When director Keir Malone set out to mount “Skin Flick” by Norm Foster for ACT (acronym for A Community Theatre), he faced a number of challenges.
He needed a performance space fit for the set requirements of the play that were “small and simple.”
“A stage like the Confederation Centre, the Carrefour or even The Guild would have been too large for this show,” says Malone, who was thrilled to learn that the Watermark Theatre in North Rustico was taking off-season bookings.
With its thrust stage, warm atmosphere and comfortable seating, the venue has become a favourite with theatregoers who come to watch its classic plays and concerts each summer.
For the very first time, ACT has rented the space.
“It’s perfect for this play. Having this compressed space almost puts people on top of each other. It makes the uncomfortable scenes more uncomfortable and it makes the intimate, quiet parts even better,” says Malone.
Actor Noah Nazim agrees.
“The wonderful thrust stage, which is almost in the round, is really quite riveting because the audience is just a couple of feet away.
“When you’re dealing with something that’s close to home like sexuality or death, it’s nice to be this close to the audience,” says Nazim of the comedy that runs April 19-21 and 26-28 beginning at 7:30 p.m. each night.
“Skin Flick” is about a middle-aged couple, Daphne and Rollie and their friend Alex, who find themselves out of work and out of luck. After accidently renting an X-rated movie at a video store, they get the idea to make their own adult film for some quick cash. The only problem is that none of them want to star in it, so when another person accidently arrives at the front door, their cast is set.
“It’s a tasteful farce about a distasteful subject,” says Malone, whose second challenge was choosing the actors.
That’s because playwright Norm Foster was very specific about the characteristics necessary for each role.
“Some need to be completely fearless and bold, others need to express a depth of emotion or a vulnerability. And I was lucky to have an amazing group of people come forward.”
The next challenge came about a month into rehearsals when the actor who played Rollie had to step out because he had an opportunity to do “something great.”
And, because it was so late in the process, Malone felt there was no other choice but to step in. He’s now directing and acting in the show.
Malone says it’s not been easy. His attention is split, and he’s slow at memorizing. “It’s been hell getting caught up.”
But, on the flip side, it’s added new drama and urgency to the rehearsals.
“Everyone else is on their toes, wanting to make sure that they can help me get caught up. It’s sharpened my focus as well as theirs.”
Feeling the positive energy and support from cast members, as he settles into his new role, Malone is looking forward to opening night.
“It’s going to be a great show.”
If you are going
- - What: “Skin Flick”.
- - When and where: April 19-21 and 26-28 at the Watermark Theatre, North Rustico at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: Available from https://www.ticketwizard.ca/