A little while ago the theatre group SOLO Theater School came to visit us at Once Upon a Kingdom Theatre. We spent 7 days in close proximity and saw each other every day. We learned so much about acting, about theatre criticism, and about each other that life-long friendships were made.

I would definitely do something like this because you meet some amazing people and learn so much. I think it made me a better actor and made me happier than I thought I ever could be. I had a goal to meet new people and enjoy myself which I definitely did and as bonus points I got to visit places around Ottawa I have only seen once or twice in my life.

SOLO performed a play called The Flying Ship and I believe it was one of the most incredible things I have ever seen in my life. It was put on at the Kalish Mital Theatre at Carleton University, right after OUK performed our own show, and oh my gosh it was spectacular! The lighting was absolutely fabulous. It changed colour to show where the main character was. For example, when he is in the woods, the light is green to show the grass, trees and other greenery, but when he is in the castle the whole stage is illuminated to show the white walls.

The show was about a chimney sweep who accidentally falls in love with a princess. But the princess sadly has to marry a king from another kingdom to settle a debt. However the princess refuses to marry anyone who does not build for her a flying ship. So the chimney sweep goes off on a quest to find the tools, money  and wood to build one. On his journey he meets a ton of creatures who help him along including: a swamp wizard, witches, and the magic instrument.

The way the cast performs will pull you into their world and you never want to leave. I don’t think I looked away for over a second the entire time! The actors stay in character throughout the show despite some difficulties like their mics falling and so on.

The show Up to Low is a show our two groups saw together. It’s about a little boy around six years old named Tommy. Tommy starts off talking about his family and Frank, a close family friend who’s a bit messed up because his head was run over by a tank in the war. He tells everyone that he hasn’t been in their house in the country since his mom died two years before. He proceeds to tell us how he’s so excited to go and see Baby Bridget, a little girl with only one arm who lives there.The show goes on to explore growing up and  realizing that sometimes it’s not about physical healing, it’s about emotions too.

The play is performed on an ‘‘alley stage’’ which is a stage in the middle of the room and the audience is on both sides. I think that added to the play because it was so simple yet complex like the whole show. The props are great too. They mostly had chairs on the walls and a few crates but they used them so well that they could make a car appear with only a steering wheel. And the lighting is a work of art. It might seem impossible but the lighting is what made it look and feel like an old-fashioned photograph.

I thought it was a most carefully put together play ever and wouldn’t mind seeing it again. In conclusion, I loved this exchange so much, especially going to the Rideau Canal with all those wonderful people from SOLO Theater and hope to do another exchange like this again soon.

Valeriya, Once Upon a Kingdom Theatre