By CH Smith
After moving out of his cubicle and into the Company of Rogues Actors Studio, former University of Calgary Marketing graduate Jon-Paul Khouri ponders the reason for the drastic switch in career choice.
“My plans changed when I realized I was a hypocrite because I was always telling everyone I know to follow their dreams while I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do,” he says.
When Khouri realized the rat race wasn’t worth winning and time wasn’t quite on his side, he began looking online for local amateur acting classes.
“I was at work one day just looking for acting classes and I ended up calling the U of C Drama department,” he recalls. “Although the U of C didn’t offer part-time acting classes, they recommended I check out Company of Rogues and I just went from there.”
So the former rogue student turned Rogue actor.
“I started with some acting classes and I got hooked,” Khouri says of his addiction to the stage, an addiction that landed him a role in the Rogues Theatre’s upcoming production of local playwright Clem Martini’s Exit Othello.
Khouri has been preparing along with a talented cast of Company of Rogues alumni and students of the professionally oriented company for the Calgary premiere.
Director Stacie Harrison, another U of C alumnus, is thrilled to be directing the first of two Clem Martini plays presented by the Rogues Theatre during the 2003/04 season.
“I’m excited to be working on one of Clem’s shows because he is a very well known playwriting professor at the U of C,” she says. “This whole experience is sort of full-circle for me because I’m a former student of Clem’s.”
Exit Othello revolves around the Four Strong Winds Theatre Company and their production of Shakespeare’s Othello. When the newly elected culture minister cuts all funding to the arts, the company must work together to gain support and money to put on their production of Othello.
However, behind the curtain, personal agendas, secrets of infidelity, murder, greed and addiction-all parallels drawn from Shakespeare’s tragedy-come to light in a dark comedy that promises to provide both thrills and tons of laughs for the audience.
Along with the not-so-subtle parallels to Shakespeare’s Othello there is an obvious theme in Exit Othello regarding the importance of public support for the arts. In a time where certain governments are taking liberties towards the personal and artistic freedoms of their citizens, Exit Othello showcases the need for sufficiently supported theatre.
“People need to get out and support theatre in Calgary,” says Khouri. “There is tremendous talent in Calgary and some fantastic independent theatre that often gets overlooked.”
For the price of a movie you can enjoy a play with murder, infidelity, greed, addiction and suspense while supporting local independent theatre at the same time. What more could you want?
Sword play you say? Don’t fret, swords will be played with.