GORE BAY—Following the rave reviews received by Gore Bay Theatre’s 2020 production of ‘Molly Sweeney’ during the QUONTA theatre competitions, many were left disappointed that they were unable to make one of the few performances possible during the pandemic. Well, weep and wail no more, the theatre company is mounting the play in repertoire with Norm Foster’s comedy ‘On a First Name Basis,’ itself a not-to-be-missed production.
Unlike the comedy, however, ‘Molly Sweeney’ is a drama, and what a drama at that.
Written by famed Irish playwright Brian Friel and co-directed by Walter Maskell and Andrea Emmerton, the play tells an engaging story that keeps its audience spell-bound throughout.
QUONTA adjudicator Annette G. Procunier was effusive in her praise for ‘Molly Sweeney’ during the competition, noting “I never once saw an actor on stage—I saw characters telling a story from three different perspectives.”
Ms. Procunier also had nothing but praise for the directors whose interpretation of the work is outstanding. “Irish storytelling at her best,” she said. A seasoned adjudicator of 45 years, and author of ‘Do You See What I See,’ Ms. Procunier is not known as one to pull punches in her assessments.
The competition in the 2020 QUONTA season was intense, otherwise ‘Molly Sweeney’ might well have swept the lists that year, as it was it secured six of the top awards, including Best Production.
Lead Tara Bernatchez delivers one of her most outstanding performances in ‘Molly Sweeney,’ stretching her already considerable talents onstage above and beyond what should be humanly possible. Her performance secured top honours for Outstanding Female in a Leading Role.
Mr. Maskel and Ms. Emmerton took home the Richard Howard Award for Outstanding Direction. The play also secured an Outstanding Visual Performance Award. The cast received the Ensemble Award and Mary Anderson of Ice Lake’s harp score took Best Original Music.
This year a medical emergency forced a cast change, with director Maskel stepping into one of the male roles, but as an accomplished and veteran actor in his own right, his contribution to the ensemble is well worth catching.
Those wanting to experience live theatre with the best the North has to offer should head out to the Gore Bay Community Hall on July 22, 23, 27 and 29 to see for themselves. They will not be disappointed. Doors open at 7 pm, curtain at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $20 advance and $22 at the door and are available at the Gore Bay municipal office or by calling 705-282-2120 extension 3. Visa and Mastercard are accepted.