Meet Stefanie Cornell, AKA Catherine in The Foreigner
Written by Ken Hildebrandt
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 12:22
Almost hard to believe, but we're just over two weeks away from the opening of Larry Shue's hilarious comedy, The Foreigner, here at Gallery 7 Theatre. In the lead up, thought we'd introduce you to a newcomer to the G7 stage, Stefanie Cornell. Stefanie will be playing Catherine in the show. Enjoy!
Gallery 7 (G7): Tell us about your acting/theatre background – how did you get involved in theatre in the first place? What makes you continue with it?
Stefanie (SC) I began backstage as a very shy ASM for the production of 1776 in my hometown of Bellingham, WA. It wasn't long before I was drawn to the light of center stage, jumping in feet first as Susy Hendrix in "Wait Until Dark," still the most challenging role I've ever conquered. I've participated on and off stage in full-length plays and one-act festivals throughout the past 10 years. Comedies remain my favorite; the energy of an audience's laughter is untoppable! Grown-ups don't often get much "play time" and I love theater because the stage is always ready and waiting, there for us to play.
G7: What drew you to this play?
SC: I stumbled upon Gallery 7 online and saw their last show of the season was coming up pretty soon. I hadn't participated in any theater since moving to Canada, so I figured auditioning would be a good place to start. And then I got cast! Even better!
G7: The Foreigner deals a lot with the power of disguise – what kinds of disguises do you think people use to protect themselves?
SC: Honestly, everyone disguises things about themselves, in one way or another. Be it make-up to create a prettier face, a smile to hide a hurting heart, aggression to cover fear... Disguises have their place, just as complete honesty and realness have theirs. Sometimes a simple moment of exposure (emotional, verbal, physical, etc.) can provide that breath of freedom a person needs to connect with what is organically real about themselves. As with all things, balance is the key. Not all disguises are necessarily bad or good, they are what they are. What matters most is understanding the whys behind them.
G7: What do you hope audiences will take away from this play?
SC: Most of all, I hope audiences will laugh and enjoy themselves! I also hope they will see that sometimes people aren't always what they seem; that some people who portray themselves as "good" can actually be using goodness as a cover for a much darker layer. And some people who come across as mean or "bad" may actually be shielding themselves because of past pain and buried wounds. You just never know the stories behind someone's ways or the experiences that formed the layers of the person you see today. Of course there are some people out there who are just plain mean - avoid them whenever you can!
G7: What's your favorite way to relax?
SC: Sleeping and then more sleeping! I have a nappuccino every day when possible.
G7: Can you share one of your guilty pleasures?
SC: Celebrity Apprentice with a mug of ice cream...
G7: What's one thing people might be surprised to know about you?
SC:People are always surprised to learn that I'm a Certified Hypnotherapist. They're also surprised when I tell them I've never made anyone act like a chicken! True hypnotherapy is nothing like the Vegas kind; honest hypnosis is a unique art form that I'm sincerely passionate about. I'm honored to be able to help others through this incredible method of healing. It has changed my life for the better, and continues to do so with every new session.
G7: What's the best 5 bucks you ever spent?
SC: Flowers for a friend. The littlest things can make the biggest difference.
G7: Best advice your mom or dad ever gave you?
SC: Oh I have gotten so much great advice from my parents! The piece of wisdom that comes to mind at the moment is my mom telling me throughout the years, "You'll get your chance, Stef." When there's something you really need to say to someone that you haven't been able to, "an opportunity will present itself." And it does - sometimes on a silver platter! You may have to wait a long time, but eventually there will come the moment to say what you need to say. And then you can move on with grace and gratitude.
G7: If you were on death row, what would you request as your last meal?
