We had a chance to sit with Diana (virtually) and talk to her about Ali and Ali: The Deportation Hearings, which she will be directing as the theatre’s reopening main stage show in April 2022. Here’s a quick look into her mind about this piece and why you should be excited about it.
What makes you excited about this play?
It’s just so well put together. I read a lot of plays, and some of them are just fun, some are really well put together, but it’s rare I find something that is so brilliant. Ali and Ali: The Deportation Hearings pokes fun at our society in ways that are very poignant, but also very familiar. It doesn’t just focus on any one particular issue, but goes out of its way to make sure everyone gets offended — nobody is left out, which also means everyone gets to be in on the joke. And that’s really the great part about it. It gives people like me, people of colour, a voice, a chance to tell their story. It invites the audience to listen and see the lives the characters have, but then to laugh alongside them regardless of background.
What kind of experience do you expect an actor to have while working on this piece?
I’m happy to take actors at all levels of experience, including none at all. What I really want is actors who are willing to step onto the stage, and step into a role that is humorous, but also covers some serious topics. I want actors who I can work with to really get into the material and work with the humour and topics together to create something really entertaining, but also really memorable.
How do the puppets fit in?
There are so many puppets! The puppets are great, and act as an extension of the piece and the actors to tell the story. There are things you can do with puppets that you just can’t do with people alone. They’re fun, they’re weird, and there’s just so many of them. I think everyone will really like the puppets.
What do you hope audience members will take away from this experience?
I hope audiences will take away a motivation to look at what they value. Not to negate what they value, but to encourage them to look at why they hold those values so dear. By allowing audience members to be in on the joke, and to laugh along with it, I hope they’ll really have a close look at our society and have a chance to really question what it is doing, and whether that is the way things should be.
Auditions for this show will be held January 25–27, 2022 and all actors for this show must identify as people of colour. See here for more information and to sign up. Or, if you’d like to get involved backstage in another way or have any other questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The production of a radio play has unique challenges compared to KWLT’s usual fare of stage plays. Let’s meet the intrepid production team who rose to those challenges.
Joe Gull (Director) began in musical theater in high school in 1993 with “Oklahoma”, and first ventured into community theater in Orillia with Mariposa Theatre’s productions of “South Pacific” and “Little Shop of Horrors”. After appearing in “Low Life’s” for Hamilton’s Staircase Theater Emerging artist series and then again in the Hamilton Fringe festival, the necessities of career forced him into a 10 year hiatus from theater. He returned in 2018 for TCP’s “Oliver” as Bill Sikes, then again in TCP’s 2019 production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” as one of Quasimodo’s gargoyles, then again in 2019 with TCP in “Calendar Girls”. Since the beginning of 2020, Joe has lent his voice to eight audio dramas productions with KWLT (“The Tragedy of Mariam”, “All Around the Square”) and ICHTHYS Theater (“The Velveteen Rabbit”, the Sherlock Holmes series), served as Assistant Director and Director for all five episodes of the “All Around The Square” series, appeared in the Ensemble for Playful Fox’s “Beauty and the Beast” and is set to return with Playful Fox again in the Canadian Premiere of “Murder On The Orient Express”.
Monica Maika (Stage Manager) has been involved with KWLT for the past three years, ever since moving back to Ontario. She has been onstage for KWLT but transitioned to behind-the-scenes work during the pandemic. She is happy to be involved in theatre in any form, even when it means keeping Joe on track and on time. She will be seen treading the boards again in Playful Fox’s upcoming production of “Miracle on 34th Street”. Thanks to Shawn for putting up with late night absences and the sounds of shouting coming from the zoom rehearsals.
Rob Curwain (Technical Director) is excited to be a part of “The Devil’s Disciple”. This is his first proper time with KWLT, after partially assisting in “All Around the Square”. You may have heard him as the Announcer in ICHTHYS Theatre’s Sherlock Holmes audio dramas, and he was recently on stage in Playful Fox’s production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”. Sit back and enjoy the madness that is “The Devil’s Disciple”!
At the start of “The Devil’s Disciple” we see the British army as monolithic, a looming offstage threat; by the third act we’re privy to their internal disputes. Here are the actors playing the redcoats:
Fred Brandenburg (General Burgoyne) is thrilled to be back with KWLT as General Burgoyne. Previous KWLT roles include Dragon in “Paper Bag Princess: the Musical”, and Saucy Jack in “Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens”. Big (virtual) hugs to director Joe (a.k.a. The Gargoyle), the entire team at KWLT and Her Worship for supporting Fred in his theatre addiction.
TJ Pelkman (Major Swindon) makes his theatrical debut in “The Devil’s Disciple” and he is thrilled to be a part of the production. When TJ isn’t fixing computers or painting tabletop miniatures he is playing drums or practicing Brazilian Jiujitsu. Being involved in this theatre production has given TJ more of an appreciation for movies and what it takes to be an actor.
Joseph A. Sebok (The Sergeant) grew up thinking his voice one day could be heard all over the world. As part of the cast of “The Devil’s Disciple”, he is extremely excited to have the opportunity to do so. He has also done Radio Dramas/Voice-Over work for OMT’s 2019 “Beauty and the Beast”, and with Playful Fox Productions from 2018–2021 as multiple characters from “A Christmas Carol”, “Dracula”, “Frankenstein”, and recently “The Importance of Being Earnest”. He is honoured to be a part of the Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre family, and hopes you enjoy the show.
“The Devil’s Disciple” is set in Websterbridge, New Hampshire; aside from the Dudgeons, the townsfolk we meet are largely divines and professionals. Let’s meet the actors playing them.
