MOMENTS IN ALGOMA
 A Group of Seven Experience

 

Writer/Producer  W.A. Hamilton

Director:  Sandra Forsell

Genre:  Based on real events in the spring and fall of 1918 in the district of Algoma

Running Time:   25 minutes

First Produced for Road Scholar bus tours at Ermatinger Clergue National Historic Site.   June 2015

RUNNING LENGTH:   30 MINUTES

The Group of Seven was a community of Canadian artists in the early 20th century who connected with the country's rugged environment through a unique style of landscape painting.  Their work has come to represent a distinct, globally recognized Canadian identity. Less known however, is the importance of the Algoma region of Northen Ontario in their story. Incorporating the words and writings of Group of Seven founder, Lawren Harris and the letters written by J.E.H. MacDonald to his wife,  Moments in Algoma was created to bring the audience into the first defining moments these artists experienced in the Northern Ontario bush over 100 years ago.   Currently being staged for the sixth season.  Designed for staging in art gallery and museum settings.  

THE TAKING!

 

Writer/Producer  W.A. Hamilton

Director:  Sandra Forsell

Genre:  Based on real events of Summer 1814 in Upper Canada

Running Time:   35 minutes

First Produced for Algoma 1812 at Fort St. Joseph National Historic Site.   August 2014.

RUNNING LENGTH:   30 MINUTES

 

During the summer of 1814 a flotilla of American troops controlled the Upper Great Lakes cutting off supplies and trade routes and terrorizing the area.   In a daring naval feat, 22 year old Royal Navy Lt. Miller Worsley led the capture of the armed American schooners, the Tigress and the Scorpion, taking them from open boats.  The Taking! employs stylized choreography and a storyteller uncovered from the pages of history.   Very flexible cast size. 

THIS I SHALL DEFEND

Writer/Producer:  W.A. Hamilton

Ojibwa Translation:  Jim Agawa Sr. 

Director:  Sandra Forsell

Genre:  Based on real events of Summer 1812 in Upper Canada

Running Time:   25 minutes

First Produced for Algoma 1812 at Fort St. Joseph and Ermatinger Clergue National Historic Sites.   July 2012.

 

On July 15, 1812 an unprecedented alliance of British military, Métis and First Nations gathered at the remote outpost of Fort St. Joseph in preparation for an attack on the American Garrison of Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island.  This was the first offensive military maneuver of the War of 1812 and amazingly, this allied effort resulted in the capture taking place without a drop of blood being shed.   This I Shall Defend brings together three members of the 1812 Alliance in an imagined meeting:  British Captain Charles Roberts commander of Fort St. Joseph, local fur trader Charles O. Ermatinger, and Ojibway representative Shingwaukonse.   Each man must overcome the barriers of culture, language and sensibility to join together against the threat of American Invasion.  A small cast with minimal blocking.  No set or props required.  

WHO WAS CHARLES OAKES ERMATINGER?

Directors:  Sandra Forsell and W.A. Hamilton

Writer/Producer:  W.A. Hamilton

Genre:  Based on the life of fur trader Charles Oakes Ermatinger in Upper Canada, early 19th century

Running Time:  25 minutes

First Produced for Evenings in the Summer Kitchen, Ermatinger Clergue National Historic Site.   November/December 2012

 

This site specific short play introduces independant fur trader, Charles Oakes Ermatinger in an intimate exchange between Charles, the audience and a guide who asks the questions history has posed about what motivated this intriguing character in early Canadian history.  Ermatinger's stone house, now a National Historic Site, was built for his Ojiway country wife Mananowe (known as Charlotte), and 13 children.   The play was written with the objective of an eventual trilogy: play two exploring the building of the stone house during the War of 1812 and play three, Ermatinger's life in the fur trade. 

THE SUMMER PLAYHOUSE

Directors:  Various (see description) 

Producer:  W.A. Hamilton

Genre:  A series of one act plays staged in repertory style

Running Time:  Lunch hours Wednesday through Saturdays with night shows Thursday and Fridays,  8 weeks per year.

Produced summers:  2002, 2003, 2004 at the historic Algonquin Hotel, Sault Ste. Marie

 

During the summers of 2002, 2003 and 2004 the main level of a heritage building was draped in blacks and converted into a performance space.   The Theatre in Motion Summer Playhouse was an initiative to bring together directors and performers in a communal space to lay the groundwork for professional summer theatre in the region.   While this initative never gained full traction it did succeed in bringing new audiences to the theatre experience.  The hotel serves as a hostel as well as being home to a diverse cross section of characters.  The Summer Playhouse was the first local theatre venture to advertise to the tourist, with flyers in hotels, motels, and tourism outlets on both sides of the Canada/U.S. borders.  Seating a capacity audience of 50, the Summer Playhouse provided a venue to experiment for local directors, actors, technicians and front of house staff,  all who worked for a cut of the box office.   The playbills included one acts, a series of one night gems performed by  professional actors in the city, performances by artists on the Fringe Festival curcuit and even an original soap opera.  