SC: A bowl of cereal, a cup of tea, fresh fruits, double-stuf Oreos and a small glass of non-fat milk, ice cream, rainbow tortellini with spicy marinara sauce, Belize vinaigrette salad, peanut butter and fluff sandwich with potato chips, goldfish crackers, trail-mix, popcorn, fajita burrito, chips and salsa, chicken burger and fries, grilled cheese sandwich, peanut M&Ms, Greek salad and pita bread, ice water with lemon, teriyaki chicken, fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, cookie dough, Szechuan stirfry, wonton soup, Hawaiian pizza, hot sourdough bread with butter, frenchtoast, blueberry pancakes, eggs and bacon, toast, a snickers bar and a glass of red wine. (Go big or go home!)
G7: Anything else you want to share?
SC:I think that's a wrap. Whew!
The Foreignerruns June 7 & 8, 13 - 15, 20 - 22, 2013 @ 7:30 PM with discount matinees on June 8, 15 & 22 at 2:00 PM at the MEI Auditorium, 4081 Clearbrook Road, Abbotsford. Tickets can be purchased in person or by phone at House of James, 2743 Emerson Street, Abbotsford or 604-852-3701 (1-800-665-8828) or online here.
We're delighted to introduce to you Benjamin Buckingham, writer, actor, all-round theatre fanatic AND our summer student theatre administrator for 2013. Thanks to a grant from Canada Summer Jobs, Ben will be coordinating our Summer Drama Blast program, and assisting with a wide variety of administrative and marketing tasks around the theatre.
On his first day on the job, Ben took some time to answer some questions we had for him, which we now share with you. Enjoy!
Gallery 7 (G7): Tell us a bit about yourself....where did you grow up? How did you find yourself here in the Fraser Valley?
Ben (BB): I grew up a bit all over the place. I was born in London, Ontario and my family has moved quite a bit. I've lived in Saskatoon, Ottawa, Montpellier (France) and Stellenbosch (South Africa). My mother works for Trinity Western University, and introduced me to how amazing of a University it is. Four years ago I moved from Ottawa to Langley to study Theatre at Trinity Western. Well I moved to study English but that lasted about a month before I switched to Theatre. I have finished my Theatre, and fallen in love with the west coast, as well as a girl named Caroline. So here is where I make my home!
G7: What does a day in the life of Ben look like?
BB: Right now? A number of crazy things. Hopefully filled with tea time, some voice practicing and monologue work. And writing!!! A good day always has me filled with a new idea for a play that I want to write, to explore or to share. It's filled with friends, good food and hopefully a trip to see a show in Vancouver. On a nice day a picnic is involved as well as maybe a short hike in Chilliwack. It is an amazing city to explore.
G7: So why theatre? How did you discover your passion for theatre and how long have you been doing it?
BB: I first discovered theatre in grade 7 when I was cast in my school's production of the mini musical Lucky Hudson. From there I continued to be involved in Theatre until I graduated High School, deciding I wanted to pursue English and become a writer. When I got to University I realized how deeply these two are connected and realized that Theatre was really where I belong. I find in theatre the intrinsic need to tell story. To pursue the truth of our society and examine what it is that makes us who we are. This is why I find my place as a playwright and actor. I want to write and act in the world of Theatre. I stick with it because I have a passion for truth. It needs to be shared. Without an exploration of the truth we cannot truly see who we are, or why we are where we are as a society. Our society is wrought with issues and theatre is a mirror that we can use to reflect on where we are.
G7: What area of theatre do you like the most and why?
BB: Ah! The dreaded 'pick a favorite' question. I have so much difficulty with this one. I think honestly it's playwriting that I am most passionate about. It lets me explore the lives of other people. When I playwright I get to learn so much about me and the world I live in. I get to create an entire world and find a nugget of truth. And seeing my work come to life onstage is amazing. Getting to share what was in my brain with others is crazy.
G7: You've just graduated from the theatre program from TWU. What were some highlights of your time at the university?
BB: One would definitely be the Trinity Theatre Community. We have such a tight knit community; I have developed some amazing friendships, and learned a whole lot about myself. The professors at Trinity are amazing. They have helped me grow so much as an artist and as a person in my time there. And shows! I was blessed to be in several shows at Trinity with crazy highlights such as me playing Mrs. Cratchit and being in a play with lettuce tattoos. It was an absolutely amazing program, and it helped me to become a very well rounded person and theatre artist.
