Deceit. Revenge. A dark and dreary plot to torture. Wine.
This Halloween tale fits the Okanagan like a costume fits the season and the woman behind the reading where all will be revealed seems to relish its dark, theatrical appeal.
“The main character in this story is publicly insulted by someone he considered to be a friend,” said Bonnie Gratz, professional actor and the talented pen-woman staging this adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Cask of The Amontillado.
For the non-oenophiles left in the region, an Amontillado is a type of sherry, and the one weakness this story’s antagonist, Fortunato, seems to possess. Everything comes easily to Fortunato, making it even more galling that he should spread horrible rumours and innuendo about the story’s main character, Montresor.
This is the tale of how Montresor gets revenge, and that’s about all one can reveal without unearthing how it ends.
The end of the story is really the beginning of Gratz hopes will play out for her in this city. While this reading will take place on the eve of Halloween (Oct. 30th), it’s really designed to introduce a new venue and her brand new professional theatre company, New Vintage Theatre Company.
Formerly a Calgary resident with Centre Stage Theatre Company, she’s now teaching at Bumbershoot Theatre, was recently in Waiting for the Parade, staged at Creekside Theatre, and otherwise travels from Vancouver to Calgary to work. In other words, she knows the area doesn’t have many opportunities for actors to find jobs.
Her dream is to create a professional theatre company in the area where actors can find consistent work and Okanagan residents can start to see the kind of professional calibre theatre on offer in major cities.
“I don’t want to come in and say, oh I’m the best. This is how it’s done. There is a lot of talent here,” she said. “But really, if you want to do this for a living, you have to leave the area.”
The company is starting basic. Each month, there will be a reading in the new Pulp Fiction Coffee House on Pandosy Street and she’s aiming to start a Playwright’s Hot House program in the new year to draw together playwrights and screenwriters the company might draw on.
New Vintage is already holding theatre classes for adults in the Rotary Centre for the Arts and the Mission, and these readings are free.
“We really want people to come out and meet us and see what’s out there,” said Gratz, noting the reading is the perfect opportunity.
Moving into 2013, she’s hoping to develop a program with some mainstream classic performances and some more new innovative work, staged in secret locations throughout the valley.
But for now, Pulp Fiction Coffee House has been a tremendous supporter and offered the young company space to develop an audience. Though only open a month, the bookshelf-laden coffee nook, dripping with theatrical kitsh appeal itself, has already hosted poetry readings and is keenly interested in connecting with the Okanagan arts scene.
For this performance, the company is asking that anyone who attends bring along a terrifying book—whether that’s a math textbook or a creepy crawly tale of Poe or Willliam Faulkner’s nature.
One can find out more about New Vintage Theatre Company at www.NewVintage.ca.
The Pulp Fiction Coffeehouse is located at 1598 Pandosy Street on the corner of Lawrence and Pandosy avenues. The reading will begin at 7 pm. on Tuesday, Oct. 30 and is free. Anyone interested is asked to RSVP to info@NewVintage.ca