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COMEDIC TIMING: Linden House’s Janet Uren talks about this year’s theatre production and what it takes to succeed

Linden House is growing up. Over the past six years, it has been lovingly nurtured, developing from one woman’s brainchild into a mature theatre company with a production team of 10. Ottawa Magazine’s Emma Paling caught up with mother-of-the-operation Janet Uren ahead of this year’s production, George Bernard Shaw’s You Never Can Tell.

You Never Can Tell runs Oct. 23 to 27, 28, 31, and Nov. 1 to 3. $25. Elmwood Theatre, 261 Buena Vista Rd., 613-842-4913,

Janet Uren is an "advanced" woman, while Danny McLeod is an impoverished dentist who has the bad luck to fall in love with her daughter in the October production of "You Never Can Tell" by George Bernard Shaw. Photo by Mike Heffernan.

Why did you start Linden House?
The most important reason was that an opportunity arose to perform on a stage — community, and even professional, theatre in Ottawa faces a shortage of stages.

I’m an alumna of Elmwood School, and they have a lovely auditorium and stage [that we could use], so I had a venue. I’d also encountered George Stonyk while working on another production, and he became our director, while I covered the business side and acted in the productions.

Another reason for starting Linden House is that I had a yen to do a particular type of comedy — the comedy of wit, an intelligent kind of humour. That tends to be British — American and Canadian humour is usually different.

How do you choose which plays to produce?
It’s agonizing! George and I both read plays and submit them to each other as possibilities. Then we blow each other out of the water and start again. We do just one play each season, though this year we also did a one-night reading in September. We don’t look for just a good play, but for a play with roles suited to the actors we have in our circle from Ottawa’s theatre community. We look for plays that are interesting, but also happy. It’s a difficult process that takes a long time. It’s a bit frightening too, because a good play is the first ingredient to success. (more…)