G7: What are you looking forward to most by working at Gallery 7?
BB: I'm excited to get the chance to work with Gallery 7 and see how a theatre company works on the inside. I so love the work that is going on here and I'm excited to be a part of it!! I'm also excited to learn as much as I can about administrating.
G7: What's next for you?
BB: In the Fall I am heading off for one more semester of school. I'll be completing the Laurentian Leadership Centre program, which is affiliated with Trinity Western, in Ottawa. There I'll have a political internship and learn all about the political world. Which isn't so very different from theatre. Once that's done, it's back to BC, to Vancouver to try my hand at being an actor and playwright. Meaning lots of hard work, finding a day job, and plenty of auditions.
G7: What's your favourite way to relax?
BB: Reading a book in the sun. Honestly difficult to do in BC what with the two days of sunshine we usually get a year, but this summer is shaping up to be a beautiful one, and I am so excited to lounge about!!
G7: Can you share one of your guilty pleasures?
BB: Smash. It's a TV show about creating a musical based on Marilyn Monroe. Look it up. All about Broadway. I've seen every episode.
G7: What's one thing you can share that people might be surprised to know about you?
BB: Je peux parler francais! I'm bilingual, French and English. Not that surprising once you get to know me a little bit better. I grew up in Ottawa, where everyone involved in government needs to speak both. I also spent a year in France perfecting that accent.
G7: If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or living, who would it be and what's the first question you'd ask him/her?
Shakespeare. I would ask him how on earth he was able to create so many plays with such universality to them. Seriously. Go read a Shakespeare play. They are all still applicable to our time.
G7: Best advice your mom or dad ever gave you?
BB: Do your best and leave the rest. It was an adage that my grandfather used to say, that my dad has passed on. So reassuring to reflect on. Once something is done, you can't go back and change it, so why keep worrying about it?
Gallery 7 Theatre's Fest of Fools is on May 4th – that's this Saturday. Do you have your tickets yet? We've already given you 10 good reasons to go to Fest of Fools but we thought we'd give you 10 more...this time, from the people whose lives have been touched because of their experience at Gallery 7 Theatre...
1. Michael McIntyre: (actor: The Importance of Being Earnest, The Fantasticks, Swallows and Amazons) My journey in theatre has been a very personal one. I was socially awkward as a child and theatre helped me examine social interaction on a very deep and intimate level and as my skill in acting progressed, so did my social skills to the point where I am confident in both, though I never stop trying to improve them. But my need for theatre has grown beyond the purely personal. I continue to do it because it makes a difference. A good performance affects people emotionally, makes them think or sometimes helps them appreciate life more. And there is nothing like the feeling that you have made a difference in someone else's life, no matter how small.
2. Glen Pinchin: (actor: The Diary of Anne Frank, Tuesdays with Morrie, Swallows and Amazons): I've loved being in theatre but career, family and other activities took priority and my acting went on the back burner. After retiring from the RCMP I started to get involved in theatre again, first through church productions, then as a full-time theatre student at UFV. I hope to continue acting as long as I am able. I love the whole process of bringing a story to the stage and to an audience. For an actor, it stimulates the mind and soul and many wonderful friendships are forged along the way. Most gratifying though, is hearing that someone who watched what you (and others) did and was in some way moved or touched or made to laugh.
3. Annette Reilly: (actor/director: Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, Mary's Wedding and others) For me, there is no greater sense of accomplishment than when I step off the stage knowing that I gave everything that I was in that moment. I love the freedom to be vulnerable and the complete release of self. Being immersed in a role is a time where I can step away from my life, from my troubles, and enjoy living a moment in someone else's shoes. There is no other profession where you can live the experiences of an ancient Greek, or a Victorian Brit, or a turn of the century American all in one life time.
