Meet Gilles Zolty, our Sound Designer

Biography Gilles Zolty(1)

Gilles is super excited to be working with the beautiful Stop Kiss team on his first Live Five production. Since 2007 he has composed and sound designed over 20 theatre productions. This past season Gilles worked on My ChernobylA Man A FishThe Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon (Persephone Theatre) and La Chambre Blanche (La Troupe du Jour). Gilles also has film scored several films and performs music as a solo artist.

What about this play resonates with you?
I love the fact that Stop Kiss manages to make me laugh and cry in a single breath. It’s messy, snotty and wonderful.

Having family and friends that are victims of this kind of abuse makes being part of this show intensely important and moving.
What do you do to prepare for your role (or for this production specifically)?IMG_1765
I start by drawing/scoring from the script and Director’s vision but the true possession/engagement happens with actors and the rest of the design team.
What does community engagement mean to you?
We are all a collective and being part of it is where inspiration lives.

It been wonderful sitting in a few of the after-show talks listening to people stories and perspectives in Saskatoon.

Meet Chris Donlevy, our Peter in Stop Kiss

BiographyChris Donlevy(1)

Born and raised in Saskatoon, Chris is thrilled to be a part of his first show with Live Five and second with Embrace Theatre. Since receiving his BFA in Drama from the U of S, Chris has been exploring many paths in performance, including voiceover, directing, composing music, as well as singing opera. He was previously seen in The Composer is Dead (Saskatoon Symphony), Bottome’s Dreame (Embrace Theatre), Carmen (Saskatoon Opera), and Into the Woods (Greystone Theatre). Upcoming performances include singing in the Saskatoon Music Festival, Candide (Opera Nuova), Saskatchewan Oudoors: A Touring Play for Families (Embrace Theatre) and Blood in the Dust (Neverending Highway).

What about this play resonates with you?

The first thing that resonated was the humour: it wasn’t a typical “set up then punch line” comedy, but rather a human, organic “two people connecting” humour that I know from experience is difficult to write. It was so authentic, that I could immediately believe these two characters would fall for each other, and I was rooting for them getting together right from the opening scene. Then the next scene elapsed, and I was immediately terrified of getting what I was rooting for. The characters are amazing and nuanced, and the story structure knocks me off my feet.
What also resonates with me is the depiction of the trials women and the queer community can encounter in the event of being attacked, or simply by being a woman and/or a member of the queer community: It’s very sad, to say the least. As well, the fact that the play focuses on the romance between these two women makes these obstacles even more egregious, as they’re trying to step on their love. However (and this is a favourite part) none of the characters are overtly evil “moustache-twirlers”, which makes these transgressors human as well. There’s a love by the playwright for everyone in this play, even if the characters aren’t so generous with one another at all times.

What do you do to prepare for a role (or this role specifically)?

Kitchen Jams - The Stop Kiss Theme Song

Kitchen Jams – The Stop Kiss Theme Song

I start with reading the play many times then doing some table work (macro objectives, etc). I then generally over think it, which is to say I dive into what the character thinks of a multitude of things, some of which aren’t even represented onstage/in the context of the play. I usually begin with topics that are important to me, and I try to find common ground between myself and the character: sympathy with my character is key. When that’s established, I move on to key differences between them and me. I then think about how they would move, speak, and react within the context of the play, journal as my character, write a bio, nail down a belief system, etc. Then I hit the point in my process where I decide to stop trying so hard, relax into the character, and just work toward reacting with my fellow actors in the cast. Also, my character is shaped by how my cast mates’ characters are reacting to me: if I take that into consideration I can better fit into the story and contribute to the ensemble.

What does community engagement mean to you?

If theatre is about creating resonance between an audience/performer and text, I believe community engagement is about sustaining that resonance beyond the theatre space. We, as artists, tell stories, and I personally know that there are countless stories like that of Stop Kiss in the real world with similar endings to this one. By engaging in the community, we can hope to extend the sensation of rooting for these love stories into the communities in which we live, and to extend the sensation of loss we feel when an attack like the one in the play harms the potential of these relationships.

 

Read more about Embrace Theatre’s production of Stop Kiss by Diana Son

Read about the rest of the Cast and Creative Team of Stop Kiss FINAL-stopkisshandbill-front

 

Meet Carol Wylie, our Mrs. Winsley/Nurse in Stop Kiss

“May we all be free, to love.”

Carol Wylie

Biography Carol Wylie(1)

Carol is delighted to be doing her first show with Embrace Theatre and with such a wonderful cast and crew. Selected previous shows include Firelight (Dancing Sky Theatre), Waiting for the Parade (Lily Marlene), Urinetown, Christmas Carol, Beauty and the Beast, Evita, Strike! The Musical (Persephone Theatre), Volstead Blues (Souris Valley Theatre), Little Shop of Horrors, Nunsense (Off Broadway Dinner Theatre) and Das Barbecue (Plain Jane Theatre). The themes Stop Kiss addresses are important and relevant. May we all be free, to love.

What about this play resonates with you?

The strength and endurance of love made evident by the two lead characters, and  illustration of the necessity that we all work daily on tolerance and acceptance so that these kinds of incidents become unheard of.

What do you do to prepare for a role (or this role specifically)?