Lauren Kallan (Judith Anderson) is excited to be performing in her first leading role as Judith Anderson in ”The Devil’s Disciple”. A lifelong dancer and passionate advocate for the performing arts in education, she is looking forward to contributing to KWLT’s arts programming. Lauren would like to thank all of the cast and crew for their encouragement and warm welcome to the world of community theatre. She is also profoundly grateful to director Joe Gull and his faith in her. Lauren dedicates her performance this season to her daughter Aubrey.
Matt Walsh (Anthony Anderson) has been closely involved with KWLT for quite a few years, but this is his first major role in a production on stage, so to speak. He was previously a voice on the television in 2019’s “The December Man (l’homme de Décembre)” as well as being the show’s producer, and served as technical director for “Problem Child” & “Criminal Genius” earlier that year. He currently holds a ludicrous number of offices in the theatre; outside of KWLT he teaches math online for Purdue University Fort Wayne.
Joshua Jones (Chaplain Brudenell) is thrilled to be involved in “The Devil’s Disciple”. Joshua is a novice actor but has always found the theatre fascinating. He looks forward to stretching boundaries and pushing the limits. Enjoy the show!
Min Ling (Lawyer Hawkins) is thrilled to be involved with “The Devil’s Disciple”. You may recognize him as one of the voices from “The Tragedy of Mariam” or that foot that kicked down a door in “Criminal Genius”. He has also taken part in several other productions on and off stage, such as “The December Man (l’homme de Décembre)” and “Blood Relations”. He would like to thank his friends and family and childhood teddy bear for the support. Enjoy the show!
The action in Shaw’s The Devil’s Disciple starts with the Dudgeon family, solid and respectable citizens of the town of Websterbridge… except for one or two black sheep. Let’s meet the actors playing the members of the clan.
Greg Allen (Richard Dudgeon) is happy to be working on this wonderful show with a fabulous cast. He had a crack at the role of Dick Dudgeon years before at KWLT in a staged reading, and has enjoyed reprising the role. Greg was most recently seen on KWLT’s stage as Rudi in “East of Berlin”. Prior to that he played Jeremy Winthrop in Century Theatre Guild’s “Will You Still Love Me In The Morning?”, a British farce. A notable role for him was in KWLT’s “Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?”, where he played Nick, a biology professor who is tormented for an evening when a faculty party turns into a game of cat and mouse.
Lenore Brooks (Aunt Winnifred) is appearing for the first time as an actor at the KWLT. You can usually find her behind the scenes as the Vice President or designing sets or the new lobby refresh. She has enjoyed her time in the not so bright spotlight and may venture onto the stage again in the future.
When the opportunity to perform in “The Devil’s Disciple” arose, Charlie Griffin (Christy Dudgeon) just could not say “No”. This is Charlie’s debut in the audio only format, and with KWLT. In recent years, Charlie has performed in “Oliver!” and “Ragtime” on stage for TCP of New Hamburg. Special thanks to my wife and family for always looking out for my best interests. It is my sincerest wish that you may be inspired to act with passion in all that you do, just as the Devil’s Disciple does. And please, enjoy this classic as it’s retold through new vision!
Victoria Nagy (Essie) is extremely excited to be a part of the cast for “The Devil’s Disciple”. Her last role in community theatre was in high school – it’s great to be back in action! Thanks go out to her family and friends for their support, to her partner Brad for putting up with her accent practice and to her dog Ash for brightening up rehearsals (behind the scenes). On behalf of herself and the cast, please enjoy this amazing show!
Hamilton resident Katherine Taylor (Annie Dudgeon) has immensely enjoyed working with Joe and the cast on “The Devil’s Disciple”. Originally from Oxford, England, Katherine was involved in amateur dramatics for many years, everything from semi-professional Opera chorus, to Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, playing half of the comedy duo in Pantomimes and to singing with the altos in numerous choral works. However, she had not done any performing for almost 20 years until she responded to an audition announcement on Facebook in the Spring of 2021. Katherine is enormously grateful to her ever-patient and ultra-supportive husband Bruce and her Scottie dog Gina who doesn’t complain too loudly about the hours on Zoom!
Shaw’s script for The Devil’s Disciple includes long passages of commentary as part of the stage directions. He gives not just what the locales of the play look like, but what those features mean in their historical contexts; not just the costumes and actions of some of the characters, but deeper background about why they are the way they are. In an audio adaptation we would typically lose all of that information; to preserve it, the director decided to cast a pair of actors to read those notes as narration. Let’s meet them!
Kirsty Federico (British narrator) is delighted to continue acting with KWLT in The Devil’s Disciple as one of the narrators. Since joining KWLT, Kirsty has appeared in several productions: most recently as an ensemble member in All Around the Square. Of course, a great big thank you to my friends and family for continuing to support my participation in KWLT. Thank you to the cast and crew of The Devil’s Disciple for being such a fun group! We hope you enjoy the show as much as we enjoyed putting it together.
Natasha Visosky (American narrator) is over the moon to be joining such a magnificent team for her first radio play. She is also enraptured at the opportunity to join such a tradition as this: of marvellous and mysterious plays that takes place inside so many various minds, taking so many various forms, enlivening imaginations with the enchantment of youth and of a pre-digital age. She is passionate about exploring alternative ways of knowing in the theatre, whether classic or cutting edge. Here, we restore the bygone talent of stillness and extended spans of attention. She hopes we keep yours, and that you enjoy the show.