by Julie Hamel
Thespis, allegedly the first actor on the Greek stage B.C.(and said to have invented theatrical touring) is also the title of Gilbert and Sullivan’s first collaboration.
This opera saw the light in England during the Victorian Age, premièring in London at the Gaiety Theatre in 1871 no less, vehemently criticized in the Daily Telegraph, calling the opera a ‘heathen mythology’”, and then reconstructed in the 1940’s and returning to the stage in 1953 as Gilbert and Sullivan’s unique and wonderful Burlesque. This is what defines Thespis, a play that has aged and matured over time like the finest of wines.
Now a Canadian Premiere, produced by the one and only Lakeshore Light Opera, the play will run at the Lakeside Academy Theatre in Lachine from March the 8th to March 16th.
Formerly a Men’s club with the Anglican Church in 1955 and then the St. Paul’s Operatic society in 1957, the Lakeshore Light Opera has been raising funds for the Lakeshore General Hospital for some 42 years with proceeds from productions such as H.M.S Pinafore and Trial by Jury. The company has raised up to 200 thousand dollars: good times for a good cause.
The LLO is always on the lookout for new people to join. Some members have been a part of this theatrical troupe for decades. Membership is $80 a year and includes costumes. Yes, they have a full costume department as well as an 18-piece orchestra conducted by Marian Siminski. Auditions are held in September and rehearsals take place twice a week, beginning sometime in October. The annual production takes place at the beginning of March.
Newer members such as Kristie St-Martin returned to the company after a ten-year hiatus because she loves the atmosphere.
“We are such an inclusive group, like a loving family and we make room for all needs and all ages”, says St-Martin.
This year, she will be playing the part of Mercury, a traditional English pantomime role, or what is called a “pant” role, a male role played by a female actor.
Tickets are available online and cost between $15 and $30 depending on seating. A good deal for a fun evening! And who knows? This might the beginning of a new theatrical career if you are inspired to join.
For more information feel free to look up LLO’s website: www.llo.org