4. Kaile Khonje: (actor: Swallows and Amazons) Portraying truth on the stage is important to me. Does the script reflect some aspect of our human experience? A wise man once said that Christian artists are given the job of awakening our jaded senses. For me, being a part of a faith-based cast and crew is valuable as we are working towards a common goal.
5. Member of the Audience at Mary's Wedding: "Thank you for a wonderful production. My wife and I enjoyed it very much. We found it hard to believe that we sat for 90 minutes and did not notice the time passing. The actors did a fantastic job. They helped me think of the deaths of members of my family and how I see them everywhere, but the pain gets less. It was moving to see that portrayed on stage. Thank you."
6. Kenzie Hall (actor: Chickens, The Matchmaker, The Outsiders, Sense and Sensibility) Working for Gallery 7 has resparked a passion and respect for Theatre. It has helped me to learn and develop further skills and knowledge that I am very thankful for. From the 4 years I have worked with the theatre, I have developed some of the closest friendships I've ever had in my life.
7. Ben Wert: (actor: Quiet in the Land, Robinson Crusoe) "I auditioned for a Gallery 7 play for kicks and ended up playing Yock Bauman in Quiet in the Land. That started a crazy journey of acting and traveling that hasn't stopped yet. Most recently, I've become part of a traveling theatre troupe called 'Theatre of the Beat'. We travel the country putting on original plays that ask questions about peace and justice from a Mennonite perspective." Ben's troupe traveled across Canada with their play Gadfly: Sam Steiner Dodges the Draft, which was part of the Vancouver Fringe Festival last year.
8. Shelley Picard: (board member, actor: Crossing Delancy, The Matchmaker, Chickens, The Boys Next Door, The Fantasticks, Pride and Prejudice and others) For me, performing was the stepping stone from a shy and uncertain teenager to a confident & creative adult. It has been a journey of discovery as with each character I've played over the years, I've have learned little truths about my life. Coming from the world of community theatre to the Gallery 7 stage has been refreshing. Here at G7 it is about giving back - giving up and giving of ourselves for a common goal.
9. Emily Talma: (actor: The Fantasticks, Swallows and Amazons) The reason why I continue doing theatre is because it allows me to grow as a person. I always end up learning something more about myself and about life in general through every character I play. Every show offers a lesson or truth about life for the audience to come away with after every performance, and I think when you actually live through the characters, you come away with that much more knowledge and understanding.
10. Angelika Dawson: (audience member, volunteer usher, discussion guide writer, board member.) Theatre is sacred space to me. Every time I enter an auditorium and I see the actors tell me a story with their bodies, their minds, their words... God meets me there. It is a gift to be able to witness others use their God-given talents to draw me into a story that I can ponder for days to come. I have laughed, cried, been angry at injustice, been encouraged and given hope all because I have been to see a play. Having had my husband and my son be involved with productions, I can also say that it is a safe, nurturing environment for people of all ages to explore their talents and gifts. It also feels so amazing to be part of someone's life's work – Artistic Director Ken Hildebrandt started this theatre right out of high school. He's been inviting actors to come and explore their gifts and abilities for over 20 seasons. Gallery 7 theatre is a unique presence in this community and it deserves our support.
Join us on May 4th for an evening of fun - just by attending the Fest of Fools, you'll already be helping us raise much needed funds. If you can't come, consider making a donation and supporting Abbotsford's only full-time, faith-based, community theatre – which you can do at our website: www.gallery7theatre.com.
Top 10 Reasons to Attend Fest of Fools on May 4th!
Written by Ken Hildebrandt
Friday, 19 April 2013 14:54
We can think of a hundred reasons why you should attend Fest of Fools on May 4th, but today we'll just give you the top ten...
1. This year's event includes music by the Langley Ukulele Ensemble. People, this is not your elementary school band; these are highly accomplished, super entertaining musicians. Here's a link to prove it:
3. It's only $20!!! Honestly, you're getting comedy, music and more for just $20 – that's a smokin' deal! And if you do nothing more than buy a ticket and come, you'll help us cover our costs and raise thousands, so we want to put a butt in every seat – make sure yours is in one of them!
