2019 Provincial Drama Festival

Hosted by: St. John’s Players and School Zone Productions
St. John’s, NL
April 21-27, 2019

Adjudicator: David Ferry (Bio)

Sunday, April 21 – 8:00 PM
Jack Meets the Cat by Andy Jones
School Zone Productions, St. John’s

Once upon a time, a man and a woman got married and they had three sons: Tom, Bill, and Jack. You’ve heard about Jack? The fellow who was every inch a sailor? The one who climbed the beanstalk? The one who jumped over the candlestick? Well, this is the other Jack. His brothers were kind of handy — they were actually able to do something, but Jack, well, he was a different story altogether. From the producers of 12 Angry Men and The Twilight Zone and the imagination of Pius Power Sr., and Andy Jones, a fairytale like no other comes to life on stage.

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Monday, April 22nd – 8:00 PM
Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker
Mokami Players, Happy Valley·Goose Bay

In the small town of Shirley, Vermont, five actors embark on a life–altering journey of self-discovery set in the confines of a six week, adult acting class. As the weeks progress, the actors pull back layers and reflect on the people that they have become. Annie Barker’s “Circle Mirror Transformation” delivers a complex look at the realities of an unfulfilled life.

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Tuesday, April 23rd – 8:00 PM
The Maltese Bodkin by David Belke
St. John’s Players, St. John’s

To celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday on April 23, 1564, St. John’s Players presents a fantasy romp through his plays. The Maltese Bodkin is an entertaining casserole. The recipe – Take Sam Spade from The Maltese Falcon, drop him in a world of Shakespearean characters and stir. The result – a comedy mystery with a Shakespearean twist. Times were tough for hard-boiled detective Birnam Wood. He never asked to be in London, especially in 1605. When Wood’s Partner, Archie, is killed, he takes on the case that his partner worked before his untimely death. Wood hopes it will lead him to solve the mystery of who killed Archie and why. He has to find the killer amongst a cast of suspects that includes Viola, Richard III, Falstaff, Iago, Mercutio and a merchant from Venice. The real solution to the mystery, however, seems to be in discovering the secret behind a mysterious dagger known as the Maltese Bodkin. The worlds of detective fiction and Shakespeare collide in this “who hath done it“.

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Wednesday, April 24th – 8:00 PM
The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh
Off·Broadway Players, Corner Brook

In an interrogation room in an unnamed totalitarian dictatorship, two detectives are interrogating writer Katurian Katurian. Next door, Katurian’s mentally disabled brother Michal waits. The detectives want to know why Katurian’s stories feature gruesome plots about child murder and torture, and in particular, why they seem to mirror a string of recent child murders in the area. This brutal dark comedy from Martin McDonagh, the master of the horror-comedy, poses unanswerable questions: Can stories hold the power to cause atrocities? Where is the line between truth and fairy tale? Is a life of horror worth living at all? Drawing on inspiration as diverse as Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Kafka, and Antonin Artaud, The Pillowman is a dark, twisty, and utterly unforgettable masterpiece from one of Ireland’s most treasured writers.

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Thursday, April 25th – 8:00 PM
The Donnellys by Peter Colley
Avion Players, Gander

One of Canada’s most infamous true stories, The Donnellys has grown in its telling with each generation since the events that shook the little village of Lucan, Ontario. Why did the god-fearing residents of a small pioneer town rise up one night to overtake an entire family as they lay sleeping? Why did a veil of silence descend over the town, so that even though forty sets of footprints were found at the scene, nobody was ever convicted of the murders? And why has the code of silence lasted to this day? The play sets out to answer these questions, through a new modern edgy look. Timeworn feuds of Ireland followed them to this farming community, where hate festered until the eve of February 4, 1880. The violence of that act has passed into legend, but legends die hard, and the Donnellys live on in this gripping, dramatic piece of theatre with music.

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Friday, April 26th – 8:00 PM
A Skull in Connemara by Martin McDonagh
Northern Lights Theatre Company, Lab West

For one week each autumn, Mick Dowd is hired to disinter the bones in certain sections of his local cemetery to make way for the new arrivals. As the time approaches for him to dig up those of his own late wife, strange rumours regarding his involvement in her sudden death seven years ago gradually begin to resurface.

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Saturday, April 27th – 7:00 PM
Marion Bridge by Daniel MacIvor
Northcliffe Drama Club, Grand Falls·Windsor

Agnes, a recovering alcoholic, returns to her Sydney, Nova Scotia home when she learns that her ailing mother, also an alcoholic, has been hospitalized. Both her sisters – opinionated Theresa and Louise, who prefers nothing better than to watch television – now live in the home. Against Theresa’s better judgment, the sisters decide to bring their cantankerous mother, Rose, back to the house so that the collective three can take care of her in what looks to be her final days. As the sisters try to cope with caretaking their mother, they must also learn to live harmoniously with each other, not an easy task especially considering their differing personalities. While in Sydney, Agnes also feels the need to connect with certain aspects of her past, one that includes a teenager named Joanie.

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David Ferry – 2019 NL Drama Festival Adjudicator

(top of page)

Profile by Anne Nothof, Athabasca University. Additional information from Richard Ouzounian. Toronto Star 2 Aug 2008. Updated by David Ferry, October 2015.

Ontario-based actor, director and dramaturg, with extensive experience in theatre, television, film and radio. He was born in St. John’s Newfoundland and Labrador in 1951, and studied at Memorial University (1968-70). At the age of 15, he was cast in the lead role of Tom Cahill’s Tomorrow Will Be Sunday, a searing play about sexual molestation. In 1967, the centennial year, the Dominion Drama Festival required that every entry be a Canadian play, and Newfoundland’s entry was Cahill’s work. Ferry’s acting impressed playwright Michael Cook, who encouraged him to apply to the National Theatre School of Canada; he was the first actor from Newfoundland to be accepted there. One of his most influential instructors was Joy Coghill.

