Tuesday, 28 June 2011 14:45

Outlook, Sask. native finding his inner child

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By Rose Sanchez — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Conrad Belau isn’t a kid, but he’s enjoying portraying one in Rosebud Theatre’s summer feature, Jake and the Kid: Prairie Seasons.
The Outlook, Sask. native asked artistic director Morris Ertman if he could audition for the part of the Kid, when they were held last year.
“I had been reading (W.O Mitchell’s) stories a lot, and I really connected with this kid,” he says. “Coming from a small town myself, I was excited to tell the story.”

According to a release from Rosebud, the play shapes three of W.O. Mitchell’s Jake and the Kid stories (The Day Jake Made Her Rain, Cabin Fever and You Gotta Teeter) into a two-act play with “tall-tale story lines, colourful vernacular dialogue and poetic descriptions of Canada’s prairies. Combined, the show successfully brings to the stage the cantankerous hired hand Jake, the Kid, the Kid’s ma, Old Man Gatenby, a character that reappears in the stories as Jake’s neighbourly nemesis and a CBC radio reporter.”

Once successful in landing the role, Belau prepared for the stage by watching a lot of the young children in the hamlet of Rosebud. Acting as a child, when one is clearly an adult, is all about the attention span children have, says Belau.

So far audience reaction to the show which opened at the end of May, has been great.

“They’re loving it it seems,” says Belau. “It’s a goofy, but heartfelt story.”

He loves hearing the emotions the play brings out in the audiences, from hearty laughter to the quiet of the more serious moments.

Belau started rehearsals for Jake and the Kid while still finishing the last month of performances for A Bright Particular Star —Rosebud’s first play of the season.

He is entering his last year in the Mentorship Acting Programme with Rosebud School of the Arts and when finished he hopes to continue in a career on stage. He believes Vancouver could offer some nice opportunities or may return to his Saskatchewan roots and head to Saskatoon.

“(Performing in) Jake and the Kid reminded me of why I like acting,” he adds. “You get to tell the stories people relate to and it gives voices to the voiceless sometimes.”

Belau enjoys the interaction between actors and audiences and the connections which are made.

Reaction to the play has been good and so has the opening of the new Rosebud Mercantile. It’s a 10,000-square-foot dining, shopping and meeting/convention space including the Harvest Room and Wild Horse Jack’s Bistro and Grill.

“It really seems exciting. The new building ha opened up a lot of possibilities,” says Belau. “I think most towns need that meeting place and this is now our biggest building in town.”

Jake and the Kid: Prairie Seasons plays on the Rosebud Theatre Opera House stage from Wednesdays through Sundays until August 28. Matinee and evening performances are available. Phone the Rosebud Theatre Box Office for reservations at 1-800-267-7553. More information can be found at www.rosebudtheatre.com.

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