Tag Archives: Theatre

Writer Wendy Bain shows comedic flair in upcoming play ‘Old Frenemies’

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Wendy Bain

When Wendy Bain was just a school girl, her favorite subjects were English and Literature. From a young age, she was immersed in reading, growing her vocabulary and discovering the most eloquent way to portray her feelings. As a child, this meant writing short stories and joining the drama club to delve into the arts. Now, however, she has emerged as a leading script writer, and her love of words is the foundation of her passion for what she does.

Despite working on many successful projects in many genres, Bain is known for her talents as a comedic writer. She perfectly captures the situational humor in real-life scenarios, and connects with her audience. Stephanie Laing, an eight-time Emmy nominated and two-time Emmy award winning producer/director known for her work on HBO’s Veep, Vice Principals, Eastbound & Down, and Divorce, says Bain’s work is crucial to the work she does with her production company, PYPO Inc. The two are currently working on the first of many projects together called Clean.

“Wendy is essential to this project as she created this television series. I’ve known Wendy for over a year now. She has a distinct voice that taps into the zeitgeist of American comedy,” said Laing.

Despite such success and accolades, Bain considers the highlight of her career as writing the play Charlotte Davies Is to Blame for Everything. The play was selected for a new playing writing festival at the Rosemary Branch Theatre in Islington, London in 2012.

“Charlotte Davis is to blame for everything came from a very bad, wet week away in the midst of the Welsh countryside in the United Kingdom. My husband, Sam, had seen an article in the Telegraph newspaper about these luxury cottages in Wales and, knowing how much I love Wales and luxury, thought I’d like to stay there,” said Bain.

Similar to Bain’s experience, when her character Charlotte decides to go away with her husband, it does not go as planned. Charlotte’s wildlife documentary maker husband, Duncan takes Charlotte on a job with him to film the red squirrels in Wales. The cottage that is hired for them by the BBC is in the middle of nowhere, and unbeknownst to Charlotte, it is owned by her old nemesis, Lesley Irwin.

Things go from bad to worse when Charlotte sees that Lesley has married her ex-boyfriend Dewey. Meanwhile Lesley wants to sell the land the red squirrels live on to build more holiday cottages. Charlotte’s sure that Duncan’s still cheating on her. Dewey can’t believe the love of his life, Charlotte Davies, has returned after thirty years.

Severe flooding prevents Charlotte from leaving. The couples become trapped in the cottage together and all the truth comes out.

“It is a comedy based on my experience. I was horrified to find out the owner of the farm cottage we were staying in was my old frenemy from my teenage years that took my boyfriend off me,” Bain joked. “We just pretended not to know each other but the memories about her stealing my boyfriend, and how a close female friendship can flip into a vicious rivalry, came flooding back. I couldn’t wait to get out of cottage and back to London.”

Bain ended up injuring her knee, and like Charlotte, was trapped at the cottage and left to think about her old friend and the unresolved issues. The weekend, although displeasing at the time, provided Bain with the perfect inspiration for her play.

“When we got back to London I told my husband the real reason, as I had exaggerated my injury for us to leave sooner. He still finds it amusing. I found a great premise for a play and a way to process those old feelings,” she recalled.

The play was shown at The Rosemary Branch, Islington and Tristan Bates Theatre, Covent Garden in London. Upon its premiere, Bain was hailed as a ‘promising new playwright at a time when comedy wasn’t as popular as social issue lead drama in London.’ As Bain also has experience in acting, she played the lead of Charlotte Davies and the laughter from the play could be heard from corner of Shaftesbury Ave. Film critic Catherine Bray a follower of Wendy’s talent said on Twitter it had some of ‘the best one liners she heard in a while’.

“The script is laugh out loud funny and hits hard nail of truth with an anvil. Charlotte’s vain and witty has married the wrong man and that man has married the wrong sex. It’s a naturalistic comedy that leans towards farce at the end,” Bain described.

Bain is now bringing the acclaimed play to America. The name of play has changed to Old Frenemies, and will be put on at the Hollywood Fringe Festival next year. Although it is based in the countryside of Wales, Bain says it is more about an old friendship gone wrong. There’s also the added romance line of Charlotte and Geffen, who were childhood sweethearts and split apart by Lesley’s lies. Thirty years later they see the result of their choices from those teenage years. Charlotte also is dealing with the affairs of her closeted gay husband, portraying common marital and friendship issues on the stage.

“When Geffen says the sad line ‘The thing I loved the most about her was she reminded me of you’. It rings the end of a hollow marriage between him and thoroughly dislikeable Lesley,” Bain said.

