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Who Are We ?

(...and why we have to do what we do)
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If you were to stop the average person on the street and ask them why someone would get involved in community theatre, whether it’s on stage or behind the scenes, the answer you will invariably get is “...because they crave the attention”.
While there may be an element of truth to this (seriously, who doesn’t love praise and applause) there is more to it... so much more. Every laugh, every tear, every gasp, every emotion elicited from an audience member is an affirmation that we made the right choice, that no matter what else is happening in our lives, we took a chance and it was a chance well taken.

So who are we?
We are everyone. We are all walks of life. Our stage experience spans former professionals to first time performers. We are entrepreneurs, wait-staff and sales people. We are doctors, lawyers, software engineers, nurses, managers and ex military. Our political beliefs go from the extreme right to the extreme left. Our income status’ range from very comfortable to barely able to pay our bills. Our religious affiliations cover every belief structure there is. We are Muslims and Jews and Christians and Atheists. We are parents... and not. We lose jobs, we have health issues, we suffer the general trauma that is incorporated in a daily life. We thrive and celebrate and love.

...and why do we do this?

Because we are driven to create something as a collective. Look at who we are and then go turn on a television or surf the internet for a little while. On paper, there is no way that we should be able to work together towards a common goal and yet that is what we do. Not only that, but we do it with relish and thrive in each other’s company. Personally, I try to avoid the news because all it does is tell me, on a daily basis, that what we are able to attain is unattainable.
The world can be a pretty intense place if you dwell on it, but you don’t need to worry about that here. The bond that the theatre brings transcends every other difference we may have and that bond is impossible to break. It creates an environment that accepts. Differences get checked at the door. We are all in it together. We thrive as a group and fail as a group. We take risks and we support each other in the risks taken, hoping that they are the right ones. We spend two and a half months together, three nights a week, creating something from nothing (for the judgement of others, to either enjoy or eviscerate) and then we look forward to the next time we get to start it all over again.

Ohhh...hey...We ain’t perfect. We argue and bicker and fight... but then, quickly, we laugh at our own stupidity and pettiness and hug it out or go grab a beer.

That’s why we do this and the rush we get from what we are able to achieve defies description.

Who are we?

We’re the Milton Players Theatre Group... and we welcome you to come and be a part of this.

Interview with Ken Ludwig

A CONVERSATION WITH KEN LUDWIG

by: Simon Chang

Ken Ludwig

Ken Ludwig is a very busy man. When The Milton Players first approached the award-winning playwright about an interview, Ludwig was in the midst of closing his play Baskerville, a world premiere co-production between the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, NJ and Arena Stage in Washington D.C. The coming months looked equally packed, as Ludwig revealed that the Cleveland Play House’s 100th anniversary season would include his newest show A Comedy of Tenors, sequel to the Andrew Lloyd Webber-produced Broadway hit Lend Me a Tenor.

In-between all that, Ludwig also keeps busy in more conventional ways, such as the responsibilities of being a parent: “I have to pick my son up from school,” Ludwig apologizes, asking to push out our scheduled call by a few minutes. It’s an easily accommodated request, and as Ken Ludwig finds himself moving on to his next appointment a half hour later, the Milton Players have been treated to an insightful look into playwriting by the Moon Over Buffalo author.

Milton Players: Where does the name Moon Over Buffalo originate from? What [does] that ultimately reference in the show?

Ken Ludwig: I’ve just heard that question recently. In the 1930s or 40s, there was a famous song (and a famous movie) that were known for their sense of romance called Moon Over Miami. So the notion was that Buffalo, New York is the dregs of the earth, forgive me New York citizens of Buffalo (laughs), and that this couple who were once great have been reduced to playing Private Lives and Cyrano de Bergerac. It’s meant to be ironic, and it was a title I came up with and it stuck, so I just left it at that.

MP: Moon Over Buffalo is the textbook definition of a farce; the mistaken identities, slamming the doors, all the plot twists. What in your opinion is the secret to writing a good farce?

Read more: Interview with Ken Ludwig

Auditioning for Moon Over Buffalo? Here are some things to think about

Before the audition: When you find out what play you are auditioning for, it can be helpful for actors to read the play in advance. Pre-reading the play will show you who the characters are, their relationships with each other and the movement of the play as a whole.

