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Audiences will soon be able to return to live indoor theatre for Magnus Theatre’s upcoming production of The Drowning Girls, albeit with a bit of a twist.
Public gathering restrictions mean that the audiences will be capped at 50 people per performance, maintaining social distancing. In an effort to ensure appropriate physical distancing while maximizing audience capacity, Magnus Theatre will be rearranging the auditorium to a traverse staging configuration, so that audiences will be seated on two sides of a central stage. Audiences members will be required to wear masks at all times.
“We want patrons to feel comfortable returning to the theatre, and we changed things around to ensure that we everyone has the safest possible experience while enjoying this incredible Canadian play,” says Magnus Theatre Artistic Director Thom Currie.
Simultaneously macabre, playful, and unabashedly witty, The Drowning Girls is a ghost story about three brides who share two things in common: they all married the same man, and they are all dead.
Written in the 1990s by a trio of Canadians - Beth Graham, Charlie Tomlinson and Daniela Vlaskalic – this haunting play is based on the true story of George Joseph Smith, a charming conman and bigamist who preyed upon unmarried women in the early 1900s. He’d woo them, swindle their money, take out life insurance policies on them, and murder them soon after the nuptials. The infamous case became known in the popular British press at the time as the ‘Brides in the Bath Murders’.
This gripping play recounts the shocking crimes, rich with historical detail gleaned from letters, news clippings, and court documents and offers a keen social critique of the oppressive Victorian-era social values that contributed to these women’s deaths.
The Drowning Girls is directed by Magnus Theatre’s Artistic Director Thom Currie and features a cast of talented local actors. Olivia McInnis and Sarah Mendek make their Magnus stage debuts. McInnis is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City where she appeared on stage in productions of The Wild Duck, The Machinal, and A Different Moon, among others. Locals might recognize McInnis from Paramount Live Theatre’s productions of Into the Woods, Sister Act, and 9 to 5, as well as Badanai Production’s Little Shop of Horrors and Greased.
Mendek holds an Honours BA in Dramatic Arts degree from Brock University and has been involved with Magnus Theatre since her teenage years, taking numerous Theatre in Education classes and workshops. Mendek is actively involved in the local theatre community, participating in the 10x10 Play Showcase and Thunder Bay’s Come Play with Me virtual play readings. Locally, she has also appeared in Speechless at the Superior Theatre Festival and Rhinoceros in Cambrian Players’ Green Room Series.
Hanna Laaksonen is a familiar face in the local theatre scene, both on and off stage. In addition to appearing in Magnus Theatre’s 2018 production of The River, she’s also appeared in the 10x10 Play Showcase and numerous roles in Cambrian Players productions, including Anastasia, Pericles, The Curious Savage, and The Merchant of Venice. Laaksonen also dedicates much of her creative energy into her role as Head of Properties for Magnus Theatre.
The Drowning Girls previews at Magnus Theatre on November 12th at 2pm and 7:30pm and runs until November 28th. Both Sunday matinees will be Pay What You Can performances.