Gordon Portman grew up in Weyburn, SK. He was one of the original members of Crocus 80 Theatre, post-graduation (1981), and was with the troupe for two productions. Gordon has worked as an actor, playwright, director, teacher, and adjudicator.
April 1-8, was THEATREFEST 2018, an annual provincial theatrical (full-length production) competition, put on by THEATRE SASKATCHEWAN.
All competing theatre companies were able to discuss Gordon's thoughts on the performance(s), and their own accomplishments and challenges faced during (or preparing for) their production.
Common themes discussed:
1. The script chosen for competition: what were the factors (including playwright, storylines, and casting call limitations); he noted "a GREAT play has unmeasurable effects on the audience"
2. Energy levels of characters matching on stage moments (noting: energy levels can be intense, even in silence)
3. Props, and the importance of technical choreography in all scenes, to make the scenes believable (ie: card playing, lifting a "heavy" prop, and, do they match the script's time period)
4. Setting: furniture and entrances decided with a purpose (ie: for the characters to use all planes of the stage, and, to maintain focus towards the audience)
5. Music: USE IT, it helps keep the audience in the world created by the cast and crew (intro and outro of Acts, and scene changes)
6. Characterization: are they believable/accurate to script (what makes the character say/do something is not necessarily based on an experience shown in the script)
7. Action on stage is with a purpose vs. random (restricted to where we want the audience attention directed, and the importance of STILLNESS when character is "listening" onstage)
8. Lights, and the effectiveness to draw the attention of the audience around the stage, if done correctly.
9. Trust is important between ALL members of the company, in order to attain the confidence needed to hit the marks set out in rehearsals. (lights/sounds/dialogue)
10. Comedic/emotionally intense dialogue is most effective if played straight, without trying to make the audience laugh/cry. (Lead, and the audience will follow)
As an adjudicator, decisions had to be made, as there were many awards to be handed out, after the final production on Saturday night.
You can find the complete list of awards/sponsors, and THIS YEAR'S WINNERS here.
Did you notice? Our youth competed against adult actors and achieved recognition for their achievements in their production of:
and, a child shall lead... (<-- see the characters, our youth characterized, in full costume)
Adjudication is one aspect of the THEATREFEST experience. There are theatrical workshops at every FESTIVAL, open to the public, for no cost. This year's workshops included:
INTRO TO DIRECTING with Mark Claxton
CLOWN with Kenn Mcleod
INTRO TO PLAYWRITING with Gordon Portman
VOICE with Kris Alvarez
LIGHTING DEMO: with Christie Lites Sales
Note (for interest sake): There were 5/7 Plays written by Canadian Playwrights at this year's festival, and, 7/7 plays were directed by women.