Thursday, 4 July 2013

"With Cruel Times in Between" celebrates Al Pittman's words at the Gros Morne Theatre Festival

by Keith and Heather Nicol
      Al Pittman is one of Newfoundland’s best known playwrights and poets and the play “With Cruel Times in Between” celebrates a sampling of his work. The minimalist set of 6 chairs stacked precariously as the play opens are imaginatively used by the 6 actors to create a boat, a cradle, a classroom, and a creek as well as many other sets throughout the play. As the scenes unfold we are given glimpses of a Newfoundland childhood from spearing flatfish along the ocean to trying to understand poetry in the classroom while being distracted by the hair twirling girl in the desk ahead. Other scenes explore the shifting tide of resettlement as communities deal with the reality of having to leave their homes behind for the “growth centres” on the mainland. We also enjoyed many of the songs that the cast sang throughout the show and we hadn’t realized that his words had been turned into so much music.  The cast of Adam Brake, Colin Furlong, Jennifer Furlong, Craig Haley, Claire Hewlett and Amelia Manual are enjoyable to watch as they move smoothly from scene to scene lifting Al Pittman’s lyrical writings off the page. See this play, adapted by SaraH McDonald,  to appreciate the words of one of Newfoundland’s best writers. For more information on TNL’s Gros Morne Theatre Festival schedule or to book tickets to a show see- or call 1-877-243-2899. 
Adam Brake, Claire Hewlett & Jenn Furlong.  (Photo by Johnny Cann)
 Gros Morne National Park (GMNP) is known for its hiking trails but there is a fabulous walk in Cow Head that we think more people should know about. Since the trail is not officially in GMNP it doesn’t get much mention through the typical park brochures and booklets. But we think it is an ideal walk since it is relatively flat and covers a variety of terrain from limestone cliffs to grassy meadows and it even includes a lighthouse built in 1909. To access the trail drive to the “Head” which is connected to the community of Cow Head by a short road. Look for signs to the Amphitheatre and park in the large parking area. Signs will lead you to the trailhead and the trail is very well marked with 2 lookout platforms and several side trails. The basic trail is a 1.5 km loop but we suggest taking the 500 meter side trail to southern tip of the peninsula since it ends in a large meadow and has a fascinating wave washed shore to explore.The video below shows show other activities to enjoy while in the Cow Head area.

Heather enjoys the view from the "Head"

       If you happen to be staying in Rocky Harbour or Norris Point or at Berry Hill or Green Point campgrounds and would like to access public transport to get yourself to a Gros Morne Theatre Festival production at Cow Head, contact the Festival Box Office 1-877-243-2899 no later than 2 pm on performance day to arrange transportation via the Shuttle Bus. 
This video shows many other activities to part in while visiting Cow Head, NL

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