I imagine the character’s past and present situations, look into motivations and dominant characteristics, and think about what in the character relates to my own life and memories.

What does community engagement mean to you?

Community engagement is hugely important. Community is just an all encompassing word for relationships, and what is life, if not relationships? A safe community nurtures and supports us all. Connecting to community spreads the word about the necessity of  mutual respect and support.

Read more about Embrace Theatre’s production of Stop Kiss by Diana Son

Read about the rest of the Cast and Creative Team of Stop Kiss 

FINAL-stopkisshandbill-front

Meet Jenna-Lee Hyde, our Callie in Stop Kiss

“The first Jenna-Lee Hyde(1)time I read this play it broke my heart and mended it in the same read.”

Jenna-Lee Hyde

Biography

Jenna-Lee is a born and raised Saskatchewan theatre artist based in Saskatoon. She is a graduate of the Globe Theatre Actor Conservatory, and holds a BFA in Acting from the University of Saskatchewan. Jenna-Lee also co-hosts Mom, I’m a Thespian on CFCR, a radio show dedicated to local theatre.

Recent theatre credits: The Cherry Orchard (Live Five/Theatre Naught), Bah, Humbug (Dancing Sky Theatre), Comedy of Errors, Macbeth (Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan), Look Back in Anger (Brick and Mortar Theatre), Pride and Prejudice (Globe Theatre), King Lear (Theatre Naught), A Christmas Story (Persephone Theatre).

Upcoming: Short Cuts Ten-Minute Play Festival.

What about this play resonates with you?

Kitchen Jams - The Stop Kiss Theme Song

Kitchen Jams – The Stop Kiss Theme Song

“The first time I read this play it broke my heart and mended it in the same read. It left me feeling exposed, but filled with hope. Reading about someone who, in a way, wakes up for the first time like Callie does; who witnesses the surprising, confusing, suspect way love sneaks up on you; who is shaken repeatedly by life, and circumstance, and their own fear, but keeps walking the tightrope anyway…well, it woke me up too. So, in a nutshell, what about this play resonates with me? The whole damn thing.”

What do you do to prepare for a role (or this role specifically)?
Jenna-Lee recieves an award... well, a prop one!

Jenna-Lee recieves an award… well, a prop one!

“Every role is so different that I find my preparation often changes. It’s like trying to find your way out of a maze. Left, left, right, left, right may have worked last time, but this is a different maze! You’ve got to figure it out brand new every time. This means lots of mistakes and getting lost (and maybe some flailing and crying) but eventually you find your way. Or else a helicopter comes and gets you. In this case, the helicopter is the director.

However, one thing that always sticks is finding the honest connection between myself and my character. What are our similarities? What experiences have we both had? What do they believe in? Do I believe that too? How do they treat people? When have I treated someone like that? In a way, preparing for a role is kind of like getting to know someone. You connect based on similarities, shared experiences, and spending time together. When the similarities begin to run out, that’s when the building starts. In real life you would hang out, and create new memories with each other. On stage, you’ve got to create these memories on your own. By doing so you’re creating a world so specific that even though it’s not based in truth, it feels as though it is.”
What does community engagement mean to you?
Jenna-Lee and Angela before a company meeting.

Jenna-Lee and Angela before a company meeting.

“I think a little community is formed each time 80+ people pack themselves into a theatre and witness a story together. Those strangers, whether they know it or not, are now connected through this very simple activity. The trick then becomes to keep that little community alive and engaged once the show has ended and it’s time to go home. I think this is what Charlie and Embrace Theatre have attempted to do by creating partnerships and relationships with different people and organizations throughout the city, adding post-show discussions, all which lessen the gap between “theatre” and “real life”. More doors are open for people to continue to be engaged by the story that they’ve witnessed, and they have more outlets to talk about the themes and messages that they’ve taken in. In this way that community can continue to be engaged once they’ve left the theatre.”

Read more about Embrace Theatre’s production of Stop Kiss by Diana Son

Read about the rest of the Cast and Creative Team of Stop Kiss 

FINAL-stopkisshandbill-front

Meet Jaron Francis, our George in Stop Kiss

Biography

Jaron Francis(1)Jaron is an actor, writer and producer who lives in Toronto but calls Saskatoon home. He has performed at Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan, Persephone Theatre, the Station Arts Centre and with Live Five. Most recently he was seen in Evelyne de la Chenelière’s Strawberries in January at Persephone. In 2012, his play Like Parting Water, presented through Live Five, was honoured with the SATA for Achievement in Playwriting. Next, Jaron will appear at the Port Stanley Theatre Festival in Stag and Doe.

What about the play resonates with you?

The idea of taking hold of one’s life with fervent ownership. Often people allow external pressures to trump their own longing. It’s a beautiful thing to watch one claw their way out of that shortcoming.
What do you do to prepare for a role (or this role specifically)?
Once I understand my character’s piece of the story puzzle, I search for as many ways as possible to exploit the ammunition the playwright has provided.
What does community engagement mean to you?
While audience engagement happens in the theatre during the play, community engagement happens primarily outside the space in conjunction with the performance. Encouraging, beckoning and provoking the community the play is created for is simply a way of furthering the production’s potential impact and usefulness.

***Read more about Embrace Theatre’s production of Stop Kiss by Diana Son***

***Click here to meet the rest of the cast***

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