“Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth” – Humorous drama at Firehall Theatre

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Written August 13, 2017

(Gananoque, ON)

It isn’t easy to talk about the past, especially about events that are painful to all involved.  It can be even more difficult to look at it with laughter and light, turning tragedy into a comedy that can reach all people.  However, Ojibway playwright Drew Hayden Taylor has done exactly that with “Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth”. Continue reading

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Smooth Sailing as Rotary Club of Gananoque Makes Donation to Camp Merrywood

 

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Written August 4, 2017

(Perth ON)

There is a lot of joyful noise rising out of Camp Merrywood, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.  An Easter Seals camp located near Perth, it takes 72 very special campers per ten day session, and always finds itself filled to capacity with bright, eager participants.  While about 95 percent of campers come from Ontario, many also come from Newfoundland, and the occasional international camper joins the group.  While the campers may have conditions like spina bifida, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or a host of other daunting physical conditions, during their time at Merrywood they are simply kids out to have a great time in a wonderful environment. Continue reading

OPP seek public help in solving 40-year-old cold case

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Three dimensional clay facial reconstruction of Nation River Lady created by OPP Forensic Artist/Reconstruction Analyst, Provincial Constable Duncan Way using advanced modern technology (courtesy of OPP gleaned from their official video)

 

Written on August 1, 2017

(Ontario, Canada) A farmer living south of the Town of Casselman, Ontario, made a grisly discovery on May 3, 1975.  A short distance from the Highway 417 Bridge the remains of a Caucasian woman somewhere between 25 and 50 years old, of a height between 5’ 2” (157 cm) and 5” 3” (160 cm) tall, were lying in the Nation River.

Body location

Aerial view showing where the body was found

 

“Her body was wrapped with two pieces of green cloth, two towels – one depicting an Irish Toast and the second displaying multiple flowers,” says a news release from the OPP.  “Additionally, a J Cloth, black coaxial cable and a curtain rod runner were with the body.  Her hands and feet were bound with neckties; a blue tie with small Canada flag emblems known as ‘the Canadian tie’, a blue striped silk tie and a red tie with yellow patterns.”

With no identification found on the body, she was called the Nation River Lady and has gone on to be one of Canada’s longest lasting mysteries.  A woman with the modern fashion sense of her day, her body was clothed in a long sleeved, navy blue body suit – a popular garment for women that came in many styles, all of which fastened at the crotch with snaps to keep the garment neatly tucked in.  The one she was wearing buttoned ¾ down the front.  She also had a complete manicure (both finger and toenails) with pink polish.  Her hair was naturally brown, but she had dyed it strawberry blonde.

She is described as being of slight to average build, weighing approximately 100 pounds (45.5 Kg).  Her body had a scar indicating that her appendix had been removed.  She had had considerable dental work and wore partial dentures, both upper and lower.

Yet with all this information about her, so many key things about the Nation River Lady are completely unknown.  Who was she?  What was her name?  Who killed her and why?

The killer in this case robbed her not only of her life, but of her identity as well.

Several articles have been written about her over the years, various bits of information released, all hoping to finally learn her identity and help bring the case to rest.  Going through them adds some legitimate information not listed in the latest release.

The items found with her tend to shed little light on where she came from, where she was killed, or why.  The “Canadian Tie” had three Canadian emblems on a navy blue background.  A souvenir item, it was made in Montreal and sold by various stores in the province of Quebec and in the eastern part of Ontario.  The coaxial cable that was found tightened around her neck was apparently manufactured in Renfrew, Ontario and distributed in the areas of Ottawa, Hull, Montreal and Brockville, with an article stating that it had a spatter of grey paint on it.  The tea towels and J Cloth found with her were common items found in many homes, as was the green, fringed cloth (which resembles a furniture throw or bedspread in the photograph provided).  The other two men’s ties were standard fashion items of the era.

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Items found with her body (photos property of OPP except for vintage body suit ad)

Due to the science of the period, determining time of death was not easy.  It has been stated that she may have been killed in the summer or fall of 1974, then disposed of in the river.  Winter conditions could easily have kept her from being found until late in the following spring.

OPP Forensic Artist/Reconstruction Analyst, Provincial Constable Duncan Way has used advanced modern technology and created a three dimensional clay facial reconstruction of her.  Viewed from several angles, it will hopefully remind someone of a person they knew and cared about more than 40 years ago.

