Styles, lies and letters

Fiorentino, Poiema returning to Cranbrook with latest play

Poiema Productions is returning to Cranbrook with its latest play,

The Edmonton-based theatre company, which includes Cranbrook’s Candice Fiorentino, will be performing the romantic comedy “Sweet Lies” at the Key City Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 20.

“Sweet Lies” is written and directed by acclaimed playwright Ken Brown, who also wrote “Anatolia Speaks,” which Fiorentino performed solo last year.

Fiorentino spoke to the Townsman from Vancouver, where she is getting set to perform “Anatolia Speaks” at the Vancouver Fringe Festival.

“We just mounted (“Sweet Lies”) in Edmonton, and it went really well,” Fiorentino said. “We got great houses, great reviews.”

The play is set in a hair salon co-owned by Sylvie, whose mother is having a hard time going through a turbulent divorce. A man who works at the salon is in love with Sylvie, and writes her an anonymous love letter. But Sylvie decides the best thing to do with the letter is pass it on to her lovelorn mom. All sorts of romantic confusion ensues.

Poiema (Greek for workmanship or masterpiece) was founded in 2009 by Fiorentino, Melissa Blackwood, Brianne Jang and Sara Vickruck, all four of who are graduates of the Grant MacEwan University Theatre Arts Program. The company is marking five years of producing and presenting live theatre — pretty good longevity for a small troupe that tours all over Western Canada.

“I think it’s really the girls in the company working together,” Fiorentino said. “We’re the best of friends and that’s why we started the company — we just wanted to work together and create together. I love how honest and hard-working and driven everyone is in the company. We know how to use each other’s strengths and talk out weaknesses and grow from them.”

Working with playwright Ken Brown has also been an asset. “We’re so lucky to have him for the second year in a row,” Fiorentino said.

Previous Poiema productions include “Happily Ever After?”, “The Seminar,” “Middleton: a folk musical,” and “Anatolia Speaks.” Each year, they have brought their original productions to Cranbrook and have performed at the Key City Theatre as well as the Stage Door. All the productions have been quite different from each other, in terms of both style and content.

“Out of all our shows, this is one that Cranbrook would really like,” Fiorentino said. “It’s fun, quirky and sweet. It’s very accessible.

Fiorentino is heading to Cranbrook as soon as her run at the Vancouver Fringe is done. She recently finished performing “Anatolia Speaks” at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival. She plays the cheerful Anatolia,  a new Canadian addressing her ESL class, but questions about her past in Bosnia elicit a darker story of struggle, passion, and survival.

“Sweet Lies,” featuring Candice Fiorentino, Liana Shannon, Brianne Jang, Byron Trevor Martin, Melissa Blackwood, plays at the Key City Theatre in Cranbrook on Saturday, Sept. 20. Showtime at 8 p.m.