Equity actors audition for RuBarb

Nathan Liewicki
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Mark Claxton (left) and Mathew Chiappetta discuss a monologue at the RuBarb Productions Inc. office Friday afternoon. The men are just two of many actors and singers auditioning for roles in upcoming productions later this year/

Artistic director provides theatrical opportunity for all actors

Auditioning for roles in theatrical productions is nothing new for Taleathahh Livingstone.

On Friday, however, Livingstone auditioned cold turkey for RuBarb Production Inc.’s Singin’ in the Rain.

“I just came in to see if I could set up an audition and I ended up auditioning,” Livingstone told the Times-Herald after her audition. “I came in cold, sang and read. I was pleased with what I did.”

Although it’s been more than 10 years since Livingstone was last cast in a theatrical production, “once theatre gets into your blood, it never leaves.”

Livingstone is one of many actors and singers in with past theatrical experience auditioning for roles in two of RuBarb’s upcoming productions – Disney’s Cinderella Kids: And other hits from the Magical Kingdom (June 12-14) and Singin’ in the Rain (July 31 – Aug. 17).

Livingstone lives in Moose Jaw, but two others auditioning Friday were from Regina and Gravelbourg respectively.

“Any time you have anyone looking to hire an actor in Saskatchewan it's always smart to explore the opportunity,” said Reginan Mark Claxton. “I have some friends who have worked in this space and in this town and have always spoken really highly of this experience.

“It was something I didn't want to miss out on.”

Gravelbourg’s Mathew Chiappetta said he wanted to expand his knowledge of theatre and music, which is why he decided to audition.

More into the musical side of theatrical productions, Chiappetta was cast in Les Misérables last year in British Columbia.

“I’m auditioning for Singin’ in the Rain,” he said. “I think I’m too old for Cinderella Kids.”

Evie Koop Sawatzky, RuBarb’s artistic director, even auditioned someone from Montreal courtesy Skype on Friday.

“I’ve been doing auditions with people across the country that are excited to either come home and perform, or to be part of this brand new theatre company in Saskatchewan,” she said. “We're getting some great feedback from across the country at a time when arts are disappearing. So the fact that a new professional theatre company has started up in the middle of the Prairies is a big thing.”

“This is my way to pay it forward and provide an opportunity, not only for youth, but people of all ages to come and get experience into a real show.” Evie Koop Sawatzky, RuBarb Productions artistic director

Sawatzky noted that it’s important, as a local theatrical company, to include actors from in and around Moose Jaw in upcoming RuBarb productions. Uniting local people and their talents was the reason she started the production company in 2006.

“Every year we see new people come to the community and this is how they're immediately finding a family, new relationships and a way to give back to this community,” said Sawatzky. “It’s by inserting themselves in the lifeblood of Moose Jaw.”

She referenced the bevy of instructors she had as she growing up as part of her decision to reach out and give local actors a chance to be part of a RuBarb production.

“This is my way to give back to them,” she said. “This is my way to pay it forward and provide an opportunity, not only for youth, but people of all ages to come and get experience into a real show.”

The time commitment those cast in the two aforementioned productions will not be too strenuous, Sawatzky noted. She’s very keen on making sure people continue to live their lives without the extra stress of a theatrical production in their minds all the time.

Some actors will come and rehearse two day a week, while others will rehearse four or five times.

“I'm the type of director who will spend an extra 40 hours on the schedule to literally shuffle things around like a chessboard to find the opportunity for people to participate in as many scenes as possible with as little rehearsal (time) as possible,” said Sawatzky. 

There will be anywhere between 20 and 40 equity actors cast in the two summer productions.

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks

Organizations: RuBarb Production, Times-Herald

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan Regina British Columbia Montreal

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