MacEwan University gets “Fringed and Confused”

August 8, 2014


Theatre Arts alumna one of the many students, alumni and faculty who are part of the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival

Every year, MacEwan University celebrates the plethora of students, alumni, staff and faculty members who volunteer in, work for, or perform in the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival. Theatre Arts grad Mackenzie Reurink is one of the many who can be found among the cast and crew lists of a variety of shows; so many that it’s often difficult to keep track of which (and in some cases, how many) shows each person is a part of.

Mackenzie (pictured right) is the musical director for Zanna, Don’t!, and admits that while it wasn’t intentional, the show does use a number of MacEwan University alumni.

“We often use graduates from Theatre Arts in our shows, but we also use Theatre Production grads, Music grads for our bands, and Fine Art grads for our poster and program design. While it's not intentional, I think it's because so many MacEwan alumni are connected.”

IMAGE-story-Fringe-MReurinkWhat does your role as musical director involve?

As musical director, it's my job to make sure the cast knows what they're singing, and that they sound good. Before any of our blocking and choreography rehearsals start, we spent a couple of weeks plunking out notes, learning parts and working on musicality. Once everything starts to come together, I get to come in and get picky with things like dynamics and musicality, and make them sound amazing!

Typically, musical directors will also play piano for the show, but I am fortunate enough to have the wonderful Arielle Ballance on the keys.

What is Zanna, Don't! about?

Zanna, Don't! is set in fictional Heartsville High, in a world where everyone is homosexual, and the heterosexuals are subject to “heterophobia.” Zanna is a magical matchmaker who brings couples at the school together. Everything is great, until the captain of the football team and the captain of the All Girls Intramural Mechanical Bullriding team begin to discover their feelings for each other.

This is an outrageously funny, campy and glittery show with awesome music, brilliant actors and an important message. Zanna isn't scared to touch on real issues, isn't scared to poke fun at those issues, and still manages to make a significant comment on treating others equally.

How did the Theatre Arts program prepare you for working in theatre?

I've been singing since I was eight years old. I only started doing musical theatre in high school, and did not have much training in the other two disciplines – dancing and acting. Before MacEwan, I had ZERO training in dance. It's hard to be a triple threat when you have two left feet. The program was amazing for helping me work on all three skills, and really turned me into a multifaceted performer.

The program also helped me develop professional skills and connections. I’ve met so many people through the program that have helped me in my career so far.

What else have you done since graduating?

Since graduating, I've been very fortunate. I started my own theatre company with fellow alumni, Steven Angove and Antony Hall; did a 255-show tour with Alberta Opera; and was in the world premiere of Marvelous Pilgrims by Stewart Lemoine with Teatro La Quindicina. And I've auditioned for everything possible!

What's your career goal?

My goal is to keep working on shows and projects that I’m passionate about. I'm lucky that I have been able to work on so many amazing projects with so many amazing people, and I hope that I'm fortunate enough to continue doing that! I still have no idea what I'll be doing in 10 years, or which city I'll be living in, but I hope that I will still be doing what I love!

MacEwan University at the Fringe

The following is a sampling of the students, staff, faculty and alumni from various programs under the Faculty of Fine Arts and Communications. Though we have gathered a comprehensive list, we cannot guarantee all members of the MacEwan University community involved in the Fringe have been accounted for. Apologies to those we have missed.

Arts and Cultural Management

Alumni Jill Roszell and Jenn Beleshko are executive director and development coordinator, respectively, for the Fringe; faculty member David Cheoros has written two plays for the festival; and student Gennieve Edwards is beer gardens coordinator.

Theatre Production

Students Charles Marsh and Robin Wolff Van Selzam along with alum Jessica Poole are lending their behind-the-scenes skills to the shows. Faculty member Darcy Turlock is venue technical director/production manager.

Theatre Arts

Deep Blue Sea features alumni Andrew MacDonald-Smith and Jocelyn Ahlf.

Dogfight’s cast members include alumni Christopher Scott, Jordan Mah and Michael Vetsch.

The Euphorians includes alumni Andrew MacDonald-Smith, Amber Bissonnette, and Jenny McKillop.

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman is directed and choreographed by faculty members Kate Ryan and Cindy Kerr, respectively. The show features alumni Sheldon Elter, Ryan Parker, Garett Ross, Jason Hardwick, Elena Porter and Rachel Bowron.

Zanna, Don’t! (cast rehearsal pictured at top) features Jillian Willems, Maddy Knight, Frank Keller, Adam Sanders, Sarah Ormandy, Kelly Webber, Krista Skwarok and Stewart Bartlett. It is directed by Steven Angove, with musical director Mackenzie Reurink.

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