 

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1939:  AN EVENING OF BIG BAND SWING and LIVE OLD TYME RADIO

Directors:  W.A. Hamilton and John David Cameron

Producer:  W.A. Hamilton

Genre:  A themed evening featuring a performance of classic radio plays from 1939

Running Time:  1:40 minutes

First Produced at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, Nov. 29, 2003

 

This performance launched the creation of the Sault Old Tyme Radio Players, a group of former broadcasters with voices one never gets tired of hearing, and a great show for fundraisers.   With the help of two talented community theatre designers, the Bushplane Museum was converted into the Palm Gardens, a nightclub hosting a live radio broadcast on the evening of November 29, 1939.   Add the spicy characters of CC the club hostess, singing servers, and a theatrical vision took swing.   The show was performed between sets by swing band:  Bob Jenkins and the Happy Band.  Theatre in Motion became very familiar with the unique ambiance of the Bushplane Museum over the course of numerous performances of The Immigrant Stories (see description below).   This sold out fundraiser generated funds for the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre and the Theatre in Motion Summer Playhouse. 

Rocky and Athena Meet the World
THE IMMIGRANT STORIES

Directors:  W.A. Hamilton and Loretta Durat

Writers:  Collective 

Genre:  Based on the true stories of performers' ancestors arrival in Northern Ontario Canada 1600 - present

Running Time 35 minutes

First production:  Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, June 2001

 

The Immigrant Stories was originally created for the City of Sault Ste. Marie event, Irish Tradebridge 2001 as a unique way of saying "Welcome to our community."   It went on to be staged for over 3000 visitors and guests at numerous conferences and functions.   Delivered in a round robin intermingling of monologues the characters, all women, share their heartfelt journey to Northern Ontario.   These stories have included, women of French, Scottish, Irish, British, Italian, Finnish, Polish/Jewish, Czechoslovakian, and Ukranian heritage.  Staging works best as part of a dinner or gala event.   The master guide of 6 basic questions is a template for the development of new stories. 

Director:  Loretta Durat

Writers:    The Company

Producer:  W.A. Hamilton

Genre:  A bizarre twist on the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?

Running Time:  30 minutes

First Produced for the Northern Ontario Youth Leadership and Entrepreneurship Conference, Best Western, May 31, 2003

 

This fun two hander introduces audiences to big sister Heather and little brother Ralph before they are born and follows them in short sketches - Womb Service,  Athena's Paradise Lost - to the point of leaving home.   What is preordained and what is circumstance?   How do we decide what we want to do with our lives?  
Only performed twice, this is a
great script waiting for an opportunity to grow.  The original Ralph, Jordan Foisy, is a successful stand up comedian based in Toronto.

 

 

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FROM THE JOURNALS OF HARVAND COLE
Original title:  HITCHHIKING TO THE END OF THE WORLD

Director:  W.A. Hamilton

Writer:  W.A. Hamilton in process with acting company

Genre:  A road play set on the Trans-Canada Highway 

Running Time:   60 minutes

First productions in Sault Ste. Marie, Blind River, Wawa, Thunder Bay Fringe Festival and Ottawa Fringe Festival.   Summer 2000.  

 

A guy on the cusp of his 30th birthday who has no idea what to do with his life, walks to the Trans-Canada, sticks out his thumb, and pledges to keep on moving until he gets somewhere.   What he cannot know is that within hours he will have a car, money and responsibility for lives much more fragile than his own.   Takes place over the course of one moonless night on Highway 17 somewhere between Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury Ontario.  

 

An as yet unproduced screenplay adaptation was written with the assistance of a CTV Development Grant. 

THE LIONS AND THE LAMBS

Director:  W. A. Hamilton

Writer:  W.A. Hamilton 

Genre: Two sisters have one last sleepover while packing up the family home.

Running Time: 1hr.50 minutes

First produced at St. Mary's College, Sault Ste. Marie and Elliot Lake Quonta Region Drama Festival March 1999.  A Sault Theatre Workshop/Theatre in Motion co-production

 

When faced with moving their mother into a nursing home, two sisters decide to make it an event -- spending one last night in the family home.   What transpires involves packing up the memories along with the odds and ends that have collected over their lifetime.   While their mother Jean, sleeps, their father, dead for 25 years, attempts to help his family through this difficult and heartfelt transition.   Not an easy task when attempting to communicate from the other side. 

