Entries in Canadian theatre (4)


The Selkie Wife opens this week at the Apollo Theatre of the Isle of Wight

Follow the blog from this wonderful UK premiere of my play The Selkie Wife. 


From the Apollo web page:

Our director introduces.....The Selkie Wife.

The next production at the Apollo Theatre will be ‘The Selkie Wife’, a play by Canadian author Kelley Jo Burke.  Her work is well known in her home country but the Apollo is proud and delighted to announce that this will be the UK premiere of this particular play.
The director is Ginnie Orrey.  More usually seen on the Apollo stage, Ginnie has chosen to direct this complex and beautifully written play after seeing it in a tiny theatre on the Canadian prairies and subsequently meeting the author, who is ‘absolutely thrilled’ that her play will be travelling to the Isle of Wight.  She found her inspiration in the Celtic myth of ‘selkies’ – seals who shed their sealskins to come on to dry land, find a mate and have children and then return to the sea.  Kelley Jo has turned the myth on its head by focusing on a selkie who chooses to keep her human form and stay on land with her husband and family, and the difficult decisions she has to make when another selkie comes to take her back to the water.
The cast includes Apollo stalwarts Ian Moth and Sue Edwards, alongside relative newcomers Esther Poucher and Maureen Sullivan, and introduces Josh Pointing, from the Isle of Wight Shakespeare Company. 
‘The Selkie Wife’ opens on 21 October and runs to 29 October.



Last weekend: The Lucky Ones by Kelley Jo Burke at Dancing Sky Theatre in Meacham

We're heading into our final weekend of The Lucky Ones!
Meals are sold out for Sunday May 3, and it looks like only one meal left for Saturday May 2.
There are still meals available on Friday May 1.

Call 306-384-7727, or visit dancingskytheatre.com to book tickets!


Review: The Lucky Ones, Cam Fuller, Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Flawed characters find each other

Well, it's not The Notebook.

The Nicholas Sparks tearjerker about a lifetime romance doesn't allude to the Inuit creation myth of Sedna.

The Lucky Ones does. Writer Kelley Jo Burke uses the rather disturbing story of the undersea goddess to poetically describe Enid's unique personality and the way she needs to be off in her own world, much to the frequent dismay of her husband, Marty. He's an obituary writer, of all things. She's - I missed it - an anthropologist? A folklorist?

The play begins with Enid's stroke. After many years of marriage, there are still some things that Marty needs to know, and he's not letting Enid duck out on him without some answers. (Burke doesn't load the deck in her favour with sentimentality but does get the emotional hooks into you by the climactic final speech.)

The new play at Dancing Sky Theatre makes many more demands on the viewer than would a shiny-perfect Hollywood movie.

The characters are not easy to warm up to, for starters. Marty (Sean Hoy) and Enid (Louisa Ferguson) are misfits with traumatic pasts.

Marty spent years tending to an ill mother who told him that as long as he made her laugh, she'd live. The day he couldn't think of anything funny, she died.

Enid's background is even more unsettling, a disturbing tale of sexual identity, parental hysteria and what amounts to torture.

It would be nice to actually like them, but Marty's clinging and insecurities put you on edge and Enid's fragility is unsettling.

You have to approach both gingerly.

This being an Angus Fergusondirected play, you can expect pleasing theatricality and artfully simple solutions to portraying difficult things.

Like, how does a person in a coma participate in a conversation? Or what's the best way to depict lovemaking without it turning into sex-ed?

Live music, another Dancing Sky hallmark, is here performed by Ross Nykiforuk, employing a variety of keyboard sounds (including some notes from Supertramp's Goodbye Stranger at a highly appropriate moment.)

But what really stands out is the acting, from the chemistry which is good, to the memory work which is monumental.

It's hard to believe that it's been seven years since Hoy trod the boards. His every-guy-ness is as warm as always.

And Louisa Ferguson's performance is stunningly accomplished, truly one of the best of the season. She invests completely in the role, fully inhabits this difficult woman and fathoms the depths with convincing emotions.

The Lucky Ones may not be a play you reflexively like but it's one that's impossible not to appreciate.


Dancing Sky Theatre, Meacham To May 3, Thursdays through Sundays


Lookingglass, a new work in progress by Kelley Jo Burke, U of R, April 3-5


By Kelley Jo Burke

April 3-5, 7:30 PM

Shu-box Theatre, University of Regina

Those in the Regina area are invited to my new work in progress, Lookingglass, being staged by the 4th year graduating class of the University of Regina Theatre Department, directed by Kathryn Bracht.