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February 2011 - Nr. 2
Irena Syrokomla

Masquerade by Pirandello, adapted by Douglas Beattie, Touchmark Theatre readings in Kitchener, Guelph and London.

Since Theatre & Company and Waterloo Theatre closed, there is really no professional repertory theatre in K-W area. What a pity, what a shame.

There is plenty of music, symphony concerts, chamber music at Wilfrid Laurier’s Maureen Forester Hall, at the United Church and always at Chamber Music Society. For theatre, it is either driving to Toronto or waiting for Spring to go to Stratford or Niagara-on-the-Lake.

So it was quite a treat to attend readings of two one-act plays adapted by Douglas Beattie, founder and director of Touchmark Theatre. Touchmark Theatre came into existence in 1999 as once a year fully staged productions presented in River Run Centre in Guelph. Since the early 90’s I have seen and reviewed about 5 of Touchmark productions,- all of them professional, well put together considering the restrains, superbly acted, and offering much welcomed winter-time enjoyment.

This January Douglas presented 2 one-act plays originally written about 100 years ago by Luigi Pirandello, adapting both to a modern era, including such elements as cell-phone, euros and business mergers and acquisitions. The first was a drama, the second a comedy read by Wayne Best, Melissa Good and Geordie Johnson. The actors were seasoned professionals who, after approximately 3 days of rehearsals, were able to offer a great theatrical experience so much appreciated by the audience. It was a reading: this meant no costumes, no stage décor, just actors reading their parts and it was fabulous!

The story lines meandered and the endings were a surprise. Feedback in the form of talk-back with the audience after the presentation (no one left early) showed that the plays were involving, meaningful to current day audiences and that the difference between what is right and what is wrong is very much debatable. In the first play it was the husband who was cheated on and decided to divorce his unfaithful wife who was called “the bad guy”, in the second a light-hearted chap who wanted to impress his friends by showing off with a prominent call-girl turned out to be a cheat and a crook. It was much more than the reading; it was a great theatre in itself!

Douglas Beattie has plans for future productions. Touchmark Theatre will continue and will expand to stagings in Guelph, Kitchener and London. Hopefully before long we will hear again from Touchmark and its Director, Douglas Beattie. All the best!

K-W Chamber Music Society

The Waterloo Region is a well-known centre for its music aficionados consistently supporting and attending concerts, be it symphony orchestra or smaller chamber music groups. One of the music centres is Kitchener Waterloo Chamber Music Society (KWCMS) which exists by grace of Jan Narveson, a retired University of Waterloo professor. Jan and Jean Narvesons provide a stable base in the form of The Music Room in their home where the concerts take place. They established KWCMS approximately 28 years ago and for the year 2010-11 are planning to offer about 68 concerts. KWCMS has been attracting musicians like Till Felner and Janina Fialkowska, and many other international talents, artists who otherwise would not even consider stopping by 90 km west of Toronto in Waterloo.

This coming February there are 8 concerts scheduled, in March another 8, and 7 in April. It is almost 2 per week. Some concerts are solo pianists as noted above, most are groups of trios or quartets. Some are local, like Penderecki Quartet, some come from United States, Europe, South America or even New Zealand. What is common for all of them is their professional quality and mature knowledge of music, composers and the periods they represent. Some composers are very well known like Haydn, Bach, Mozart or Brahms, another interpretation offered will be closely scrutinized by the devoted audience and much discussed. Some are little known, played rarely or played for the first time. Some concerts are classics, baroque, some are modern, even jazz or folk music. If you have not attended their concerts, you don’t know what you are missing! The Music Room is located in the heart of Waterloo, a walking distance from Waterloo Square.

As well as discs of classical music, recordings of past concerts are available (each one is recorded life as played in the Music Room). Their web-site is The e-mail is

Irena Syrokomla reviews arts, entertainment, the performing arts such as theatre, musicals, stage performances.

Email to Irena Syrokomla
Irena Syrokomla, Touchmark Theatre, reviews, arts, entertainment, performing arts, theatre, musicals, stage performances, Toronto, Kitchener, Waterloo, Stratford, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada

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