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Vertigo kicks off 40th season

By Rachel Woodward, September 8 2016 —

Vertigo Theatre will celebrate its 40th anniversary season this month with a rendition of the 1946 classic The Big Sleep. The play is adapted for Vertigo Theatre by Aaron Bushkowsky and directed by Craig Hall.

Vertigo’s 40th season will revolve around the theme of mystery by revamping five genre staples, including Agatha Christie’s The Hollow and Frederick Knott’s Wait Until Dark.

The Big Sleep is a film-noir style mystery. In the play, a millionaire’s daughters are blackmailed and he hires private investigator Philip Marlowe to get to the bottom of things — until things get sticky.

Local actor Curt McKinstry performs in the show as various characters. McKinstry is a University of Calgary alumni and he says that his experiences at the U of C helped his career as an actor in the city.

“One of the biggest strengths of the U of C program is that it gave us all a sense of creating professional experiences for ourselves,” he says. “If you look at a lot of the new theatre companies that have popped up, they were started by U of C alumni. That program really gave students a sense of ‘get out there. If the work isn’t available, make it for yourself’.”

As the season opener for the company, The Big Sleep will set the tone for the mystery theme.

“It’s one everyone can latch onto and everyone is familiar with,” McKinstry says. “I think it resonates with a lot of people’s minds. It’s an exciting, fun mystery with some really great characters.”

McKinstry says that in his 25 years as an actor, his experiences on Calgary stages have been among the best.

“I’ve seen a good stretch of the theatre community over the years. I remember when I first started, it wasn’t as big as it is now,” he says. “Over the years, it’s really expanded. It’s become a rich and vital theatre community here in Calgary and one that is really the envy of Canada, from what I understand. Actors that come here always remark on how gracious and accepting the community it is and how much is really going on here in the city.”

Tickets for The Big Sleep are $20 and available online. The show runs from September 17 to October 16 at the Playhouse theatre.

For more information, visit vertigotheatre.com

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