July, 1988. The Secret Prince (written by Pierre de Marivaux in 1724) was a production of The Magic Circus Theatre, staged at Artspace in The Market Hall, Peterborough, Ontario.
It was directed by the Magic Circus's artistic director, Alan Orenstein. A devotee of silent film stars like Chaplin and Keaton, in The Secret Prince Orenstein gives free reign to his penchant for slapstick and broad comedy. Magic Circus shows were fun to watch and (usually) fun to perform.
The Magic Circus existed in Peterborough from 1977 to the late 1980s. It proudly called itself 'experimental', and identified as the professional alternative to mainstream theatre in the area. It employed mostly local aspiring theatre artists to produce its mix of contemporary Canadian plays and work that was Orenstein's passion (befitting a tenured philosophy professor at Peterborough's Trent University): his own adaptations of classics, ranging from the ancient Greeks to 18th century French comedies like the Secret Prince. One of Orenstein's most enduring adaptations has been his treatment of Hamlet called Hamlet In A Hurry. Created for 6 actors, it was produced by Mysterious Entity at the Market Hall in 2009 and again as a school tour in 2010. The Magic Circus expired when Orenstein himself passed away at the age of 45 in 1990.
This production featured at least four artists at the beginning of careers in theatre: Robert Winslow, the founder of 4th Line Theatre (arguably the direct successor to The Magic Circus as Peterborough's home grown professional theatre); Susan Spicer who has directed and performed in numerous plays, with the 4th Line and elsewhere; Stephen Seabrook (the stage manager) who went on to a career in alternative theatre in Toronto; and Michael Rawley, the most experienced actor in the group, whose 30+ years in Canadian theatre have taken him all over the country.
The cast, in the order they appear in these video clips, is:
Robert Winslow, Michael Rawley, Susan Spicer, Robert Widdowson, Kelly Nadal, and Serge Bertrand who also filled the role of production manager. In the cast but not seen here was Marsh Cobden, who also designed the lighting. The production was designed by David Bateman, with costumes by Dawn Curtis.
This highlight reel was put together by Stephen Rose, of PowerHouse Digital Video, who shot the original footage.