[Phoenix-eNews] University of Victoria | Phoenix Theatre BackstagePASS: November 2007

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Fri Nov 2 16:40:24 PDT 2007

Phoenix Theatre: BackstagePASS
	November 2007 . Act 1 Scene 2 

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eNews <#enews>| Behind the Scenes <#bs> | Upcoming <#events> | Phoenix 
Phacts <#alumni>| Perks <#Perks> | Kudos <#sponsor>


      eNews: Welcome to the "Phoenix BackstagePASS"

Congratulations to our winner and */thank you/* to everyone who 
contributed to our contest to name our new email and submitted their 
clever and witty ideas, not to mention more "ph" alliterations than you 
can throw a stick at!

Coming in with the most votes is Phoenix BackstagePASS! One contributor 
loved that it connoted "the privileged information we will be getting 
... I look forward to reading it before the performances."

Thanks again to everyone and enjoy November's issue.

      Behind the Scenes:
      Grahame to Bennett: Thoughts on a Children's Classic

/Excerpts from Alan Bennett's Introduction
//to The Wind in the Willows./ 

Acclaimed British playwright and author Alan Bennett adapted Kenneth 
Grahame's classic tale for stage in 1991. Several years before, he was 
contacted by the National Theatre in London, England to combine */The 
Wind in the Willows/* with some account of the life of its author. In 
this excerpt from the introduction to the play he admits that he had not 
read the book as a child.

/"I don't recall reading The Wind in the Willows as a child, or indeed 
any of the classics of children's literature. This was partly the 
library's fault. In those days Armley Junior Library at the bottom of 
Welsley Road in Leeds bound all their volumes in heavy maroon or black, 
so that The Adventures of Milly Molly and Mandy were every bit as 
forbidding as The Anatomy of Melancholy." /

Later in life, Bennett didn't read the book because he thought he 
already had! /"This being virtually the definition of a classic: a book 
everyone is assumed to have read and often thinks they have done so."/

When researching to write the play he set to work trying to interweave 
Grahame's real and fictional worlds. But Grahame's life had not been a 
happy one and so he ran into difficulties matching the cozy world of 
Mole, Ratty and Toad to that of its writer.

Kenneth Grahame was born in 1859. /"He had never had (as he put it) "a 
proper equipment of parents," and was effectively orphaned at the age of 
five when his mother died of scarlet fever and his drunkard father 
packed him off to Cookham in Berkshire to live with his grandparents; he 
never saw his father again. He was sent to St. Edward's School in 
Oxford, where he did moderately well, and was looking forward to going 
up to university there when the family -- or the "grown-ups," as he 
thought of them all his life -- decided he should go into the City as a 
clerk ("a pale-faced quilldriver") in the Bank of England."/

Bennett writes that Grahame, when he was at his desk, /"was often not 
doing the Bank's work, but writing articles for the National Observer 
and The Yellow Book. Pretty conventional for the most part, his pieces 
deplored the creeping tide of suburbia and extolled the charms of the 
countryside, sentiments that have been familiar and fashionable ever 

At the age of 40, Grahame, very much the bachelor, surprised his friends 
in 1899 and became engaged to and then married Elspeth Thompson. Their 
son Alastair was born premature and half blind. Bennett writes://

/"He was a precocious boy, though -- Elspeth, in particular, insisting 
on his charm and ability -- with the result that he was much spoiled and 
given to tantrums, during which he would beat his head on the ground in 
fits of grief and rage. When his father started to write letters to him 
telling the stories that, in 1908, became The Wind in the Willows, Mr. 
Toad's tantrums were intended to ring a bell./

/The book was far from being an immediate success ("As a contribution to 
natural history," wrote The Times critic, "the book is negligible"), but 
at least this saved Alastair Grahame from the fate of A.A. Milne's son 
Christopher Robin, dogged always by his fictional counterpart. Still 
there was not much else that went right for Alastair. Since his father 
had longed to go to Oxford, Alastair was sent there, but as a child of 
eccentric parents and lacking any social skills, he was as unhappy as he 
had been at Eton, and in 1920 was found dead on the railway line that 
runs by Port Meadow in Oxford." /

Bennett concludes his comparisons, /"The ironies are dreadful; the river 
bank, setting of the father's idyll, scene of the son's death; the 
train, Mr. Toad's deliverer, the instrument of the real life Mr. Toad's 



      Upcoming Events: Plays, Lectures & more

*Wind in the Willows: 
/November 8 - 24, 2007/

Kenneth Grahame's classic tale adapted for stage by Alan Bennett.
The English riverside adventures of Mole, Ratty, Badger and Toad.

