Spring Production Brings New Faces to the QAC stage

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Photo: Ladd Johnson

Photo caption: Major Petkoff (Herbert Goss), his wife Catherine (Laura Palladino) and daughter Raina (Sheila Mawn) react to an unexpected visit by Captain Bluntschli (Mathieu Hodgson).

by Ladd Johnson 

Rehearsals for the Quebec Art Company’s production of the George Bernard Shaw play Arms and the Man are nearing completion as the mid-April production dates draw near.This classic play, set in Bulgaria in the 1880s, may not be the most well known of Shaw’s many works but represents one of his more interesting plays as its intricate series of love triangles belies the more serious issues of war, class and gender.

The QAC is particularly pleased by the high level of involvement of both new and younger members in this season’s play.Sheila Mawn, after playing minor roles in recent productions, has taken on the female lead of Raina, the idealistic yet sometimes practical daughter of the pretentious Petkoff family.Likewise, Mathieu Hodgson continues his emergence from behind the scenes as the male lead Captain Bluntschli, the worldly yet vulnerable soldier-of-fortune.New to the company is Herbert Goss, a recent arrival from California who brings Hollywood experience to the local community stage. “I am used to working with professionals and have been pleasantly surprised at the quality of artists in the QAC”, he says, adding “the company has made my transition from California an enjoyable one”.Goss plays the affable patriarch opposite returning QAC member Laura Palladino, his socially ambitious wife.Another newcomer is Thomas Leblanc-Beauregard as the loyal yet calculating manservant of the Petkoff family. Finally, Bill Black and Rosie Sabor are both back from last spring’s performance of Our Town in yet more romantic entanglements. Interestingly, they are the youngest members of the cast, yet have been with the QAC longer than most of the others.This performance should provide an interesting mix of new faces along with some familiar QAC regulars.

After being involved in both on-stage and off-stage roles in the QAC for the past several years, Mark Lepitre is taking on a new challenge as director.His artistic and academic interests (he is currently a graduate student in the English Literature program at Université Laval) come together in this play, and Lepitre is enjoying this new experience, stating “It is very easy to put on a good play when the raw material is so good. The text by Shaw is witty, poignant, and at times naughty; even after weeks of rehearsal, there are still many lines that make me laugh”.

So, the cast may be small in number, but there appears to be no shortage of talent, dedication, or readiness to provide the best show possible.Three performances will be available to the general public Friday through Sunday, April 17-19. (The usual Thursday night performance has been reserved this time for a special appreciation night for volunteers involved with the Jeffery Hale Community Services.)For general information, call 418 254-6552 or visit the QAC website (www.quebecartcompany.com).