After graduating in 1973, Ferry worked extensively in radio drama, including the role of the cab driver in Midnight Cab for the Peter Gzowski show on the CBC (1992-1996, writer:James W. Nichol). He then experienced what he called “the defining theatre moment of my career” – participating in the creation and the production of James Reaney’s The Donnellys, directed by Keith Turnbull. He has committed himself to the study and production of Canadian theatre since then.

Ferry’s involvement with early Canadian alternative and experimental theatre continued under the direction of Bill Glassco at the Tarragon Theatre, where he played Jamie in David Freeman’s You’re Gonna Be Alright Jamie Boy (1974).

David Ferry has worked in most of the country’s major theatres, including the Stratford Festival, the National Arts Centre, Centaur Theatre, the Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto Free Theatre, Citadel Theatre, Vancouver Playhouse, Theatre New Brunswick, and the Banff Centre for The Arts. He has also worked Off-Broadway, and in Los Angeles, Australia, and England.

An intense actor, Ferry has played leads in David Mamet’s controversial Oleana, as well as in Children of a Lesser God, Hamlet, The Tempest, Suburban Motel (by George F. Walker), Mice and Men, Ahab in Moby Dick (adapted by Morris Panych, Stratford Festival, 2008), Burn This (Canadian premiere), and Billy Bishop Goes to War. More recently he performed in the Tarragon Theatre production of Alias Godot (October 2008); Crow’s Theatre’s Eternal Hydra (2009/10); the Buddies in Bad Times production of Blasted by Sarah Kane (September 2010, dir. Brendan Healy); Richard III and Titus Adronicus (Stratford Festival 2011); The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, The Repudiation and Redemption of Mike Daisy (March 2011), Seeds (Porte Parole/Crow’s (2012); The Lesson by Eugene Ionesco (Modern Times Stage Company, 2012); and The River (The Coal Mine, 2015).

Of his role as a foul-mouthed, gin-soaked, racist tabloid reporter in Blasted, Martin Morrow wrote that any tenderness in the play is “due in large part to Ferry’s vulnerable performance as Ian. Even when he’s swaggering about, dictating prurient copy for his paper with relish or spitting out ugly racial epithets, a pained-looking Ferry lets us know that his sleazy scribe is really a sad, sick man. He’s as pitiful and desperate for love as he is monstrous” (Globe and Mail, 30 Sept 2010: R3).

Ferry recently performed in the Chichester Festival production of The Last Confession (2014) starring David Suchet, which toured internationally to Toronto, L.A. and five cities in Australia. In January 2014, he played the role of a seasoned Romeo in a retirement home, in The Last of Romeo and Juliet by Mitchell Cushman (Talk is Free Theatre, Barrie, Ontario), with Diana Leblanc as his Juliet. In May 2016, he played James Tyrone Sr. in Long Day’s Journey into Night at Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre at the Roxy in Victoria BC.

He won the 2014 Toronto Critics Best Actor Award, and the Broadway World best actor award for his performance in David Harrower’s Blackbird. He won the Victoria Critics Best Actor award for his Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman. He won a Dora Mavor Moore Award for best actor for his role in Someone to Watch Over Me (opposite RH Thomson and Ryan Holliman) and has received seven Dora actor nominations in all.

He has acted in over 100 television and film projects, with a Genie nomination for Best Supporting Actor and Gemini considerations. He was a regular on three Canadian TV series. He also won the Nellie best actor award in 1986.

In 2003, he graduated from the University of Victoria with an MFA; his thesis was on James Reaney.

As a director he has directed in L.A. and across Canada on a variety of stages from the traditional proscenium (most recently directing Stuff Happens at the National Arts Centre, garnering Best Production and Best Direction nominations); and on thrust, site specific, found space, environmental, outdoor, multidisciplinary and studio or transformed spaces. He received a Dora Best Director nomination (as well as a Broadway World Best Direction nomination) for his direction of After Miss Julie (Storefront/REDONE (2013). He won the Dora Best Director as well as co-winning a Best Lighting Dora (with Glenn Davidson) for his hit, site specific, production of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Birdland Productions, 2006/08). He has also directed in Florence, Italy (the world premiere, in Italian, of Brendan Gall’s Alias Godot). He has also directed Fire, Perfect Pie, Hank Williams; The Show He Never Gave, and alterNatives, while he was the Artistic Director of Bluewater Summer Playhouse from 1996-2001. In 2006-07 he was AD of Resurgence Theatre Company, where he directed celebrated productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado About Nothing.

He has taught and directed at George Brown College, Humber College, Sheridan College, University of Victoria, Erindale Collge, Bishop’s University, and the National Theatre School of Canada.

Ferry has also served as dramaturg on many new Canadian works; and has edited playtexts for Playwrights Canada Press, including He Speaks, a collection of monologues for men, and Reaney Days in the West Room, a collection of plays by James Reaney. He has also compiled an audio collection of Canadian dialects for actors entitled Canajun, Eh? (1996).

David Ferry was awarded the 2011 City of Toronto Barbara Hamilton Memorial Award for Excellence in the Arts. He was the Arts and Letters John Coulter (honorary) Member for Stage for two terms (2010-2013). He has served as National Chair of ACTRA Performers Guild; Vice President (External) of Canadian Actors Equity Association, and is Chair of the Board of ACTRA Fraternal Benefits Society, as well as sitting on the board of Actors’ Fund of Canada.

He is married to actor and director Kyra Harper.