She was someone’s daughter, and may have been someone’s aunt, cousin, sister, or wife.  One article claims that her body showed no signs of ever having had children.  She may have come from the Town of Casselman area, or she may have been from farther away.  Was she someone’s best friend, someone somebody didn’t think could possibly be dead?  Was there no one who missed her?  Does anyone recognize or remember her at all?

Hope was kept alive as long as possible before her body was interred in a Toronto cemetery in 1987, marked only with a numbered metal plate.  But now, with advanced technology, there may be a fresh chance to solve this case.  Her DNA and fingerprints are on file, and with public cooperation and assistance it may be possible to finally at least bring a name to one who has been without one for so long.

“The Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) investigates major crimes including homicide along with death investigations on behalf of the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario,” says the official release.  “The Missing Persons Unidentified Remains Unit (MPUB) is dedicated to assisting front line police officers with missing persons and unidentified human remains investigations.  A partnership between the OPP MPUB unit, the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service (OFPS) and the Office of the Chief Coroner (OCC) has existed since 2006 and we work together to locate missing persons and give a name to unidentified remains.”

With this aim in mind, they have once again reached out to the public for help in the Nation River Lady’s case, bringing out the physical evidence and making it available for scrutiny.  Cases like this are never closed until they are solved, no matter how long it takes.

“Under the direction of Detective Inspector Daniel Nadeau of the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB), detectives from Russell County OPP and East Region Criminal Operations have been reviewing the evidence and exploring investigative options,” says the release.  “Ontario Provincial Police are seeking the public’s assistance and ask that if you have information that may help identity this woman or to find the person(s) responsible for her homicide that you contact the Ontario Provincial Police at 1-888-310-1122 or the Nation River Lady dedicated tipline at 613-591-2296.”

TI Playhouse 35th Anniversary Season Off to an Explosive Start with Boom!

TI Playhouse - Boom - media morning - Gananoque - May 25, 2017 - IMG_7492cropresizearot

(Gananoque, ON)  We’re talkin’ ‘bout my generation…  about a whole lot of people’s generation.  Ladies and gentlemen, Rick Miller’s “Boom!” has hit the stage with all the wildness and complete abandon of the generation for whom it was named, and whether you are a “Baby Boomer” or not, you’re in for a great ride through one of the most turbulent 25 year periods in modern history. Continue reading

You Are About to Be Awoken at the Royal Theatre in Gananoque

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Nicholas Dave Amott in “Awoken”

“ Meet Todd. Todd can’t sleep. But Todd is dreaming. This original, one-man play is written and performed by Nicholas Dave Amott.

“Neither awake nor asleep, Todd must journey through his own corrupted subconscious-idle fantasies and suppressed memories – and discover his purpose, before choosing to wake up…or sleep forever. Inspired by a true story.”

Amott has taken on a very rare yet very real inherited disease which attacks the thalamus and other areas deep inside the brain, and turned it into a one man show that attempts to give us an idea of what it is like to live inside the nightmare.  Continue reading

The Thousand Islands Playhouse Presents Two Plays to Take You Places

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Beneath Springhill rehearsal

written by Lorraine Payette, July 25, 2016

Whether you are heading “Beneath Springhill” or “Into the Woods”, the Thousand Islands Playhouse has wonderful times in store.

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Into the Woods rehearsal

“‘Beneath Springhill’ is the incredible story of Maurice Ruddick, ‘the singing miner,’ an African-Canadian who survived nine days underground during the historic Springhill mining disaster of 1958,” said the Playhouse.  “This multi-award-winning one-man show recalls the events during the disaster, the effect it had on the rural Canadian community, and the racial tension that grew from it.  The play is a celebration of hope, courage and community.” Continue reading

Blithe Spirit Out to Prove There Are Laughs after Death

 

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Media preview shots

by L. Lorraine Payette, written June 23, 2016

(Gananoque, ON)

Poor Charles (Stephen Gartner).  Writers have troubles at the best of times, and getting good research is only one of many.  He was sure he had it all worked out – he would hold a simple séance at his home with local clairvoyant and medium, Madame Arcati (Anita Wittenberg), and not only would he, his wife Ruth (Krista Colosimo) and his friends, Doctor Bradman (Christopher Weddell) and Mrs. Bradman (Janet Michael), participate in some good clean fun, but there should be more than enough material.  His maid, Edith (Kelsey Gilker) would handle dinner and arrangements, and things would be perfect.  And so they were, until his deceased wife Elvira (Shannon Currie) decided to liven up the evening with a few antics of her own…

Welcome to Noël Coward’s “Blithe Spirit”, a spooky little comedy bent on keeping the eternal triangle exactly that – eternal.

