Review and photos by Mike Tombs
(July 30 BALA) Kira Hall, playwright and actor, with the support of Actors Colony Theatre, presented her creative work “Paleoncology”, the opening play of the 2015 ACT season Wednesday evening at Bala United Church.
Before this powerful performance, a mix and mingle session was held outdoors where food and refreshments were made available for patrons. Catered by Cottage Cravings of Bala, a splendid assortment of delicious cuisine was provided for all to sample. Henny and Randy Brown, the culinary wizards behind the tasty offerings, have been catering this yearly event for the past four years now with great success.
NOTE: See Paleoncology Wednesday through Saturday nights until August 8. All performances at 7:30pm Bala United Church. Click here for tickets.
Eva Moore, Artistic Director and Producer of ACT, talked to the crowd about the history and foundation of theatre in the Bala area. The big news; however, came when Moore announced that as of 2016, ACT will officially have a new home theatre, “all by the grace of an angel”. That angel, when summoned, was Greg Knight of Torrance, owner of Clear Lake Village Resort. Knight then revealed an artist’s rendering of the new theatre to be at the corner of Southwood and Torrance Roads and Muskoka Road 169.
Knight: Next home to Actors’ Colony Theatre to be in Torrance
After a solid round of applause in regards to the gracious donation and gift from Knight, Moore then asked Muskoka Lakes Mayor Don Furniss to join her. Mayor Furniss spoke to the “vision to bring back live theatre once again” as well as stating that this development “is a fantastic addition and will add permanence to Act’s future”. In closing Moore once more thanked Knight and spoke about the upcoming play, saying it “is both powerful and important.” As the lights came up on stage, we soon learned Moore’s
description was right on the mark.
Enter the world of Paleoncology
The lights go down, darkness prevails, and the only sound heard is the anxious breathing of the audience. Lights go up, and the only visible action is the subtle movement of a stuffed dinosaur puppet. Dressed in a green and yellow dinosaur costume, Hall makes her appearance from behind the stuffed character representations and walks to the front of the stage.
Now begins the story of a young woman faced with the impending death of her idol, her brother who is afflicted by cancer. Immediately you are pulled into a tale of hope, frustration and tears, an emotional rollercoaster ride that spans the full spectrum from anger to empathy. Throughout the performance Hall expertly guides the audience through the struggles the character Lee is faced with, and broken into three distinct conversations using simple props. A counselor named Tammy, her Mom and Dad, but most importantly, her brother Daniel, build a story that touches the heart and stimulates the mind.
Conversations held with these imaginary characters personify them, and help the audience feel, think and be touched immensely by the stark reality that cancer has on a family. In the moments of silence on stage you could sense the intense anticipation of the audience, waiting for more, completely focused on this creative and profound artistic masterpiece.
Suspenseful, heart breaking, hopeful and confused, Hall gives life to the character Lee, with an acting skill and writing genius that is intense and believable. You can see, taste and feel the gamut of true emotion, and the plight of the main character Lee, who seems to be trapped inside an emotional wall struggling to understand and accept her brother Daniel’s life choices.
A must-see experience
This “powerful and important” play is a must see and should be added to your itinerary. It’s an amazing artistic script and performance that will challenge your senses and tug at your heartstrings.
After the show Hall stated that her creative work is not derived from “personal experience and is not an autobiography” and mentioned that right now she is focused
on finishing this tour. Her future plans include two film presentations she is involved in as well.
Paleoncology runs from July 29th until August 8th at the Bala United Church, 3151 Muskoka Road 169, Wednesdays through Saturdays, beginning at 7:30 pm nightly. For more information on this superb play, visit the Actors’ Colony Theatre website http://www.newact.ca where you can also buy tickets to this fantastic one-woman show.
Actors’ Colony Theatre kicks off fifth season with Paleoncology
(July 25 2pm BALA – Press Release) Actors’ Colony Theatre proudly kicks off its fifth season in Bala with an award-winning show written and performed by former company member Kira Hall.
Paleoncology is a smart, heartbreaking, darkly funny solo show that tells the story of a young woman whose brother is dying of cancer. To deal with her feelings about the impending loss – or rather, to avoid dealing with them – she turns to her childhood passion: dinosaurs.
With the help of stuffed dinosaur puppets, educational overhead projections, and an unseen therapist named, we see her struggle to find herself when her world starts falling apart around her.
In summer 2014, Paleoncology completed its first run of the show in the form of a cross-Canada tour, receiving rave reviews in Montreal, Calgary, Victoria, Vancouver and Yellowknife, NWT. Besides strong critical acclaim, Paleoncology was one of CBC Canada Writes’ Top Ten Must-See Canadian Fringe Shows of 2014, and has enjoyed multiple sold-out performances. It also won Best Solo Theatre Production in Montreal, Favourite Drama from the Victoria Fringe, and Talk of the Fringe in Vancouver Fringe Festival and Plank Magazine.
Paleoncology is touring Ontario this summer, playing in Stratford, London, and several other locations before arriving in Bala for a two week run with Actors’ Colony Theatre. Opening on July 29, Paleoncology will run Wednesday – Saturday until August 8, at Bala United Church. Performances are at 7:30pm and tickets my be purchased online at actorscolonytheatre.com or at the door, 30 minutes before performance.
For further information contact:
- Eva Moore, Artistic Director
- Actors’ Colony Theatre
- M: 705 641 2949 E: firstname.lastname@example.org