Watch "The Acme Sorting Company"
A young person has his first day of work in a new job. Thanks to social distancing, our hero meets the staff by way of a Zoom meeting. The agenda quickly goes sideways as gossip, accusations, and general zaniness intrude on the order of business. While normally, teamwork makes the dream work, in this case, what we end up with is a goat rodeo. And by the way, what is the new kid’s name?
I felt guilty that I did not assist on the first virtual production (The Importance of Being Earnest) so I made a commitment to myself to contribute to “Summer Shorts”. The inspiration for this particular title comes from personal experience of having to attend meetings that should or could have been minutes. Also, who has not worked at a job where a few of their coworkers were not “all there”? Finally, I wanted to create a challenge for the actors. They are tasked with creating fully drawn characters from scant source material. It can be challenging but also very freeing.
I got involved because I was itching to do something with the Players. What an amazing opportunity to do that with people across the country in the Summer Shorts Festival. The Acme Sorting Company has a cast that stretches from Toronto to Nova Scotia. What great fun is that! The play, written by our own Jim Finan is a short piece that challenges actors in a fast paced farce and challenges me because I am “zoom challenged.” The play will make you laugh at a time we really could use it.
Meet the Cast & Crew
Oliver Parker (New Guy)
Oliver is very excited to be working with the Northumberland Players in this virtual festival! Oliver has been doing community theater for the last 3 years, his most credits include Catch Me If You Can - The Musical (Upscale Theatre Company), The First Miracle (Beech Street Theatre Company) and The Sodfather (Beech Street Theatre Company).
Oliver has also done work for a virtual choir with the Acapella group Voctave. He hopes you enjoy the show and the festival!
Kate Shuker (Blanchard)
Kate has been a member of the Northumberland Players since the fall of 2018 when she returned to her love of acting in Miracle on 34th Street after a decade long hiatus from the stage. She has since performed in The Drowning Girls at the Firehall Theatre as well as Stage Kiss at the Best Western.
When not performing, Kate is an elementary school secretary who lives in Port Hope with her partner Matt, her handsome sons and crazy dogs.
Matt Blundell (Wachosky)
This is Matt’s 5th season with the Northumberland Players and his second online show this year.
Matt is very grateful to have the opportunity to work with some of his closest friends on this project and make a few new ones along the way. The distraction has also been a welcomed one and Matt hopes you enjoy watching this as much as he enjoyed working with this group to create it. Stay safe.
Alex Stamp (Positano)
Alex Stamp is an acting teacher, actor and occasional playwright in downtown Toronto. This is his first time performing with the Northumberland Players and he’s enjoyed meeting so many wonderful people across the three different productions.
Alex has been doing theatre for the past twenty years doing many roles across comedies, farces and pantomimes. He’s been on stage many times with the NAGs players as well as working more recently with the Inspirato festival.
When he’s not on stage, he’s still often on stage or backstage as a high school drama teacher in the Toronto District School Board. While it’s a pleasure to work with young people to get them onstage and backstage, theatre is too good to let them have all the fun! It’s been a pleasure seeing how well artists have kept theatre alive and thriving during these atypical times.
Kelly Paron (Lou Ann)
Kelly is thrilled to be cast in the NP Summer Shorts Festival. A longtime lover of theatre and former theatre mom, she is excited to take the virtual stage in four summer shorts.
Having previously performed in The Drowsy Chaperone, she looks forward to stepping out of her comfort zone to bring Lou Ann to life in The Acme Sorting Company.
She would like to thank Jim Finan for writing this hilarious short, as well as Jack Boyagian and the rest of this amazing cast for taking this inaugural journey with her and finally her husband and two sons for their encouragement and never ending support!
Ron Newcombe (Dwayne)
Ron Newcombe is a television, feature film and stage actor living in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Notable stage credits include: Darcy in "Pride and Prejudice" (Boardmore Theatre), Marius in "Les Misérables" (Savoy Theatre), Roué in "Bluenose" (Neptune Theatre)
Garret Lee (Pequod)
Garret has been a member of Northumberland Players for 3 years now and always enjoys working with them. The Summer Shorts have been one of his favourite.
Some of his most memorable roles are Richard Hannay in The 39 Steps, Capulet in Romeo and Juliet and Mr. Macy in Northumberland’s Radio Play Version of A Miracle on 34th Street.
Since the pandemic, he has taken to streaming live regularly. He is very active on Twitch and is strangely enjoying the virtual aspect of theatre.
He sincerely hopes you enjoy The Summer Shorts and that everyone is staying safe and properly social distancing and can’t wait for us all to get back into the Theatre.
Michael Khashmanian (Mr. Ball)
Michael began acting as a young child. His grandmother ran Gertie’s Travelling Medicine Show from her horse and wagon selling cure-all potions. Michael’s job was to perform one person plays to draw in customers.
Since then he has written, directed and acted in far too many plays to list here. He lives in Whitby and is currently the President and Managing Artistic Director for the Beech Street Theatre Company.
When his BSTC duties give him the chance, he loves working with the Northumberland Players, a great group of people. Summer Shorts will be Michael’s first attempt at performing on Zoom, where he is in two plays, The Acme Sorting Company and Death Certificate. His ultimate goal is to bring peace and love to the world through theatre.
Marg Kropf (Dolores)
This Zoom theatre is a new experience for Marg but then Covid is a new experience for the world.
She has enjoyed her involvement as the drill sergeant in this very silly but clever farce and as the Sophia Patrilo type character in Stretch. Her Favourite roles in the past were Yenta in Fiddler on the Roof and Mother Superior in Nunsense. Character roles are her life blood.
Jim Finan (Writer)
Jim has directed several productions for the Northumberland Players including the multi-award winning Boeing-Boeing named best production in Ontario (2018).
Jim has served the Players as actor, set designer and builder, props creator, video projections designer, and “button pusher”. This is his first crack at play-writing.
Many thanks to Jack and the actors for bringing this tiny play to life. Cheers!
Jack Boyagian (Director)
Jack Boyagian is the Artistic Director and President of the Northumberland Players. He is a retired English and Theatre Teacher from East Northumberland Secondary School. He has directed, produced and acted in over 40 plays.
He misses live theatre so much but what a wonderful opportunity the Summer Virtual Shorts Festival has provided. He has had a great time working on this short and funny play written by his friend Jim Finan. Meeting actors from Toronto to Nova Scotia has been unique and uplifting.