4. Feel like spending more than $20? Now you're talkin'! We have a fantastic Silent Auction planned and you can preview the great stuff here. More stuff is being added all the time, so keep coming back!
5. There will be dessert. Homemade, fancy, decadent... it's going to be a party in your mouth.
6. And that dessert is INCLUDED IN YOUR TICKET PRICE. Not a word of a lie.
7. If you arrive early, there'll be games to play and popcorn to eat while you peruse and bid on the Silent Auction stuff. All of that is also INCLUDED IN YOUR TICKET PRICE. Gosh, can it get any better?
8. This is a family-friendly event – you can bring your kids, bring your parents (they're kids at heart, aren't they?) If you don't have kids, that's okay, you can come too!
9. You can make a fully tax-receiptable donation. Yessiree, any donation over $10 gets a tax receipt – but don't let that stop you from giving, like $10,000. Just sayin'.
10. You'll be supporting Abbotsford's only full time community theatre. That's the best reason ever. We are getting much closer to our dream of moving into a fully independent theatre space (in fact, we're moving following the close of our 2013/2014 theatre season) that is the theatrical hub of the Fraser Valley. Your support helps us offer professional quality theatre and educational programming in our community today, while building a solid financial footing for tomorrow.
The doors and silent auction opens at 6:30 pm, the show starts at 7:30 pm. We've got a ticket waiting just for you! Click on the button below for all the details. If you can't make, will you consider making a donation to the theatre? You can do so right here.
Today, we thought you might enjoy reading some background notes on our current production, Swallows and Amazons, written by Angelika Dawson. The last four performances of this Canadian premier run March 21 - 23, 2013 at 7:30 PM with a discount matinee on March 23 @ 2:00 PM. Hope to see you there!
"If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in." ~Rachel Carson.
Swallows and Amazons is based on the novel of the same name by Arthur Ransome – the first book in a series. In the spring of 1929, Ransome submitted a synopsis and 50 pages of the story Swallows and Amazons to the publishers Jonathan Cape, who gave a favourable response. When it was published in 1930, it received enthusiastic reviews. Later that year, Swallows and Amazons was published in America. From that time, Ransome gave up his work as a journalist with the Manchester Guardian and dedicated himself to writing adventure stories for children.
Ransome's love for the lake developed as a child. The Ransome family frequently took their holidays at Coniston Water, in the English Lake District, where Ransome developed a fascination for the area and its inhabitants. It became a private rite for him on arrival to run down to the water and dip his hand in as a greeting. Ransome did not enjoy school but read voraciously and nurtured a desire to be a writer.
Swallows and Amazons was inspired by a summer of teaching sailing to the children of his friends, the Altounyans. Ransome and Ernest Altounyan bought two small dinghies called Swallow and Mavis. Ransome kept Swallow for a number of years before selling it but Mavis remained in the Altounyan family until it was donated to the Ruskin Museum where it is permanently on display.
Ransome's next book, Swallowdale, published in October 1931, was a sequel to Swallows and Amazons and featured the same characters: the sisters Nancy and Peggy Blackett, born and bred in the Lake District, and the visiting Walker children, John, Susan, Titty and Roger. These characters reappeared in most of the subsequent books.
Ransome died in Manchester on June 3, 1967 at age 83.
Swallows and Amazons has been adapted for television and radio and in 2007 the Royal National Theatre began developing a musical version for the stage. Neil Hannon, who is best known for recording and performing with the Divine Comedy, wrote the songs for the script which was adapted by award-winning playwright Helen Edmundson.
Our production is the first to be presented in Canada.
Consider becoming a member of our Supporter's Gallery or participating in our Seven for 7 Campaign. All donations above $10.00 receive a tax-deductible receipt. Call 604-504-5940 or click on the button on the right sidebar to make your donation.