 

The Lions and the Lambs received dramaturgical support, workshops and public readings by the Atlantic Playwrights Resource Centre (now PARC).  Featuring strong roles for women, this story was inspired by the real life character of Sadie McConnell nee:  Windsor 1901 - 1993.  

MINDLANDS

Director:  W.A. Hamilton

Writer:  W.A. Hamilton 

Genre:   A laid-off steelworker faces his past, present and future

Running TIme:  1hr:45min.

FIrst produced as part of Homecoming celebrations, Algoma University, Sault Ste Marie, July 1998

 

W.A. Hamilton wrote this play in an effort to understand the boys she grew up with in Sault Ste. Marie.   The guys who didn't ask any more of life than a steady paycheque, home and family.   The type of person who liked life just fine until downsizing hit the industrial landscape leaving so many people like the play's main character, Tom Woolrich, confused and fearful. 

The play has been staged as a multi-character production, with five actors in dual roles, (COPYSCRIPT available at Playwrights Guild of Canada) and as a one man mixed-media production (SCRIPT and accompanying articles published in Canadian Theatre Review, Winter 2002, Issue 109).       

MindLands was written with the assistance of the Canada Council.  It has received workshops and public readings in association with Theatre New Brunswick, Playwrights Workshop Montreal, Atlantic Playwrights Resource Centre (now PARC), Alberta Theatre Projects and the Great Canadian Theatre Company. 

BELLIES, KNEES AND ANKLES

Director:  W.A. Hamilton

Writer:  W.A. Hamilton in process with acting company 

Genre:  Four women meet at a diner turned cafe 

Running Time:   60 minutes

First produced in Sault Ste. Marie and the Sudbury Fringe Festival.  Summer 1997. 

 

Playing out in real time, this writing was inspired by a strong cast of women interested in exploring the dynamics of space and time - how much can change over the course of one hour in a Northern Ontario cafe due to chance, or serendipity?   A woman overhears a conversation between a mother and daughter that makes her wonder if she is in the presence of the child she gave up for adoption.  A pregnant waitress deals out banana bread, butter tarts and gentle sarcasm while wrestling with fears of money, aging and miscarriage.   Minimal set.  Role for actor with training in clowning/physical theatre.

 

Published in Seven Short Plays From Theatre Ontario. 

And before Theatre in Motion had a name ...
OUR LITTLE HOUSE

Director:  Jerry MacDermid

Writer:  W.A. Hamilton with segments by Heather Hannah and Sandra Sheaves.

Genre:   13 episode television series for preschool age children

Running Time:   23.55 minutes

First produced for MCTV Network at CTV East St. studio and on location in Sault Ste. Marie, Winter 1994.  

 

The entire  shoot for this television series was completed in 22 days by a team of community theatre people with no experience in broadcasting, and a television crew that had never worked on a scripted series.   It was a blast.   The shoestring budget made slick production values and special effects an impossibility, lending this show the type of charm and simplicity reminiscent of early television.  W.A. Hamilton credits CBC's The Friendly Giant for her inspiration.   The Our Little House premise involves two dolls, Jiff and Fay, who come to life inside a miniature house.  Each episode the viewer is given a magic password that turns ordinary household items into passageways to the various show segments.   Lead actor, Steven McCarthy, just 17 when he portrayed Jiff, has gone on to a successful professional career. 

 

Pilot episode written and produced with the assistance of a CTV Development Grant. 

Winner of the CAN PRO SILVER, an national award for excellence in child and youth programming.   SCRIPTS available by contacting W.A. Hamilton through this website.  

The Peeper

DIRECTOR:  Steve Ballantine

WRITER:  W.A. Hamilton

Genre:  Halloween silliness and spookiness

Running Time:   40 minutes

First produced by the Sault Youth Theatre, Korah Collegiate Theatre, Sault Ste. Marie  October, 1992. 

 

This play is best described by the following lines:   NARRATOR:   The Piccolo children, Peter, Patti and Paul, are pretending to put their shoes away under the bed but they're really placing pennies in a perfect pattern for protection from the Peeper.   Meanwhile Paula, Peter Patti and Paul's mom, is busy in the kitchen putting the polishing touches on the pumpkin.   Paula prefers to believe the Peeper doesn't exist.   And Perry, Paula's husband, Peter, Patti and Paul's pop...well, he's on the porch painting for no apparent purpose other than to patch the peeling porch where the paint from 1972 is starting to show through.   Peepers?    PERRY:    Puh!  Hoghwash!   NARRATOR:  -- says Pop.  

The production was accompanied by a haunted house, a reading, an original song,  and a nightly door prize of a door.   

Theatre is a communal exchange made in a specific place and time that can never be repeated. By its nature, it is the creation of a shared memory.  

    Bellies, Knees and Ankles