Celebrating its 44th season at the historic Town Hall Theatre, the award-winning St. Marys Community Players, are currently presenting the Tony award-winning musical “Man of La Mancha.”
The show which runs until November 5 is directed by Mark Mooney with musical direction by Gord Hardcastle
Chloe Weir, who plays Aldonza (Dulcinea) was inspired at a young age by the actors on the stages of Stratford. Years later, after training in Toronto, she continues to bring her joyful style to the theatres of her community by performing in Perth and Oxford Counties.
In August, Weir represented Ontario in the National Music Festival competition and placed first in musical theatre.
How did a local music festival help you prepare for a fully staged show?
In my many years of performing in the local Kiwanis Music Festival, then at the provincial and national levels, I’ve learned that in a small competition setting, just because you’re singing just one brief moment from a whole show, you still have to inhabit that character as much as you would in a fully staged production.
It’s a little bit more difficult to create the backstory and a fully-fleshed out character in a four-minute song, but challenging yourself is half the fun.
Why did you want to be involved in “Man of La Mancha?
This show is so close to my heart.
It was one of the first musicals I saw performed live, and it was one of the soundtracks I played in an endless loop, along with “Les Miserables,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat” and more. It had a complexity that my younger self fell in love with.
Aldonza was such a vivid character, and one that I, honestly, never thought I’d be able to play, because I fit myself too firmly into a “type.” I’m incredibly grateful that our directing team was able to see her in me, once I let myself break out of the box I’d put myself in.
What do you love about your character, Aldonza?
I love her strength.
From birth, she’s had an objectively awful life and had no opportunity to change that. A lesser person would be beaten down by this, but even though Aldonza still lives a pretty terrible day-to-day life, she’s still calling her own shots and making the best of a bad situation.
And when Don Quixote comes into her world, she’s hardened, but there’s still a softness in her that he brings out, and that she can’t get rid of, no matter how much she has to go through.
Is there anything in particular you love about the music?
Every song is touched by a little Spanish flair, giving them a feeling that’s entirely different from other longstanding musical theatre pieces.
Working on the songs before rehearsal started, I thought I would never understand the odd rhythms, but it only took a few days for them to sink in. I discovered that they’re the type of songs that need to be felt more than counted out, and what felt wrong to my Canadian brain now feels absolutely natural.
Will the audience spend more time laughing or crying?
Even though there’s some pretty serious subject matter, it’s still an uplifting show at its heart. It’s about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and finding joy in places that seem dark and hopeless. That’s something that anyone can relate to and find positives in.
What do the actors in the cast do to prepare for rehearsal and for the show?
Well, first, we have to get our sillies out. I spend so much time laughing with my castmates, it’s good to try to get it out at the beginning. We’re all there early every day, so we can take some time for a proper hello and a catch-up, then it’s time for some funny vocal warm-ups. After that, though, it’s time to get serious.
We need our heads in the game or someone could get hurt. I’m so lucky that I’m able to put my trust in all of the people I’m working with, and I’m confident we’ll get to the end of the run without injury, in part thanks to the incredible work done by our designer Reed Needles.
Man of La Mancha
St. Marys Community Players
St. Marys Town Hall
Only 4 more shows:
Thurs Nov 2 – 8pm
Fri Nov 3 – 8pm
Sat Nov 4 – 8pm
Sun Nov 5- 8pm
Click for Ticket Information
Or Call – 519-284-4826