BizBeat

by Morri Mostow

New Performing Arts Company Challenges Audiences

Town of Lac Brome’s newest “theatre” company, storyland3, has a mandate all its own. Launched last fall by local thespians Darlene Bell and Chris Freeman, this multimedia production company intends to take performance beyond tradition plays to challenge audiences and encourage their participation.

Beginning on Feb. 10, storyland3 will host its first “Second Sundays at 7” with a coffeehouse in the upstairs room of the Knowlton Pub. Bell, who ran coffeehouses in the Knowlton United Church for many years, will be the master of ceremonies for this open stage, where anyone who wants to sing, play an instrument, read poetry or stories will be encouraged to take center stage. Interested performers — including children — should give Darlene Bell a call to get on the evening’s line up. (Future coffeehouses will be held on the second Sunday in April and June.)

“We want our coffeehouse to be a family evening,” says Bell. Consequently, the bar will be closed and only free coffee will be served. Instead of charging admission, the audience can make a donation to storyland3, which will help defray the cost of future productions.

An adults-only cabaret-style comedy “improv” evening will be held on alternate months, beginning on March 10 (the second Sunday in March). There will be a cash bar and a $6 cover charge. A professional improvisational actor will host the evening and explain the different games, but the audience will provide the ideas and audience members will act out the skits created on the spot. “It should be great fun whether you’re on stage or rooting for your friends,” says Bell, who hopes to eventually pit a local improv team against a professional team in a championship match. (Future improv evenings are scheduled for the second Sunday in May and July.)

The new owners of the Knowlton Pub are delighted to donate the use of their recently renovated 70-seat upstairs room to storyland 3, “which is offering the community and its families an affordable way to get out and make their own fun,” says Christine Mather, co-owner of the Pub.

storyland3 also organizes private events and produces shows. In December, it staged a Murder Mystery evening for a private Christmas party, and imported a troupe from Montreal for an Improv evening at the Knowlton Pub Playhouse.

storyland3 will be upstairs at the Knowlton Pub (267 Knowlton Road, Knowlton) every second Sunday of the month, at 7 p.m.  First coffeehouse: Feb. 10. First improv night: March 10. For more information, call storyland3 at (450) 538-0921.

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Meditative photos on display at AGUR

The photographic works of Eliane Del Mercato are on display until Feb. 26 at AGUR, the studio-gallery opened less than a year ago by the sister-and-brother team of Maddia and Jean-Yves Esquerre. Del Mercato, who follows certain Buddhist practices, has created small, beautiful prints of natural objects — close-up details of tree bark, fungus, water, snow-covered branches, desert rocks — that capture their transcendent and meditative qualities. Several of her works are presented as triptychs that explore the same object from different perspectives.

Del Mercato began shooting photos seriously in 1997. Originally from Provence, Del Mercato has been a Montessori teacher in Ottawa for the last 10 years. Many of her photos were shot in the Gatineau region.

AGUR has a full line up of exhibits scheduled until the end of the year, showcasing the prints of Dominique Lecomte and Alanis Obomsawin, the collagess of drama teacher Brigitte De Souza, the Japanese-inspired furniture of Jean-Yves Esquerre, the paintings of Lucille Marcotte and Maddia Esquerre, a master trompe-l’oeil artist.

AGUR™ Arts & Décor, 294 Knowlton Road, Knowlton. Tel.: (450) 243-0620.

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Virgo Catering Offers Romantic Valentine’s Day Menus and Sushi Course

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. This year, why not impress that special someone with a lavish Valentine’s Day dinner at home, without doing any of the work? Chef Virgo Romano has created just the thing for this special occasion with five sumptuous dinner menus for two (appetizer, entrée and dessert).

Main course choices range from a pasta trio, chicken Wellington and salmon coulibiac to a seafood platter and chateaubriand. Desserts include Tiramisu and Baked Alaska. These three-course dinners cost from $16.95 to $37.95 per person. Order your romantic menu by February 8, and enjoy it at home from Feb. 14 to 17.

Master the art of sushi at the all-day sushi course offered by chefs Virgo Romano and Chris Marks on Sunday, Feb. 17, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A sharp knife is all you need to bring. Your rolling mat and all ingredients are provided. At the end of the course, you can take home all the sushi you haven’t eaten! Cost: $100 per person. Space is limited, so reserve early.

Virgo Catering, 255 Knowlton Road, Knowlton. Tel.: (450) 243-0834.