheus’ production of Spring Awakening and liked it so much she’s back with Paul and moving up to Apprentice. I look forward to a show where she will be Musical Director. When not singing or directing, Skye is studying or teaching singing or looking after her own cast of five. (Photo credit Patrick J. Whitfield)