Two shows, two world premieres, one night in Barrie. Newfie Electra and Music for the Changing Voice are both one-woman shows created for theatre by Allison Basha and Alyssa Wright.
For Barrie’s Alyssa Wright, Music for the Changing Voice is a journey of growing up in her grandfather’s shadow, finding her own voice, and turning the most broken bits into art. She did a workshop version of the show two years ago and has revised and edited it for her first professional theatre run.
Wright is a singer-songwriter who grew up with a variety of genres from jazz to hymns and it continues in her current life as a professional cellist. She has released several recordings and currently performs with several groups such as Celtic band Pagan’s Folly, and is in demand for cello studio and session work.
She wrote the music for this show. It is a collaboration with two of her friends, Leslie Arden, an award-winning musical theatre composer who will be contributing vocals and keyboard; and Ray Dillard, an innovative percussionist, music producer, and recording engineer, who will be playing marimba, percussion.
“It’s been quite the journey,” said Wright, who fell in love with the cello listening to her grandfather play. “Leslie, Ray and I have also been busy in the recording studio recently, making a “cast album” for the show, and I’ve been making connections with several organizations to create a resource list for anyone who is hit hard by the themes from the show.”
Allison Basha’s show Newfie Electra emerged out of a master’s program in acting at East 15 theatre school in London, England.
“We had to write and perform a 15-minute solo show that had to start with a character in a play and from there could go in a direction we wanted,” said Basha, who chose the Greek tragedy Electra by Sophocles.
“I chose to use the character and adapted it to a Newfoundland out-port fishing community,” she laughed. “It’s kind of off the wall.”
Her first performance was in front of international students attending the school and she discovered, to her surprise, the Newfoundland culture translated well and it was a hit. For this show, an expanded version, she has worked with Nova Scotia-born director Mary Ellen MacLean, who had staged her own one-woman shows in the past.
Basha grew up in Stephenville, Newfoundland, and marked her first professional show at the local theatre festival when she was 16 years old. She moved to Toronto in 2014 and did work in film and television. After a two year gap from the stage, she has moved back into theatre and recently completed a run of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe with Theatre New Brunswick. After the Barrie show, she will be joining Theatre Direct Canada for a cross-country tour of Flying Hearts.
Newfie Electra and Music for the Changing Voice unfold April 25 to May 4 at the Five Points Theatre in Barrie. Visit www.tift.ca or call 705-792-1949 for tickets and showtimes.
Photo: Alyssa Wright stars in her own one-woman show Music for the Changing Voice at Talk is Free Theatre, April 25 to May 4.
Photo credit – Peter Stranks