In Old Frenemies, old and new secrets unravel about who did what to whom? Ending with some hilarious revelations and proving the old adage ‘it’s never too late’. Make sure to check it out at the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2018, and keep an eye out for more of Wendy Bain’s upcoming work.

 

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Actor Profile: Australian Heartthrob Andrew Steel


Andrew Steel
Andrew Steel shot by Az Jackson

Andrew Steel is the latest Australian actor for Hollywood to watch. With a background that includes Australia’s leading TV shows such as Home and Away and Deadbeat Dads, The Justice Lease as well as internationally renowned films including Twisted, Little Lies, Bargain and Super Awesome! Andrew has even graced the stage performing in major theatrical productions, including the rugby-themed 10,000 Beers and Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice.

Andrew is setting his sights on even bigger things, as he is set to star as the lead role of Stephen in the highly anticipated Picture Park Entertainment film, 10 Things I Hate About Life. 10 Things is a romantic comedy about a young woman and a young man falling in love with one another just as they are about to kill themselves. In this modern re-telling of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, our star-crossed lovers’ crazy shared experiences and similar emotional state forms a bond that draws them both into happiness and takes them on a rollercoaster ride of young love.

One of Canada’s Hottest Stars: Actress Jessica Huras

Over the last decade Canadian actress Jessica Huras has established herself as a sought after talent for high profile theater productions, TV shows and award-winning films. While her versatility and capacity for seamlessly tapping into even the most challenging roles have definitely helped her create the dazzling reputation she has today, it doesn’t hurt that she is undeniably beautiful as well.

Early on in her career Huras appeared on the two-time Gemini Award winning series This Is Wonderland. Shortly after she went on to guest star on the Lifetime TV series Missing alongside multi-award winning actress Vivica A. Fox. An investigative crime series that focuses on finding missing persons, Huras played the roles of Caroline Dunn and Luke Thompson, two characters who at first appear to be separate and unrelated, but over the course of the episode are revealed to be one in the same.

When it comes to choosing one role over another, Huras says, “I look for smart scripts that feel original in some way and that have interesting and complex roles for women.”

In Missing, Huras gives a heart wrenching performance as a transgendered college student who struggles to find his identity as a man born in a woman’s body, a challenging role that only further proves the actress’s affinity for tapping into complex characters.

Audiences across the world will also recognize Huras as Leandra from the first season of the hit television show Being Erica, where she starred alongside Erin Karpluk (Rookie Blue, Reasonable Doubt, Supernatural, Saving Hope, Flashpoint) and Reagan Pasternak (Masters of Sex, Heartland, Cake).

“This was a very theatrical role, allowing me to tap into my darker side and channel my inner Goth,” explains Huras about her character on the three-time Gemini Award and Leo Award winning series.

Similar to the way that Jamie Lee Curtis has become synonymous with the horror genre through her role as Laurie Strode in Halloween, Huras has also become something of a notable “scream queen” on film.

Through films like The Deadly Pledge where she played the role of Nikki Evans alongside Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester, James Isaac’s action packed 2006 horror film Skinwalkers, and NYC: Tornado Terror, Huras has displayed a rare talent for evoking fear within audiences through her believable performances.

Although she has carved out her place as an actress in film and television productions starring alongside some of the best in the industry, the silver screen has by no means taken away from her work as a dedicated performer in the theatre.

In 2009 Huras starred alongside Sebastien Heins from the TV series The Listener, Cracked and Darknet, and Mikaela Dyke from the films Blood Boars and Sight Unseen, in the production of David Levine’s “Reflections On Giving Birth to a Squid.” The production, which opened in Montreal and toured across Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Edmonton as part of the Fringe Festival, received the Centaur Award for Outstanding Production from the Montreal Fringe Festival.

In 2010 the actress also founded Heart in Hand Theater company in Toronto – a revolving collective producing rare plays in need of a comeback, as well as developing new works of their own. Through Heart in Hand, Huras has produced “The Commune,” “Cowboy Mouth” where she played the starring role of Cavale alongside Broken Social Scene member Jason Collett, and “Trout Stanley” where she played the role of Grace Ducharme.

About what drives her to perform, Huras says, “I love telling stories and sharing the human experience. I think it’s the most palpable way of connecting and it’s never dull, not for a second. I’m forever challenged and inspired in this field.”

With each of her characters being completely different from the next, Huras’s dedication to continually pushing herself beyond her comfort zone as an actress has allowed her to amass a wide range of roles on both the stage and screen.

With an astonishing career already under her belt and several productions being released this year, it is clear that we will be seeing a whole lot more of Jessica Huras for years to come. Currently, you can check Huras out in the role of Natalie on the History Channel series Gangland Undercover, which began airing in February. She also wrapped production on the films Anxietyville and Teeth earlier this year, both of which are set to debut later this year.