Canada’s most beloved orphan has found her way to the Ponoka stage for this year’s performance of Anne of Green Gables by the Klaglahachie Fine Arts Society.
Interest in the play has grown; Global News interviewed lead actors Bailey Atkinson, playing Anne, and Perry Wilson, playing Matthew Cuthbert, as well as securing a full page in the Red Deer Advocate.
Director Kevin Ferguson said he is extremely excited to see Atkinson take on the role of Anne and looks forward to showcasing everyone’s acting abilities.
“From top to bottom the cast is solid. You’d be pretty hard to find any fillers in there,” he added.
Taking on the third lead role of Marilla Cuthbert is Rhonda Merrick. Ferguson says all three have worked well together from the start of production.
Something most people don’t know is that Ferguson never liked the Anne of Green Gables story but he saw directing the play as a creative challenge. He has enjoyed trying out different ways of telling the story and hearing how Anne purists feel the story should be told.
He says the play would not have been as good as it is without the help of musical director Althea Lewis.
“She’s half my battle taken off the table,” said Ferguson.
He says Lewis has been able to hone actors’ voices. “The music is not only accomplished, like individually well done, but it’s also layered on so many different levels and it’s got Althea written all over it”
“People probably only know Ice Cream, but this music is fun. There’s lots of catchy tunes and it evokes lots of emotion too,” added Lewis.
With Lewis’ musical direction and Ferguson’s vision, the play has begun to create a life on its own and the actors, especially Atkinson, have taken their characters to heart.
This year’s production brings a new twist to Ponoka’s stage with a video shot earlier in the summer, explained Ferguson. He had seen other productions of the opening scene with a buggy when Matthew Cuthbert goes to pick up Anne at the train station but that did not seem ideal.
Rather than use a prop on stage, Ferguson decided to take it out of the equation. “I thought the best way to get it off (stage) was let’s film a real buggy.”
“It’s beautiful!” stated Lewis.
Showings for Anne of Green Gables are Nov. 28 to 30, Dec. 5 to 7 and Dec. 12 and 13. There are dinner options available and Sunday’s shows are 2 p.m. matinees. For more information or tickets call 403-783-4087.