From set to stage

Lorne Cardinal returns to the theatre with Copper Thunderbird in Nanaimo

Lorne Cardinal

Lorne Cardinal

 

During their first collaboration, playwright Frank Moher had actor Lorne Cardinal performing as a gay architect and kissing a mime.

That was during Cardinal’s last days as a student at University of Alberta, and Moher was the playwright commissioned to create an end-of-year piece.

Although they have no plans to re-stage that play, Cardinal and Moher are working together once again on Western Edge Theatre’s production of Copper Thunderbird, which follows the challenging life of aboriginal artist Norval Morrisseau.

“It’s not a biography of his life,” Cardinal said.

Rather, the play, written by Marie Clements, follows three different phases or shadows of Morrisseau’s life and the people who weave in and out.

Morrisseau, who spent his final years in Nanaimo, was a celebrated Canadian artist, dubbed Picasso of the North by French media, whose paintings were recognized for their brilliant colours and thick black outlines.

Morrisseau hobnobbed with the cream of society in Montreal, New York and Los Angeles before falling into alcohol and drug addiction. He eventually overcame those issues with the help of a street kid he befriended, Gabor Vardas, who eventually became his adopted son and manager.

“You get to understand what he was going through,” Cardinal said.

Cardinal understands what it’s like to be a popular and famous aboriginal Canadian like Morrisseau. He spent six season playing Sgt. Davis Quinton on the hit television series Corner Gas.

“I’ve been quite busy since the show closed,” Cardinal said.

After the end of the series, Cardinal returned to the stage – his first love – touring the play Thunderstick with Royal Canadian Air Farce alumni Craig Lauzon to five cities.

After Copper Thunderbird, he travels to Kamloops to star in another play before jetting off to Ottawa for an all-aboriginal production of King Lear at the arts theatre. In addition to acting in the Shakespearean play, he’s also the assistant director and shooting a ‘making of’ documentary about the play.

He said he’s not afraid to use the cache of Corner Gas to get bums in seats for theatre productions.

“What I got my training in is theatre,” he said.

While film and television pays the bills, theatre offers beautifully written, crafted stories told in sequence and offers an instant audience reaction.

The two-week rehearsal periods allow an actor to thoroughly explore a character. Although for Copper Thunderbird, the production has already been blocked out and workshopped and is just waiting for the final touches.

“They’re already in full swing – I’ve got some catching up to do,” Cardinal said.

Western Edge Theatre’s production of Copper Thunderbird opens at Nanaimo Centre Stage, 25 Victoria Rd., Sept. 21 and ends Sept. 25. Tickets $10-22. Please visit www.westernedge.org.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Just Posted

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Curl B.C. chairperson Teri Palynchuk is this year’s winner of the Janette Robbins Award for leadership. Palynchuk is pictured here with the Curling Canada Foundation Cup along with past chairperson Peter Muir, left, and Curl B.C. CEO Scott Braley. (Photo courtesy Curl B.C.)
Nanaimo curling exec wins Curl B.C. leadership award

Teri Palynchuk receives Janette Robbins Award

(Black Press file photo)
RCMP: Air ambulance called to Whiskey Creek after crash involving 2 motorbikes

Both riders taken to hospital with serious injuries

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

Nanaimo author B.S. Thompson has released his debut novel, ‘The Book of Nodd.’ (Photo courtesy Nora Funk)
Nanaimo author invites readers into dangerous world of dreams in debut novel

B.S. Thompson unveils ‘The Book of Nodd’ with online launch June 20

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

There is an emergency shelter near the Golden Ears peaks. (Facebook/Special to The News)
Hiker fogged in on Golden Ears, spends 2 nights

Talon Helicopters, Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue bring him home Monday

Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada, speaks at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul facing no-confidence motion from party brass

move follows months of internal strife and the defection of MP Jenica Atwin to the Liberals

Tulips bloom in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Thursday, May 10, 2018. Day two of a full week of scheduled hearings will be heard in Federal Court today on a case involving Indigenous children unnecessarily taken into foster care by what all parties call Canada’s “broken child welfare system.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AFN slams Ottawa for ‘heartless’ legal challenge of First Nations child compensation

2019 decision awarded $40,000 to each Indigenous child removed before 2006

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Island man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

Ivy was thrown out of a moving vehicle in Kelowna. Her tail was severely injured and will be amputated. (BC SPCA)
Kitten thrown from moving vehicle, needs help: Kelowna SPCA

The seven-week-old kitten had severe tail and femur injuries

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that less than five per cent of mass-marketing fraud is ever reported.
Tips to avoid scams targeting Vancouver Island seniors

In most cases, fraudsters impersonate an individual, business or agency seniors recognize and trust

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Most Read