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The Hound of Ulster

This talented local company…wheels wildly between irreverent humour and reverence for the source material of Irish myths in this draining, exhilarating 75-minute dramedy… – Winnipeg Free Press

Performed with boundless enthusiasm… A heady mix of blood, sweat, tears and laughter, Ulster isn’t for the faint of heart. But if you’re open to its folklore-nerd charms, it’s darn good fun. – CBC

The Hound of Ulster was based on the legend of Cúchulainn, a figure in Celtic mythology. Cúchulainn is the greatest warrior in all of Ireland, because when he fights, he undergoes a “warp-spasm” – a terrifying berserker rage that transforms him into a mad, unstoppable beast. He has the love of a good woman and a steady military career, but can he keep his two selves separate forever?

This was by far the darkest piece we’ve ever done. We wanted to explore the cult of celebrity surrounding Cúchulainn, and the isolation he felt as a result. We also explored the glorification of war. Because these themes are still very timely, and we wanted to confront the audience with that fact, we cultivated a more modern aesthetic style than ever before. Our costumes were inspired by military fatigues, and we performed in a basement, surrounded by concrete. The only aesthetic nod to the story’s mythological origins were swirling blue Celtic warrior-style tattoos that we applied to our faces and arms.

The Hound of Ulster will be our last show for the foreseeable future, as our founding members have all moved to different cities to further their education. But we were very glad to be able to put on one last show before that happened, and we think we went out with a bang.

L-R: Connla (Dan Augusta), Medb (Jessy Ardern), Cúchulainn (Ariel Levine), and Emer (Michelle Arentsen)

L-R: Connla (Dan Augusta), Medb (Jessy Ardern), Cúchulainn (Ariel Levine), and Emer (Michelle Arentsen)


Winnipeg Fringe 2013

We are very pleased to announce that we will be participating in the Winnipeg Fringe Festival for the sixth time this summer! The Hound of Ulster is based on a warrior of Celtic legend named Cuchulainn (pronounced cu-khoo-lun, with phlegm, or simply cu-coo-lun).

Cuchulainn is destined to be the greatest warrior Ireland has ever seen, because when he fights, he suffers a terrible “warp-spasm”, transforming into a ferocious, unthinking monster known as The Hound. He has a steady military job, the love of a good woman (the Best of Women, in fact,) and everything seems to be going his way. But what will happen when the consequences of his actions come back to haunt him? And are they really his actions, or The Hound’s?

The Hound of Ulster will play in The RAW Gallery (Venue #19), in the basement of 290 McDermot Ave. Show times are as follows:

Wed July 17, 7:00 PM
Thu July 18, 7:00 PM
Fri July 19, 9:00 PM
Sat July 20, 9:00 PM
Sun July 21, 2:00 PM
Tue July 23, 9:00 PM
Wed July 24, 7:00 PM
Thu July 25, 9:00 PM
Fri July 26, 7:00 PM
Sat July 27, 9:00 PM
Sun July 28, 7:00 PM


The Hound of Ulster Facebook event

Struts & Frets Players on Facebook

Winnipeg Fringe show listings

Fretful Porpentine Productions presents “Oedipus the King”

In just over two weeks, our very own Jessy Ardern and Ariel Levine will present Oedipus the King, an independent production they directed featuring a talented teenage cast!

Oidípous, meaning “swollen foot”, was a mythical Greek king of Thebes. A tragic hero in Greek mythology, Oedipus fulfilled a prophecy that said he would kill his father and marry his mother, and thereby brought disaster on his city and family. The story of Oedipus is the subject of Sophocles’s tragedy Oedipus the King, which was followed by Oedipus at Colonus and then Antigone. Together, these plays make up Sophocles’s three Theban plays. Oedipus represents two enduring themes of Greek myth and drama: the flawed nature of humanity and an individual’s powerlessness against the course of destiny in a harsh universe. – Wikipedia

70 Albert St.
Studio 320, 3rd floor

Saturday, February 16 – 8pm
Sunday, February 17 – 2pm and 8pm
Monday, February 18 – 8pm

Tickets $10 general / $8 students

Facebook event page

“Cupid and Psyche” Info for Winnipeg and Saskatoon

We are pleased to announce that this summer we will finally be taking our show on the road! After premiering Cupid and Psyche at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, we’ll be coming to Saskatoon’s PotashCorp Fringe Theatre Festival as well!

The Winnipeg Fringe runs July 18-29, and we will be performing at the Rudolf Rocker Cultural Centre, located at 91 Albert St.

The Saskatoon Fringe runs August 2-11, and we will be performing at Oskayak High School Gym, located at 919 Broadway Ave.

Full show info and advance tickets: Winnipeg / Saskatoon

Links to the Facebook events: Winnipeg / Saskatoon

We hope to see you there!

“Cupid and Psyche” Fundraiser

This Friday (June 29) at Manitoba Theatre for Young People, we hosting a fundraiser for our upcoming show Cupid and Psyche! There will be a reading of our very first show, Perseus and Medusa, a preview of Cupid and Psyche, and previews of three other shows by our talented Fringing friends:

  • “The Anger in Ernest and Ernestine” by Robert Morgan, Martha Ross, and Leah Cherniak, presented by inspired I theatre
  • “Antigone” by Sophocles, presented by This Reality Theatre Company
  • “Against the Wall” by Primrose Madayag Knazan, presented by Prairie Q Productions

There will also be refreshments, displays of masks ‘n things from our past shows, finger puppets with which to play, and even a raffle!

The event is titled “A Fringe-mas Carol, or, Gorgon’s Head Revisited, or What You Will, or Four Silly People Take Your Money”. It will take place in Richardson Hall at Shaw Performing Arts Centre (aka Manitoba Theatre for Young People), located at 2 Forks Market Rd. Doors open at 6:30; entertainment starts at 7:00 (but there will be plenty to take in before that). Admission is $10 at the door.

If you like, you can RSVP to the Facebook event.

“Vucub Caquix and the Hero Twins” – Presented by ComedyFest

As we mentioned before, we will be presenting a short piece at the media launch of the 2012 CBC Winnipeg Comedy Fest. With “Mayan legends” as our theme, we chose the hilariously harrowing story of the heroic (but terrible at horticulture) twins who must defeat the demon that usurped the crown of the Sun. Come for the puns, stay for the bo-staff-versus-obsidian-studded-paddle fight.

The event will take place Wednesday, February 22, 11:00 AM at the Gas Station Arts Centre on River & Osborne.

Congratulations Are In Order!

We are proud to say that Sigurd the Dragonslayer was another success for the Struts and Frets Players. We clinched the Best of Fest honour for the third time in four years, and have been flattered by some great positive feedback by audience members. Some choice accolades include:

“Struts and Frets astutely pull together their own special take on Sigurd’s portion of the saga, where pop-culture references abound and a laugh is always around the corner. – Barb Stewart in her review for the Winnipeg Free Press

“The magic in this exciting production lies in how this story is told. The story comes to life through a combination of puppetry, props, visual projection, live actors and humour. I liked the attitude these young actors add to this old tale…I highly recommend that you go and see this show.” – Justin Olynyk in a review on his blog, Winnipeg Theatre

But we are especially thrilled to announce that our very own Ariel Levine and Jessy Ardern, who wrote the script together, won the Harry Rintoul Memorial Award! This is an award given out every year by the Fringe Festival for the best original script by a Manitoba writer, and we are very proud of the recognition. And to top it off, they are the youngest recipients of the award yet.

Thank you to everyone who came out to support this madcap scheme our latest production. We will be sure to keep you apprised of our next big adventure.