“Noël Coward is famous for his scintillating dialogue, and Blithe Spirit doesn’t disappoint,” says artistic director Ashlie Corcoran of the show’s playwright. “This is my favourite play by Coward because of the element of the supernatural.  It takes aim at both society’s interest in and mockery of the world of the occult.  This play transcends satire and manages to both amuse and scare
audiences.  The show provides exceptional roles for women, and I am excited by all the opportunities to create design and stage magic!”

Several of the cast will be familiar to Playhouse attendees.  Returning are Krista Colosimo (Don’t Dress for Dinner, Boeing Boeing), Shannon Currie (Dear Johnny Deere, Waiting for the Parade), Janet Michael (Waiting for the Parade), and Anita Wittenberg (Waiting for the Parade, Boeing Boeing).  Fresh faces come in with debut performances from Stephen Gartner, Kelsey Gilker, and Christopher Weddell.

One of the season’s three co-productions with Western Canada Theatre in Kamloops, the play promises to be a lot of fun while it brings that old black magic to life.  Set and costume design is by Dana Osborne and beautifully recreates the ‘30s.  Stage Manager Isabelle Ly provides special effects, which are full of ghostly fun.  The entire support crew has worked to put together an experience that will leave you chuckling and amazed.

“Blithe Spirit” runs from June 17 – July 16, 2016, at the Springer Theatre, 185 South Street in Gananoque, Ontario.  Running time for the play is 2 hours including intermission.  Show times are Tuesday 7:30, Wednesday through Saturday 8:00 pm, with matinees on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 pm (starting the Sunday after opening night).  Student matinee is May 26 at 11:00 a.m. and is presented by the TD Bank Group.  Tickets are $32 for adults, $30 for seniors age 65+, <30 Club $20.  HST is applicable to all ticket prices.  For more information, please go to www.1000islandsplayhouse.com or contact the box office at 613-382-7020.

 

A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline Glistens with Greatness

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official theatre photos property of Thousand Islands Playhouse

written by Lorraine Payette, June 3, 2016

(Gananoque, ON) Patsy Cline has come to Gananoque, and the Thousand Islands Playhouse may never be the same again.  As Little Big Man spins the platters and reminisces, the music flows on down and everyone – everyone – is invited to join right in and sing along to those amazing hits from yesteryear.

Alison MacDonald doesn’t just play the part in “A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline” – she is Patsy, from the moves to the look to that one and only voice. Continue reading

New Season Opens with “A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline”

 

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by Lorraine Payette, written May 24, 2016

(Gananoque, ON)  It’s time to go out walking after midnight with a brilliant two-person musical based on the life and career of superstar Patsy Cline.  As the opening show at the Thousand Islands Playhouse, it promises to be everything her fans could want and more.

Returning to the Playhouse for this production are actress Alison MacDonald as Patsy Cline, musicians David Archibald and Bob Arlidge, costume designer Jayne Christopher, assistant stage manager Michael Barrs, set designer Ross Nichol, and director Daryl Cloran.  New to the Springer Theatre stage are actor Tyler Murree as Little Big Man, musicians Dan Charbonneau and Duncan Holt, stage manager Lisa Russell, lighting designer Davida Tkach and sound designer Ben Malone. Continue reading

2016 Season at the Thousand Islands Playhouse Destined to Fill Summer with Magic

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A handful of the faces both new and familiar who will be gracing the stages at the Thousand Islands Playhouse this season.

By Lorraine Payette, Written May 10, 2016

(Gananoque, ON)  After a winter of roller coaster weather, it’s hard to wait for the start of what could be the hottest and coolest season yet at the Thousand Islands Playhouse.

“Our 2016 season is right around the corner, and I’m so excited to be welcoming our incredible creative teams and cast members from across Canada,” said Ashlie Corcoran, Artistic Director.  Continue reading