on May 26, 2016 by test_editor in Archive_2016, May, Print Articles, WEB-EXTRA content, Comments Off on May 26, 2016: Theatre Life Keeps West End Impresario Busy; Director David Whiteley pauses to chat.

May 26, 2016: Theatre Life Keeps West End Impresario Busy; Director David Whiteley pauses to chat.

May 26, 2016: Theatre Life Keeps West End Impresario Busy;
Director David Whiteley pauses to chat.

By Randy Kroeker.

Friday May 20 was a big night for Kitchissippi’s David Whiteley. It was the opening night of Plosive Productions’ Tony Award winning play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, by Christopher Durang.

Directing the play is the latest project of Kitchissippi Ward resident David Whiteley, a co-founder of Plosive Productions and current Season Coordinator of The Gladstone Theatre, where Plosive stages many of its productions. The current Gladstone season is being supported by several independent theatre companies in addition to Plosive Productions. These include SevenThirty Productions, Black Sheep Theatre, Bear and Company, and Three Sisters Theatre Company among others.

At 910 Gladstone Avenue, just west of Preston, the theatre itself is housed in the former home of the Great Canadian Theatre Company (GCTC). Originally a truck repair garage, it was beautifully transformed in 1982 for the GCTC which eventually moved to its Wellington West location in 2007, bringing a pronounced theatre presence into the heart of Ottawa’s Arts Quarter.

Plosive’s mission is “to produce the kind of works that Ottawa-Gatineau audiences want to see.” Queried on this provocative mission statement Whiteley explains that all other companies in town have mandates that constrain what they can produce. Plosive is uniquely “Audience First”, which permits them to present a Broadway smash hit comedy that other companies might avoid due to non-Canadian, or non-local, authorship or, to a lack of “academic seriousness.”

David himself is no stranger to “academic seriousness.” His credentials include the Ryerson Acting Program (1992), a B.A. in Theatre and Music from Guelph (1995), and a Masters in Directing from Université du Québec à Montréal (1998). David agreed to take a few questions during a recent break in preparations for ‘Vanya’ at The Gladstone.

NW: How long have you been a resident of Kitchissippi?
DW: I have been here since 2014 living at Young and Champagne in the Civic Hospital neighbourhood.

NW: Where do you buy your coffee?
DW: I brew Happy Goat at home and grab Bridgehead on the run.

NW: Why did your group choose this show?
DW: Its a great show. Funny, so well written but still has heart. Maybe not “artsy” enough for other companies, but just our sort of thing with roles for the entire production company. We knew we could do a bang up job with it.

NW: What’s your favorite scene?
DW: Hard to pick one but there is this one scene where Masha asks Spike to put some clothes on in a reverse strip tease. Its hilarious.”

NW: What scene was the most difficult to direct?
DW: There is a play within a play at the end and with that you are not sure what direction to give the cast, like, regarding how badly to act. I asked them to act the bad writing as if it was great. The actors came up with such perfect choices the scene turned into this amazing combination of heartwarming and hilarious. They make my job easy.”

The cast is comprised of several names familiar to Ottawa theatre goers, including Teri Loretto-Valentik (Masha), Mary Ellis (Sonia), Chris Ralph (Vanya), Drew Moore (Spike), Sarah Finn (Nina), and Beverley Wolfe (psychic cleaning lady).

Asked for concluding comments, ever the impresario, Whiteley replied, “The play has a hopeful message about three older siblings who learn from the younger characters to live more in the present and connect with each other, setting aside anxiety for the future and regret over the past.”

The show runs to June 5.

Ticket prices are $34, 65+ $30, and student/artist/unwaged $20, all fees and taxes in. For more information, visit http://thegladstone.ca/vanya-sonia-masha-spike.html .


Up on deck.

Photo Caption: Kitchissippi Ward’s David Whiteley ‘on deck’ inspecting the set in preparation for the opening of “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike”. Photos courtesy of Plosive Productions.


David’s Mugshot


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