Posts tagged ‘best of fest’

Sigurd the Dragonslayer

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. – Winnipeg Free Press

Sigurd the Dragonslayer was an adaptation of part of the Norse Völsungasaga, the saga of three generations of heroes in the clan Völsung. This is the story that inspired Wagner’s Ring Cycle operas, large parts of the Lord of the Rings mythos, and the Looney Tunes sketch What’s Opera, Doc?.

In the section, our hero Sigurd is trained by his foster father Regin to slay Regin’s brother Fafnir, who has gone mad with greed and turned into a terrible dragon. After Sigurd kills Fafnir, Regin betrays him, and Sigurd kills him too. Now completely alone, he sets off to seek his place in the world. He rescues Brynhild the Valkyrie, and finds first hospitality, then betrayal in the royal hall of the Niflung clan.

For this production, we were joined by our very clever and talented friends Michael Ostry and Hailley Rhoda. Stylistically, we continued to mix and match various design and writing elements: full-colour, translucent plastic shadow puppets; story theatre; our house blend of corny jokes and pathos. Script-wise, we really wanted to focus on the relationship between Sigurd and Brynhild, as well as Sigurd’s personal growth over the course of the story, building on our success with writing the character of Gilgamesh the year before.

For our efforts, we were rewarded with the Best of Fest honour for the third time in four years, and Ariel and Jessy jointly won the Harry S. Rintoul Memorial Award. This is an award given out every year by the Winnipeg Fringe Festival for the best new original script by a Manitoba author. Huzzah!

Pictures below the fold.



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.


Thanks to clever segues and the actors’ spot-on timing, this complex production never overwhelms. Not a minute is wasted. [4 stars] – Winnipeg Free Press

This year, we decided to depart from Greek mythology and try something a little different. We settled on The Epic of Gilgamesh as the perfect way to challenge ourselves further.

The Epic of Gilgamesh is the oldest written story in recorded history, originally carved on honest-to-goodness clay tablets. (Which made the adaptation process difficult – the tablets are so old that there are quite literally holes in the story.) It’s an ancient Mesopotamian legend about Gilgamesh, the semi-divine King of Uruk. After Gilgamesh spurns the advances of Ishtar, the goddess of love, she takes revenge by striking ill his companion Enkidu, the newly-civilized wild man of the woods. Gilgamesh watches in horror as Enkidu grows weaker and weaker, and then dies. Having never experienced the death of a loved one, Gilgamesh is horrified, and vows that this will never happen to him. He sets out to find Utnapishtim the Immortal and learn the secret of eternal life.

In rehearsals, we continued to develop our own distinctive style, and brought back techniques we’ve used in the past. We kept the convention of using masks for the non-human characters. We brought back the shadow puppet screen and created a new host of shadow puppets, but with the addition of panels of coloured cellophane to lend them more character and versatility. The major stylistic difference was in the writing; we abandoned story theatre (where characters narrate their own actions and private thoughts) in favour of a single narrator, Utnapishtim.

Gilgamesh was our most mature, dramatic script yet. We took a risk by moving even further away from straight comedy, which comes easier to us, and it paid off. We won Best of Fest for the second time in three years, and we’ve received more recognition for this show than any other so far.

Two pictures below the fold.


“Gilgamesh” wins Best of Fest!

Exciting news! Since “Gilgamesh” was one of the top two ticket-sellers at our venue this year, we have won the coveted Best of Fest honour for the second time in three years, and have been granted an EXTRA SHOW. This will take place on the last day of the festival: Sunday, July 25 at 2:30 PM. The venue is the Playhouse Studio, 180 Market Ave. (entrance off Main St.)

Many thanks to all those who have already come out to support the show, friends and strangers alike. The praise we’ve received for it is very flattering indeed. We’re very glad you enjoyed it.

Perseus & Medusa

Perseus & Medusa was our very first show as a company. For a couple of us, it was our first paying gig.

P&M was an adaptation of the classical Greek myth, incorporating masks, shadow puppets and story theatre. It documents the tale of Perseus, a champion from the small island of Seriphos, chosen by Athena to slay the gorgon Medusa, a monster so terrible that all who look on her are turned instantly to stone. Of course, Perseus has extra motivation given that King Polydectes has told him that he wants the Gorgon’s head for a wedding present, and Perseus must retrieve it on pain of death. Except that unbeknownst to Perseus, the King’s marriage to “Princess Hippodamia” is a sham; he really wants to marry Perseus’s mom. Yeah.

The show was written and produced by the newly-formed company for the 2008 Winnipeg Fringe Festival. It incorporated mask work, story theatre and shadow puppets. This formed a blend of elements with which we were familiar and those which were new to us; perfect for our first show as a professional company.

There are a lot of funnybones on that stage. These actors have great timing and know how to deliver a comic line, which they do, one right after another. S&F Players recommends it especially for kids, but this teenage troupe has pulled off the trick of mounting a production that defies any age limit for the audience. [5 stars] – Winnipeg Free Press

All things considered, it was one heck of a maiden voyage.

Athena (Kerri) and Hermes (Dan) send Perseus (Ariel) to find Medusa.

Perseus and one of the Nymphs (Kerri Potter).

The masks of the three Graeae (three sisters so old they have only one eye and one tooth to share between them) and Medusa.