Behind the Scenes of Spoon River Anthology: Brittany
Taking on a part in a Keyano Theatre main stage production for the first time can be thrilling, nerve-wrecking and exhilarating all in one - just ask first time Keyano actor Brittany Sutherland! Brittany is taking on several characters in our upcoming production of Spoon River Anthology. directed by Karen Towsley, and her beautiful voice is adding something very special to the songs throughout the play - but who is she, and how did she end up on the stage?
"I was born in Prince George, BC, and grew up here in this wonderful city, calling Fort McMurray my home for fifteen years. I went to Fort McMurray Composite High School and Keyano College in my spare time to focus on my music studies, a stress reliever and escape for many years.
My life, like most others, had been a series of issues and problems that I had to overcome continually. For a while, it got really tough for a variety of reasons, but I did what I could at the time which resulted in ending my potential music/teaching career and affecting my anxiety levels greatly, among other things. There was a point, not too long ago, where I thought I would be content living the same broken routine, being unhappy, and thinking not that much of myself. Day after day was a constant struggle to be happy and I found myself putting on a fake smile to accommodate the rest of the world.
After meeting the love of my life during the recent wildfire evacuation, taking time to focus on my health, and straightening my priorities in life, I discovered that I have passions that I wanted to get back to, which included theatre and music. I don’t think people realise what this play has done for me on a much deeper level - this is not just a play for me; it was one of the major sparks that helped ignite my soul.
I remember signing up for the audition: I was sitting at my computer at work and saw that the auditions had been posted and all of a sudden the sign-up was there! I had a decision to make. Should I try out? What if I didn’t get in to the play? ...but what if I did? Would I be good enough? Could I actually do it? These questions raced through my mind and I got overwhelmed. I almost closed the website altogether, with my mouse hovering over the [X]. I could magically forget about it the whole thing and just carry on with my life. But something told me to ask for advice, so I called my best friend over and asked her opinion, while the palms of my hands sweated profusely. She immediately jumped at the idea and thought that, if anything, it would be a wonderful experience. She smiled and told me she knew I could do it and that she would support me the whole way through.
As the auditions were a week later, I had to make a decision right away. I quickly came to the conclusion that even if I didn’t make it into the play, I knew in my heart that it would be a great way to practice my audition skills and get back to being involved in the world of theatre and music. I booked my spot and anxiously waited for my audition. I worked so hard and with the support of my boyfriend, friends, and family, I ended up making it into Spoon River Anthology. The excitement still courses through my body that I even made it into the play, let alone that I will actually be performing on the Keyano Theatre main stage!
Being a part of Spoon River Anthology is a challenge to say the least; being the most difficult theatrical production I have ever been involved in, others being smaller high school productions. I am completely out of my element theatrically and I almost ran out of first rehearsal as soon as I walked in - I didn’t think I had what it took to be one of the few cast. But as I sat down and got to know the director, Karen, the Stage Manager, Barry, and the rest of the cast, I felt more and more at home, like they were my family. I got a sense that no matter what happened we would get through it together. It was going to be hard but everyone was in it together and that’s how I continually feel throughout the whole process, a strong feeling of togetherness.
My favourite thing about Spoon River Anthology is working with everyone involved. Every single person, whether in the professional crew or cast in this play has very complex roles to play and seeing everyone put in 110% is a fantastic sight to see. The passion and hard work is incredible to witness and only motivates me to work harder on the more difficult aspects such as all of the memorisation and blocking. I also love being involved with some of the musical fundamentals, including adding some harmonies to the tunes and helping some of the cast members with their individual parts. Sharing some of my knowledge of music to others is and has been a passion in itself for me so being able to expose that creative side is super beneficial to my happiness.
There are so many reasons why people should come out to see Spoon River Anthology; I don’t even know where to start. The amount of hard work and effort everyone is putting into this play is remarkable and should be reason enough but if that’s not enough then come and see it for the beautiful, raw, and emotional monologues, the surprising humour, the poetic music, the shocking but very real moments, and the life lessons that everyone can learn from, while they are alive and breathing."
“It takes life to love life”
“It takes life to love life”
Spoon River Anthology
Preview: April 27, 8:00 pm
Opening: April 28, 8:00 pm
Show dates: April 29, May 4, May 5, May 6, 2017 8:00 pm
Tickets available at keyano.ca/theatre
Rating: Appropriate for all audiences
In the fictional small town of Spoon River we are introduced to the ghosts of the people that were once its inhabitants who took their secrets to the grave. While exploring the evocative story, both the sad and humorous sides of life are portrayed in the haunting performance with fetching ballads and the free verse of Edgar Lee Masters.
“A dramatic presentation reduced to its simplest terms… moving and beautiful… An evening of astonishingly stirring emotional satisfaction.” – New York Post
“A glowing theatre experience… A brooding and loving American folk poem brought to life on a stage.” – The New York Times