• By: Marie Waine

Come Blow Your Horn: Perth’s Classic Theatre Festival

Calling all theatre lovers! The fifth annual Classic Theatre Festival is happening right now in Heritage Perth, Ontario.

With plays going on until the end of August, you will not want to miss a show.

One play gaining much praise is Neil Simon’s comedy Come Blow Your Horn– based on the early 1960’s swinging bachelor lifestyle. One of the many talented actors in this show is Adrienne Kress, an award-winning author. Kress may be a top-notch writer, but she is also no newbie to theatre! Taking on the role of main love squeeze of leading male, Kress’ character is witty, sharp and clever—a role she finds refreshing for women in comedy.

OLM was lucky enough to talk to Kress and hear all about her first foray into the land of theatre and why it will always be her home.

OLM: Can you tell me a little about how you first got into theatre?

Kress: Well my parents started taking me to the theatre at a very young age. In fact, I actually can’t remember the first play I saw. It might have been Pirates of Penzance. But the acting bug bit when I was nine and was cast as the Scarecrow in my school’s production of The Wizard of Oz. I knew from that moment on that acting was for me.

Photo courtesy of Jean-Denis Labelle.
Photo courtesy of Jean-Denis Labelle.

OLM: Was that when you knew it was something you were going to do for the rest of your life?

Kress: It was a pretty gradual realization. After I played the Scarecrow, my parents saw how much I loved acting and suggested I audition for an arts school the following year. I did and was accepted, and from that point on I was a drama major. I’m talking all the way through high school to university, and then a post-graduate program at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in the UK.

I think though the decision to make acting my career happened when I was transitioning from high school to university and needed to decide what my major was. I guess I’d never really realised I wanted to be an actor as a job until then, until I asked myself what else I’d want to do.  The answer was nothing.  All I wanted to do was act.

OLM: Through all of your acting experiences throughout the years, what has been your favourite role?

Kress: I recently had an acting role with the Canadian Opera Company. There were no lines (as obviously all the lines in opera are sung and I’m not an opera singer) and I played the tenor’s wife so I was in the show quite a lot. I’m not sure it counts as my favorite part, but I had so much fun getting to be a part of a world I was not familiar with at all–opera is very different from theatre–and also performing in the Four Seasons Centre in Toronto.  It also helped that everyone in the show, from the principal leads to the chorus, were so welcoming and lovely. And so talented! I loved watching (and of course listening) to them work. So I’d say it was one of the more enjoyable roles I’ve done recently.

That being said, I think my favourite role would have to be the object of affection for four swashbuckling sword fighters in a wonderful dance/fight sequence called Maupin in a larger play called Duel Of Ages. It was flawlessly choreographed down to the last beat, and it was such an exciting ensemble experience.

Photo courtesy of Jean-Denis Labelle.
Photo courtesy of Jean-Denis Labelle.

OLM: That sounds like there was a lot going on there! What has been the hardest role you have taken on?

Kress: I think Anne in Richard III. Especially her first scene! It’s a very strange (and fantastic) scene where the character goes from wishing death on Richard to agreeing to marry him. There are a lot of emotions and very high stakes. Also understanding how such a transition could be possible took a fair bit of work.

OLM: What is your most memorable moment from being on stage?

Kress: This moment didn’t really happen to me, but I was on stage for it, so I hope it counts! I was doing a production of Macbeth. It was towards the very end of the play, when Malcolm’s army is preparing to fight Macbeth’s. This being the Scottish play, all the men were wearing long kilts. Well, Macduff jumps onto the stage from the audience and, in that moment, loses his kilt! He’s just standing there is his underwear in front of a matinee audience filled with teenagers. It was hilarious–but also very impressive because the actor not only made it through the scene, but when he came back on stage, he totally won back the respect of the teens in the audience to the point where when he killed Macbeth, they cheered!

OLM: You’ve played so many characters, all with a variety of personalities. What would be your dream role/job?

Kress: I love Shakespeare and I’d love the chance to play both Rosalind and Beatrice sometime. There are also some amazing film directors I’d love the opportunity of working with, especially Wes Anderson. I would LOVE to be cast in a Wes Anderson film. Talk about a dream come true!


Want to see Kress in action or learn more about her career? Check out her website or see her in Come Blow Your Horn, running until August 3.

You can buy tickets here.

Let us know your favourite theatre performance!