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Making it Up

4 Skit’s Sake

Review by Norah Pendergast

Improvise, from the latin improvisus, which means literally, unforseen. To compose, recite, play or sing extemporaneously, to make, invent, or arrange offhand, or to fabricate out of what is conveniently on hand. The cast of 4 Skit’s Sake is doing it all this summer at the Art’s Guild.

Improv-comedy is a do or die theatrical medium which tests an actor’s nerves and creative capacity. To perform improv it is necessary to shed most inhibitions and become a vessel of jest. Sounds like a nightmare. According to Fraser MacCullum, one of the brave thespians, unrehearsed spontaneity in front of a large crowd, “is like losing your lines for two hours…but it’s exhilarating!” MacCullam is joined on stage by Adam Gauthier, Derek Bondt, Colin MacDonald, and host, Laura Pineau. Having spent years performing in many local theater productions, the group shared a desire for the test of an unscripted experience.

The format of 4 Skit’s Sake has host Pineau introduce unscripted skits, sketches, and improv games. To insure unpredictability and keep the actors on their toes, audience members are called upon to challenge the actors with surprise details or character traits.

4 Skit’s Sake is excited for its second season. The group originated in April of 2004 when the U.P.E.I. theater society needed representatives to participate in an improv challenge in Sackville, New Brunswick. They competed against groups from different schools and emerged victorious. Realizing a knack for improv, and noticing an untouched market, the group approached local “improv guru,” Laurie Murphy who arranged a template for last year’s four shows. Based on success and experience gained, 4 Skits Sake has decided to “take it up a notch,” with four more shows, increased efforts in advertising, and a funny film which introduces the performers and their production.

Other new features of this year’s production include live music performed by Jeremy Butler, and surprise local celebrities who take the stage after intermission to participate in a few games. Audience members can expect the hilariously unexpected from 4 Skit’s Sake. With skill and confidence, the group has made a habit of great unpredictable shows.

Fiddlin' in the Family

Keelin Wedge continues the tradition of Island music

by Norah Pendergast

To watch sixteen-year-old fiddle player, Keelin Wedge preform is to witness a true expression of Acadian culture.

“When I was six I asked Santa to bring me a fiddle, and that’s how it started.” Perhaps Keelin was predisposed to music. Her mother has descended from an especially musical, Francophone family, “they’re all fiddlers and dancers.”

The close knit communities of West Prince, with Acadian roots, and many philanthropic talent shows, are breeding grounds for young traditional musicians. There are many local events which provide much opportunity for skill development. Keelin Wedge has utilized this community support to develop mature musical skill and confidence. She appeared in her first talent show at age two, and hasn’t looked back. Last year Keelin played almost eighty concerts in jam packed community halls.

“It takes a lot of practice to fiddle and step dance at the same time because you can get going, and the bow starts bouncing, and its easy to get out of control,” explained the grade ten student. Keelin not only controls her bow, she also manages her own bookings and hopes to one day make a recording of traditional Acadian music. She is motivated to pursue the busy lifestyle of the professional musician because, “Music gives me the opportunity to play with so many interesting people, and there is always something to improve upon. You learn something new every day.”

Keelin demonstrated her stylistic versatility at the 2002-2003 PEI. Music Awards when she was awarded Classical Artist of the Year for a piece she decided to play, “just for something different.” Keelin is partial to traditional music, which she usually learns by ear, because there is more room for improvisation and the development of a personal style.

Summer will be busy for Keelin, she will perform with the 16th edition of the Acadian Dinner Theatre, ‘V’nez Chou Nous,” playing at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Palmer Road. She will also be a regular performer at Ceilidhs in Malpeque and Stanley Bridge, with Michael Pendergast.

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