It’s 1919 in New York City, and Vaudeville is all the rage!

Impish impresario Keaton Abbott (Jason Hardwick) is polishing the planks of the Ferguson Theatre as his company of actors, magicians, jugglers, singers, showgirls, stage-hands and circus animals put the finishing touches on their latest variety spectacle.

DIE-NASTY plays every Monday at 7:30 at the Varscona Theatre
(10329 - 83 Avenue in Old Strathcona) from October 21, 2019, through May 25, 2020, except for December 23 and 30.

Tickets are $15 or $10 with a $40 membership
and are available at the door (cash only) or online at

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Episode 1 - "The Show Must Go On"

Photos by Janna Hove.  Synopsis by Jim Cej.

 Cast of Characters:

 Jason Hardwick as Keaton Abbott 
- impressario, theatre owner-
 Belinda Cornish as Gloria St John 
- classically trained actress-
Stephanie Wolfe as Juniper Jones 
- newly solo member of an old sister act- 
 Kristi Hansen as Bobbi Smarts 
- stage hand with a secret-
 Delia Barnett as Daisy Darling 
- showgirl-
 Mark Meer as Lou Tellegen 
- famous actor- 
 Tom Edwards as Riff Van Winkel 
- ex-WWI pilot, wing walker-
 Matt Alden as Jack Potts 
-performer in search of an act-
Jesse Gervais as Lou Costello 
- theatre accountant - 
Vincent Forcier as Barnaby Toughbottom 

*   *   *

 October 21st, 1919

 Keaton Abbott introduces himself to the performers in his new theatre, the Ferguson. 
He informs them that they need to audition for him. 
They are outraged to hear that they must put their names on a sign up sheet.

*   *   *

Keaton meets Lou Costello, the accountant that comes with the theatre. 
There is a strange power dynamic.

*   *   *

 Juniper Jones and Gloria St John vie for Lou Tellegen’s attention. 
Gloria tells Juniper that they have known each other for ages.
 In fact, they performed on this very stage. 
Juniper saw them perform and tells them that she is very young. 
Lou wonders if he will have a place in the Ferguson Theatre.
 Lou recites one line from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, leaving them wanting more. 

Gloria recites what bits of Shakespeare she remembers. Gloria suggests that they join together and become one act.

*   *   *

Riff van Winkel seeks out Bobbi Smarts backstage. 
She is starstruck.
He tells her that she is the best designer that he has ever seen. 

 Riff wants to make his act bigger, have people see something that they haven’t seen before. 
He is known for his wingwalking. 
He wants her to build him a floating biplane.
 Something that could support the weight of two people?
 Sure, he could use a pilot. 
He needs that airplane, and he needs her to be there with him. 
She’ll do anything for him. 
They dance. 

*   *   *

 Lou Costello walks into Lou Tellegen’s dressing room. 
Costello doesn’t know what to do with his hands  
Ah, the eternal struggle. 
They realize that they share the same first name. 
They foresee problems in the future. 
Costello confesses that his first name is actually Louise.
 Tellegen says that he is using a pseudonym as well. 
His real name is Lucifer.

*   *   *

 Daisy Darling is happy to find that she has a dressing room all to her self, but is surprised when Barnaby Toughbottom enters and starts to undress. 
She is pleased to see that he is in his costume, not his underwear. 
 He tells her that she doesn’t need to be shy around him.
 They put him with the young girls because he is a homosexual. 
A what? 
I guess you could say that I’m a confirmed bachelor.
  She thinks it’s lovely that he has such confidence in himself.

*   *   *

 With Jack Potts at his side. Keaton Abbott starts his auditions. 
Juniper Jones and Gloria St John are waiting for Lou Tellegen.
 Jack Potts offers to step in to take his place. 
Keaton is glad to be rid of Jack Potts. 
 Jack can’t jump through a hoop, but he picks up their dance routine. 

 He is confused by Juniper’s monologue. 
Jack Potts wonders if the stage is where people lie. 
Gloria says that they use other people’s words to tell other people’s stories.

*   *   *

 The Lous continue to bond over their shared name. 
Bobbi is shocked to see them weeping together. 
Tellegen now knows what it is like to have a brother. 
She tells Costello that she needs some money to build a floating set. 
She promises to not to do that things she did before. 
She promises not to go over budget. 
Tellegen realizes that that is why the theatre closed. 
Costello needs to see her vision in writing. 
Bobbi confesses that she can’t read or write.

*   *   *

 It is round two of auditions. 
Daisy Darling auditions for Keaton Abbott. 
he promises to just be quiet and watch. 
Daisy Darling does a fan dance. 

Keaton really gets into her performance.
She asks him how she is doing. 
Keaton is speechless. 

*   *   *

Juniper Jones meets with Keaton Abbott in his office. 
She has a lot of respect for Keaton and doesn’t want to put him on the spot, so she will join up with her sisters again.
 He asks if she’s sure that’s what she wants to do. 
No, she hates them. 
He is glad that she realizes that her new act is not working out... 
but her old act was…

Minutes before...
 Jack Potts tells Keaton Abbott what he has discovered about theatre. 
It’s all a lie. Theatre is wrong.
 Theatre is wrong? 

Keaton asks if he knows that he has sweat blood for this theatre and tells Jack to get out. 

Jack sees that Keaton is playing hardball. 
He accepts his non-existent offer and will start tomorrow.

*   *   *

 Bobbi shows Riff the first version of her floating biplane. 
it is a chair. He can see that she’s onto it
 She says it’s just a matter of taking a chance. 
Maybe a chair can be an biplane. 
He can imagine the stick and the wings. 
Imagine they are flying. 
Maybe a chair really is a plane. 
He likes the way she thinks. 
She likes the way he smells. 
Bobbi climbs aboard for a ride. 

*   *   *

Barnaby Toughbottom auditions for Keaton Abbott. 
He juggles three 300 lbs balls.
          *   *   *

Lou Tellegen is visited by old friend Gloria St John. 
 His words are sweet. 
He would flatter her, but it would attract ants. 
She could have killed him for what he did in Madrid. 
He is like a hyena. 
Always laughing?

*   *   *

The crew has their weekly poker game. 
Lou Costello asks to learn the game. 

*   *   *

Daisy looks to her idol, Juniper Jones for some advice. 
Daisy tells her about her childhood. 
Her father was a mime and her mother was a clown, so they didn’t talk much. 
Juniper and her sisters grew up in the theatre too. 
Daisy asks how to navigate the politics backstage. 
Juniper has made all the mistakes in the book, and it’s a big book. 
Just when you think you know the rules, they change. 
You gotta be adaptable. 

You gotta be ready for anything, so you can step in when something happens. 
You Gotta Be Ready. 
*   *   *

 Keaton meets with Lou Tellegen in his office. 
They talk about the upcoming prohibition. 
He tells Keaton that he received a very important telegram from Hollywood. 
They need to reshoot some scenes from his latest film with Geraldine Ferraro. 
He tells that he must answer the call from his wife.

*   *   *

Gloria St John finds Barnaby Toughbottom pinned underneath his 300 lbs juggling balls. 

He tells her that he didn’t drop the ball and passes out.

*   *   *

Jack Potts sits weeping. He is found by Lou Costello. 
Jack remembers growing up playing members of the Holy family in nativity scenes. 
He thinks Lou would make a great Joseph. 
Lou is not a performer. The only thing that you can depend upon is numbers. 

Jack asks him to explain algebra. 
In song. 

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