During the audition: Milton Players Theatre Group tends to audition using group cold reads. A cold read is when the director selects scenes that actors will not have had the opportunity to specifically prepare for. While it may seem daunting to walk in "blind" there are aspects of a cold read that can benefit the actors. Adrenalin is a mighty force that allows the actors to feel brave and push through nervousness or stage fright. A cold read can also make a performer more present and aware which can make for a more memorable and compelling impression on the director. Chemistry may be a difficult thing to achieve in a cold read but is very important when discovering which actors "fit" with other actors. At times chemistry can be the deciding factor for getting roles or waiting for your next audition. Listening to your fellow actor helps with chemistry because you will respond appropriately to the emotions that are being relayed. The simple act of eye contact with your acting partner also can increase connection in a scene. In general, if you show a sense of gladness to being a part of the process, are respectful to your fellow performers and have fun during your audition, you will have a great experience overall.

Break a leg!

Norm Foster Interview - part 2

A CONVERSATION WITH NORM FOSTER
Part 2 - Bedtime Stories

By Simon Chang



Norm Foster

When The Milton Players last spoke to Norm Foster in October 2013, the playwright was in the middle of prepping the world premiere of his then-newest project, A Snow White Christmas. The Players too, were equally busy at the time, gearing up for the production of Foster's show My Darling Judith. Quite happily, both parties found success that fall; "A Snow White Christmas was a hit," Foster reports, "We had a great cast who did a wonderful job." Meanwhile The Players landed the right mixture of comedy and drama in Judith, bringing in new audiences and kicking the season off on a strong note.

With Christmas completed, Foster's attention has turned to his newest shows in production, including The Gentleman Clothier at Lighthouse Festival Theatre in Port Dover and The Ladies Foursome at the Upper Canada Playhouse in Morrisburg, which Foster bills as "a female version of The Foursome only with a completely different story." For The Milton Players, Foster's witty dialogue and clever story construction are once again at the forefront as the season closes with the popular Bedtime Stories, a narrative told over the course of six intertwining vignettes. In the following interview Foster discusses the development of Bedtime Stories, how his radio career helped him in the world of theatre, adapting his shows for television and growing new audiences.

Milton Players: Bedtime Stories, from what I've seen on your website, gets performed an awful lot year-to-year.

Norm Foster: Yeah it does! I think it's because of the number of characters. Community theatre groups like to have as many actors as they can, and the beauty of Bedtime Stories is that it can be done with 5 or 6 minimum or it can be done with like 17 actors. I'm really happy that it gets done a lot, it's great.

MP: The opening vignette features a radio DJ trying to boost his career by having a couple have sex on air. I know that your career is also deeply steeped in radio.

Read more: Norm Foster Interview - part 2

Norm Foster Interview

A CONVERSATION WITH NORM FOSTER
Part 1 - My Darling Judith

By Simon Chang



Norm Foster

The Milton Players are no strangers to the works of Norm Foster. With his relatable characters, dialogue, and stories that mix comedy and poignant drama, Foster's writing style has found success in Milton, across Canada, and around the world. It's this acclaim that has contributed to an average of one hundred and fifty productions of his shows a year, and earned him the title of "Canada's Most-Produced Playwright." A sampling of Norm Foster shows The Milton Players have performed over the years includes Sinners, Here on the Flight Path, Drinking Alone, and Self-Help. That's out of a body of work that includes over fifty plays, written across three decades of experience in Canadian theatre. It's also a body of work that continues to grow. Having moved back to Fredericton, New Brunswick in September of 2012 after living in Ontario for over a decade, Foster has been busy writing and also acting in several new productions. Recently, he's found himself back in Ontario over the past summer, touring his play On A First Name Basis as the character of David Kilbride. As Foster puts it, "Since I moved back last September, I've been on the road for about six months. So I've hardly had any time back [in Fredericton] at all."

Despite this busy schedule, Norm Foster was gracious enough to spare some time and chat with us regarding our upcoming productions of his shows, My Darling Judith and Bedtime Stories, as well as his career. What follows is part 1 of that conversation, covering My Darling Judith. Part 2, with Bedtime Stories, will be released alongside that show's opening in spring of 2014.

Milton Players: You are a writer of comedies, but you do infuse them with drama. And it's not always the same degree of drama in every show. [For example] Self-Help is farcical, but then you take something like Melville Boys, and it's very dramatic. My Darling Judith falls in the middle. How much of that is pre-determined as you start the writing process?

Read more: Norm Foster Interview

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