'I shot a Duck' opens at Augustana
The cast from Augustana major drama production “I shot a Duck” which opens tonight at 7 p.m. in Camrose. Josh Aldrich/ Camrose Canadian
The University of Alberta-Augustana drama department is set to present two original plays starting tonight — I shot a Duck and A Human Write.
I Shot a Duck was written specifically for Augustana by Edmonton play write Jason Chinn. It takes a deep look into the life of a blended family that is struggling to find a way to coexist.
The production plays into the four seasons, starting out with a mostly cheerful spring with a wedding, grand times during the summer, and then skips ahead four years where life is getting progressively more dramatic in autumn and decidedly dark in the winter.
“It’s a timeless story, it’s a story of families, it’s a story of love, it’s that journey through the seasons, the progression of life itself,” said I Shot a Duck director Kevin Sutley.
“It’s inspired by three plays by Anton Checkhov, the Russian writer of the late 1800s, and those themes still work today more than 100 years later.”
The play revolves around one particular family, headed up by the mother Johanna (Amy Wright). It all starts out as she is set to marry a man half her age, Rufus (Bennett Wilson), while Johnanna’s daughters Alex (Racquel Deveau) and Natalie (Carolyn Venter), who are both closer in age to Rufus, try to make the new family work.
One of the big challenges of this play was finding college-aged actors who could pull off some of the roles, including three characters in their late 40s. In particular Johanna who Sutley says Wright has the deft hand to pull it off.
“She’s definitely one of our most experienced performers and the maturity level she has definitely helps,” said Sutley.
While a singular family is at the focus of I Shot a Duck, the work is carried by the 11-person cast, as their group of friends and staff at the vineyard find ways to interact with the main family.
The night will open with A Human Write, directed by Sammy Love, a short dramatic play written by Amy Sutton. It is a drama of a completely different sort from I Shot a Duck. The production is about the creative process. At the centre of the play is a writer (Elysia Marchand), but the play mainly takes place in her mind as different actors play the role of different ideas and emotions and how they come together to form a story.
“It’s a very choral piece, there’s a lot of people sharing text and ... they’re incorporating a lot of movement in that as well,” said Sutley. “It’s a lot for actors to take on and they’re really taking hold of it and they’re owning it.”
I Shot a Duck and A Human Write show March 16-18 and March 22-25 with 7 p.m. shows at the Augustana Theatre Centre. General admission is $15 at the door with students getting in for $5.