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Improv “In the Shadow of the Bridge”

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If you like “Who’s Your Line Anyway,” then don’t miss the Desperate Jesters’ improv set at the “In the Shadow of the Bridge” festival, Sept. 5  next to Fort Whoop Up.
 The Jesters are one of several local musical and dramatic acts performing from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. including  Leon Barr, the Lethbridge Playgoers, Joshua Fritz and Bridgette Yarwood, Leah Sadler, Dave McCann and the Firehearts and Hippodrome among  others.
Founding Jester Jeremy Mason noted the improv troupe formed in 2005 then took a bit of a break in 2007 after several of the members sought acting careers in bigger cities like Vancouver and Toronto.
“We’ll perform a lot of the games like they do on Whose Line Is It Anyway and  will make up scenes based on suggestions from the audience,” said Mason, who has had a busy summer as the new general manager of New West Theatre and has been working with Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod as well. At their peak, they were doing four or five gigs a month — usually corporate functions.
“There’s not  really many other groups in Lethbridge doing what we do,” Mason said, adding Drama Nutz also does corporate gigs, but Desperate Jester is the only group focusing on improv. The four members performing at  “In the Shadow of the Bridge” at 4:45  p.m. and  6:45 p.m. are looking forward to the event.


Hobo poetry with Sonis McAllister

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Sonis McAllister and the Barracuda Orchestra.Sonis McAllister and the Barracuda Orchestra is Lethbridge’s answer to the Polyphonic Spree, which apparently included former members of the popular Dallas band. The orchestra, dressed as turn of the century carnies, laid down a jazzy groove, while McAllister tapped out a rhythm on an old tin pipe and wandered through the crowd with a megaphone reciting his beatnik inspired poetry about carnies turned stockbrokers, hobos and other crazy cats  he has met on the road.

“A few of us were part of the Polyphonic Spree before they made it big,” said Dallas transplant, McAllister adding he was fired by bandleader Tim DeLaughter after being in the collective from 2001-2003.
“We’re the anti-Polyphonic spree,” McAllister said adding he was hoping to push the collective into more spoken word, similar to what he is doing with the Barracuda Orchestra.


Variety of performences help Allied Arts Council celebrate the bridge’s 100th birthday

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The Allied Arts Council is helping Lethbridge  celebrate the 100th anniversary of the high level bridge, Sept. 5 with a diverse line up of local musicians and actors who will help make  the “In the Shadow of the Bridge Festival” a successful festival for families.

“We feel it’s a significant  landmark for the community,” said Allied Arts Council communication co-ordinator Lindsay Meli.

“We wanted to showcase the diversity of the entertainment  and artists that the community has to offer. There‘s something for everyone.”

 The LCI jazz band will kick off  a day full of performances on a stage next to Fort Whoop Up at 10:45 a.m. in the shadow of the bridge. The Blackfoot  Ambassadors are on next at noon. Other performers included the Hungarian Trio, Leon Barr, the Playgoers of Lethbridge’s revamped production of their  stalwart standby, “Priscilla  Pringle’s Predicament or All’s Swell that ends Swell”, (please see separate article) Bridge City Barbershop, Desperate Jester Improv, Dave Renter, The Ammena Dance Company, Leah Sadler, O’Reely, Dave McCann (See separate article,) the Fire Spinners, Hippodrome and Soup of Flies. (Check the listings page for exact times).


Priscilla Pringle to be performed in the Shadow of the Bridge

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Priscilla Pringle just won’t die. But that’s all right with the Playgoers of Lethbridge, the Lethbridge amateur  theatre troupe who have been performing their original half hour melodrama, Priscilla Pringle’s Predicament or All’s Swell that Ends Swell  since 1975,  and at the “In the Shadow of the Bridge Festival,” Sept. 5.
alt“We keep trying to put a stake through her, but  people keep asking for her,” laughed playwright Ed Bayly.
“I wrote it in 1974 and we’ve been doing it ever since. It’s even been done on TV and at Niagara on the Lake,” he continued, adding a member of a troupe in Niagara on the Lake asked if they could perform the production.
“And the next thing I knew I got a royalty cheque from the Ontario government,” he chuckled adding the play is one of the The Playgoers of Lethbridge’s  favourites. 
“It’s all written in alliteration so it’s almost like poetry. The alliteration is probably  the main attraction. We’ll sit down at a barbecue or such and someone will throw out a line from the play and next thing you know we’ll be doing the whole play,” he said adding it will be slightly tweaked to reflect the bridge theme.
“Maybe we’ll tie her to the tracks instead of tying her to the floor,” he mused.
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