/Presented by/

/* <http://www.iaplife.com/>*/

/Media Partner:/
Island Parent Magazine <http://www.islandparent.ca/>

*November 1:* Box Office Opens

*November 9 at 7:00pm:* *Free Pre-Show Lecture*
Please join Judith Terry, UVic Professor Emeritus and specialist in 
Children's Literature. Her talk, */The Unlikely Story of Wind in the 
Willows/* will examine the undiminished popularity of Kenneth Grahame's 
book as it approaches its centenary in 2008. She will compare aspects of 
Grahame and Alan Bennett, and consider both the novel and the script to 
illuminate this performance. This free lecture is open to everyone, 
including those with play tickets on alternate evenings.

*November 13 at 8:00pm:* *Sign Language Interpretation*
Experience */Wind in the Willows/* with special sign language 
interpretation. Deaf interpreter Nigel Howard will be signing the 
dialogue and play description during the performance for the Deaf and 
Hard of hearing. This initiative is made possible by the UVic Equity and 
Human Rights Office with help from the UVic Resource Centre for Students 
with a Disability.

*Lionel:* <http://finearts.uvic.ca/theatre/season/index.html> /February 
14 -- 23, 2008
/ By Pan Bouyoucas, Directed by Ewan McLaren
The 1920's Hollywood odyssey of the shortest tenor in history.

*November 30 at 12:30pm: Orion Lecture*
Author and playwright Pan Bouyoucas in discussion about */Lionel/*, the 
play and the creative process leading up to its first production.

*The Unusual Case of Señor Morton:* 
<http://finearts.uvic.ca/theatre/season/index.html>/ March 13 -- 22, 2008/
(El Insólito Caso del Señor Morton)
Written & Directed by Martín Zapata, Performed in English.
A seedy detective story satirizing moral ambiguities in the 
sexually-charged film noir style.



      Phoenix Phacts: News on Alumni, Faculty, Staff and Students

Phoenix Theatre cleaned up at the annual *Victoria Critic's Spotlight 
Awards* receiving nine nominations and winning:

Best Performance in a Community Production: *Trevor Hinton,*/* Richard III*/
Best Direction: *Giles Hogya,*/* Richard III*/
Best Lighting Design: *Tim Herron, /Richard III/*
Best Overall Production (Community): /*TIE---Richard III */and The Caretaker

Department of Theatre Alumni received seven nominations and won for:

Best Fringe Production:/* Pitch Blonde*/ (*Laura Harris*)
Best New Play:/* Grimm Tales*/ (Itsazoo: *Anne-Marie de la Giroday, 
Colby Wilson, Chelsea Haberlin, Trevor Hinton, Sebastien Archibald*)

Faculty member *Ned Vukovic* was also named for the */Life Achievement 
Award/* in recognition of the amazing work he has done at UVic, both as 
a teacher and as a dialect coach on many productions.

See full list and article in the Times Colonist 
Check out past Phoenix Phacts <http://finearts.uvic.ca/theatre/alumni/> 
on our website.


      Email Perks:

Receiving this email comes with perks! The following Phoenix supporters 
are offering you a deal, just because you're also a supporter of the 
Phoenix...aren't we all lucky!

*Early Christmas Savings at Cadboro Bay Books*
Bring your /Wind in the Willows/ ticket stub to the Cadboro Bay Book 
Company and save 10% off your purchases from November 8 to December 1. 
www.cadborobaybooks.com <http://www.cadborobaybooks.com/> | 477-1421

*Phoenix Subscription Packages* are still on sale! 3 shows for $30. To 
order season tickets, call (250) 721-8000 or fill in the order form 
<http://finearts.uvic.ca/theatre/pdf/THEA%20Subscription07-08.pdf> and 
fax to (250) 721-6596.


      Sponsor Kudos:

The Phoenix Theatre would like to thank our community sponsors for their 
support of our programs.

*2007/08 Season Community Partner:Cadboro Bay Village 
*Cadboro Bay Village Merchants <http://www.cadborobayvillage.com>
Blaney's Travel, Cadboro Bay Book Company 
<http://www.cadborobaybooks.com> Cadboro Bay Village Service, 
Edward Jones 
For Good Measure <http://www.forgoodmeasure.ca>, People's Pharmacy, 
Pepper's Foods, <http://www.peppers-foods.com>Smugglers Cove 

*2007/08 Season Ticket Sponsor:* Monk Office Supplies <http://www.monk.ca>



Phoenix eNews is a regular email magazine for those interested in the 
Phoenix Theatre, the not-for-profit productions at the University of 
Victoria's Department of Theatre. Do you know someone who would love to 
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  	© University of Victoria 2007 	 

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