Curtains part for film noir-inspired play

The genre returns thanks to TRU’s performing arts department

Courtney Dickson, Arts & Entertainment Editor Ω

See Gossip and support students and the arts Oct. 10 to 12 and 17 to 19 at the Black Box Theatre. Courtney Dickson/The Omega

See Gossip and support students and the arts Oct. 10 to 12 and 17 to 19 at the Black Box Theatre. Courtney Dickson/The Omega

George F. Walker is widely regarded as Canada’s most prolific playwright. TRU’s Actors Workshop Theatre (TRU AWT) will be performing one of Walker’s film noir pieces on the stage beginning Oct. 10.

Gossip is the first play in the Power trilogy, introducing main character Tyrone Power as a powerless political journalist based out of a big city in Ontario. In Gossip, Power’s boss asks him to write more entertainment news, or “real news” as he prefers to call it, to appeal more to readers. When scandal arises, it’s up to Power to use investigative journalism to find out whodunit.

“Everyone has something over him and is trying to contro

l him in some way and he’s dealing with his frustrations over that,” said Gossip star and fourth-year theatre student Brooke Ballam. “It’s a bit of a caricature and we emphasize things that wouldn’t happen in real life, but I’m sure in real life it’s a bit of what journalists might go through.”

Students were cast prior to the summer break so TRU AWT could fit two plays into the first semester of the 2013 academic year. Students were asked to familiarize themselves with film noir, a genre of stylish drama that often revolves around crime and sex. Since returning to school, they’ve been rehearsing nearly every day for more than three hours at a time.

Director and theatre professor Robin Nichol chose Gossip in part because of the opportunities it provided for student involvement; almost all of the cast and crew are students. Walker is also one of her favourite playwrights.

“He’s funny in a dark, sarcastic way,” Nichol said.

Power (Brooke Ballam) and Baxter (Kory Cudmore) argue about the state of the news in TRU's upcoming production. Courtney Dickson/The Omega

Power (Brooke Ballam) and Baxter (Kory Cudmore) argue about the state of the news in TRU’s upcoming production. Courtney Dickson/The Omega

The revenue generated by box office sales is what the TRU AWT uses as a budget for their shows, so it’s important that theatre fans see the shows and support the program. Members of the community often come from off-campus to see these shows, but rarely do TRU students make it to see their fellow students perform. Nichol said she hopes to see more university students support the performing arts this year.

Theatre student Andrew Cooper also wants to see the university crowd out at this particular production, as “the satire and clever humour are perfect for this age group.”

“And if you need more motivation than that,” Cooper teased, “At one point, one of the actors is dressed up in a full French maid outfit.”

There will be six performances from Oct. 10 to 12 and 17 to 19 in the Black Box Theatre in Old Main, all beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12.