THUNDER BAY – ENTERTAINMENT – It wouldn’t be summer if there wasn’t melodrama. Thunder Bay has a long history of summer melodrama that started with Moonlight Melodrama over 40 years ago. For most of those years it was the only summer theatre in Thunder Bay. The last 5 years Rob Macleod’s Capitol Players have been keeping the tradition alive by presenting their New Moon Melodrama productions at the Chippewa Park Pavilion. This year on Sundays and Thursdays during the month of July you can see the latest original melodrama, “Bloodthirsty Blackfly” by T.T.Lucky.
New Moon melodramas are as unique to Thunder Bay as Persians and the Hoito in that they have developed into their own original Thunder Bay based theatre form. They are based on traditional melodrama but they include many local references and jokes at the expense of local celebrities, songs, dances, and even a quiz with prizes to see if the audience is paying attention. The fourth wall (the imaginary wall between the audience and the action on the stage) is smashed as the audience is invited to be not mere spectators but participants in the action by sighing for the damsel in distress, cheering the hero and booing the villain. The audience can even purchase a bag of “Booballs” to throw at the villain or they might even be invited to join them on the stage if they’d like. The melodrama appeals to everyone. The adults can enjoy the humour while the kids can enjoy the silliness and the audience participation. Seasoned theatre goers can enjoy the simplified complexity and improv skills of the actors yet the action on stage is not too highbrow for the newer theatre goer.
In Bloodthirsty Blackfly the damsel in distress, Emily Appleseed, is trying to get the hero, Constable Sterling Amethyst, to make an honest woman out of her. They have been courting since meeting at the Moose Meat Cook-Off last year and she is tired of waiting for him to take the next step in their relationship. Competition for her affection arrives in the form of Lord Stanley who is in Chippewa on tour with a new trophy he has had commissioned to present to the national ice hockey champions. Lord Stanley becomes smitten by Emily and completely forgets his duties and responsibility to protect the new “Stanley Cup”. While Lord Stanley and Sterling are distracted our latest villain, Bertolt Blackfly, sees an opportunity to steal the trophy and the proceeds from the people paying to view it.
Janis Swanson directs this year’s production and the cast includes: Jenny Costanzo, Steven Gothard, Jim Hobson, Chris Jason, Arlene Korhonen-King, Lauren Payette, and Janis Swanson all of whom are veterans in the Thunder Bay theatre community.
The play runs Sunday July 6, 13 & 27 at 4:00 and Thursday July 10, 17, 24 & 31 at 7:00 in the Chippewa Park Pavilion Coffeehouse rain or shine. Ticket Prices are $8 for adults & teens; $5 for 65 & over or 12 & under; children 5 & under are free when accompanied by an adult. All tickets are available at the door only on a first come first serve basis. Doors open and ticket sales begin a half hour before the show times. The melodramas are popular and there have been sellouts in the past. You are encouraged to come early and spend some time enjoying the park before the doors open so you can assure you get the best seats in the house.
The melodrama is presented by Rob MacLeod’s Capitol Players in partnership with The City of Thunder Bay and The Friends of Chippewa Park.