Going to the theatre to watch a live performance is one of life’s great pleasures. It can transport you to a wonderful, magical world away from the realities of your everyday life. The good news is, if you live in the Durham Region, you don’t have to go through the hassle of driving into Toronto to see quality theatre. A recent performance of George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalian” at The Oshawa Little Theatre was more than enough proof of that.
It was obvious from the second the lights dimmed that this performance would be one to be remembered. The sets, the costumes and the performers were outstanding.
After the performance, Deborah Lobban (Jamieson), who played Mrs. Higgins for this production, shared some of her experience with theatre in the Durham Region. Deborah has been acting since she was seven. She went on to earn her BFA (University of Windsor) and MA (U. of T.). She played Christopher Lloyd’s wife in the feature film “Dinner At Fred’s“, and had speaking roles in “A Map of the World” with Sigourney Weaver, and “Caveman’s Valentine” with Samuel L. Jackson. Remember Oatmeal Crisp TV commericals,
“It’s a bonny cereal, but it’s not oatmeal!” (said with a thick Scottish accent). Deborah played the server who brought the leading man and his father two bowls of milk for their cereal. (“That’s nay real oatmeal! Real oatmeal’s so thick, you couldna dent it with a five iron!) and was also in various commercials for Visa, Campbell’s Soup, Tim Horton’s, House coffee and Nabob coffee. She also played Annie Wilkes in the North-American premiere of a British play based on Stephen King’s novel “Misery“. And yes, this is the role that Kathy Bates made famous…the ‘crazy nurse’ who tortures her favourite author. This was a professional production in Montreal in 1997 and she then went on to play the same role in a touring company in New Brunswick opposite C. David Johnson, star of Street Legal. Perhaps you would remember Deborah best for her role as Doris Bell, the school secretary in Degrassi Junior High.
Deborah explained some of the reasons that the “Pygmalion” production was such high quality.
“Kim Blanusa, who designed the set and costumes for “Pygmalion“, as well as supervising Hair and Makeup for the play, did a great deal of research to make the costumes, hats and hairstyles authentic. She based many of her designs on the fashions of the ladies who sailed on the Titanic. In fact, the final hat that I wore was based on a photo of a person who actually sailed on the Titanic! (Deborah showed me the photo!!)
When the director, Robert Calvert, sent out the call for auditions, he made sure that anyone auditioning had to know how to do the accents required (Cockney and upper-class English). I have a very good ear and have loved accents for many years, so I helped actors when I heard any challenges in their dialects, and Robert called in a friend who was also great with accents, to just ‘give a listen’ as well.
The calibre of actors in the Durham area is extremely high. I have been privileged to work with some great talents here, and we have had a wonderful time. In professional theatre, rehearsals are intense (maybe three weeks of rehearsals before a play opens, working almost every day). With community theatre, the rehearsals are extended over several months, since we work only three nights a week for the better part of those months. However, the same analysis of roles, etc., takes place and the reward is the same: being able to entertain an audience.”
Deborah’s Durham experience has included roles in Doubt (Durham Shoestring Players), Jane Eyre (Whitby Courthouse) as well as Cemetery Club, Arsenic and Old Lace, Play On! and now Pygmalion at the Oshawa Little Theatre. You will find her next at the Whitby Courthouse Theatre where she well portray Fraulein Schultz, the second female lead in the musical Cabaret. Directed by Debra Smith, Produced and with Musical Direction by Ted Niles, it opens January 31 and runs until February 16, 2013.
For more information on any of the theatre productions in the Durham Region please click on their links below.
The Oshawa Little Theatre in Oshawa
Town Hall 1873 Theatre in Port Perry
The Herongate Barn Theatre in Pickering
The Whitby Courthouse Theatre in Whitby
On Stage Uxbridge Theatre in Uxbridge
Class Act Dinner Theatre in Whitby
The Regent Theatre in Oshawa
Driftwood Theatre Group – Trafalgar 24 –Trafalgar Castle, 401 Reynolds Street, Whitby, Ontario
Durham Shoestring Performers in Oshawa
Clearly there’s no shortage of terrific theatre close to home so forget about fighting the traffic and finding a parking spot that you won’t have to mortgage the house for. Stay right here in the Durham Region and wait for the curtain to rise.