Sunday 24 June 2018

Dog River Denizens - Corrine Koslo

Corrine Koslo 
(Emma Leroy - Corner Gas Animated)

I find, when writing a biography, it is important to try and find inspiration before getting started. A writer needs to bring a fresh new perspective when covering the life and works of their chosen subject as not to create something stale and repetitive. Many writers will have various rituals they go through to get to that special place where their muse works it magic, allowing them to create a masterpiece. They will sit in their office, next to the fireplace, where a freshly lit, rag tag collection of logs quietly crackle. Melodic, classical music dances it's way around the room, filling every inch with a serine, relaxed atmosphere that enlivens the soul and creativity abounds. The writer will maybe select only the finest bonded paper and fountain pen with which to craft his words, a pen that no doubt has told a thousand eloquent stories and holds the secrets of a thousand more. They may take a sip of a fine brandy in front of an open window with views of a neatly manicured garden, as a soft breeze brings with it the perfume of the seasons blooms. The author is then ready to add to the annuls of literature his opus. 

Me, I turn off Spongebob, get a beer out of the fridge and try very hard not to copy and paste from Wikipedia in an effort to get done before dinner is ready. 

Sometimes inspiration comes very easily when writing about such amazingly talented people. Such as this columns wonderful subject. 

Corrine Koslo was born in 1958, in France. Daughter of a Royal Canadian Air Force pilot she moved around a great deal. She grew up in the Manatoba, Halifax and Edmonton of Canada. Whilst in Edmonton she studied for a year at music college before moving to Vancouver where she studied at the Playhouse Acting School.

The drama school was founded by newly appointed artistic director, Christopher Newton, in 1975 and overseen by great Welsh-Canadian actor Powys Thomas. Corrine graduated in 1981 and started a career as a main stay of Canadian theater, performing in productions all over the country. She has appeared in all the major theaters and festivals in a broad spectrum of plays. Awards have poured in over the course of her career. She is a two-time Dora Mavor Moore Award winner for her performances in Bunnicula and Seussical; a two-time Jessie Richardson Award winner for her performances in Love and Anger and Sweeney Todd; and an Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award winner for her performance in Blithe Spirit.

The cast of Sweeny Todd have just scored a touchdown!
Corrine is a long standing member of the acting ensemble of The Shaw Festival. The brain child of Brian Doherty and Clavin G Rand, who bought their passion for theatre and love for the work of George Bernard Shaw with a season of the legendary playwrites work in 1962. The created a company that toured plays around the U.S. and Canada until it found it's home in Niagra-on-the Lake Ontario in 1973. Over the years Corrine's appearances there have included productions of Drama at Inish, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Brief Encounters, The Entertainer, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, The Matchmaker, The Apple Cart, The Seagull, Hobson's Choice, Holiday, Tonight We Improvise, Come Back, Little Sheba, and Lady Windermere's Fan. She has also appeared in Vancouver Playhouse productions of William Shakespeare plays, including Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo and Juliet.

Corrine portraying Ethel Smurbs the world's first female barista
and campaigner for the right to put water in before milk
Although she is mostly known for her fantastic work on the stage Corrine has also featured in many television shows and movies. 

Switching Channels is a 1988 Burt Reynolds, Christopher Reeve and Kathleen Turner vehicle. The movie, a flop at the box office, is probably only notable to most as being one of Corrine Koslo's first appearances on the big screen with the small part of Yvonne. The film is an update of classic Jack Lemon and Walter Matthau comedy The Front Page, which itself was based on a play of the same name. The movie tells the story of Sully the producer of a cable news network program. Christy is his ex-wife and best reporter. Her desire to quit the news business and marry Blaine, a sporting goods manufacturer comes as an innocent man is about to be executed. Sully's attempts to keep her in town and break up her upcoming marriage happen against the backdrop of a botched execution, a prison break and a possible pardon. 

A rare version of the Switching Channels poster containing
a printing error in which all three actors are shown wearing each others toupees 
This was a busy period for Corrine, between 1988 and 1993 she featured in several television shows with recurring roles. The first of these is Katts and Dog (aka Rin Tin Tin: K9 Cop). She played Officer Connie Boothe in seven episodes of family adventure show which was broadcast all over the world. The popular show followed new Canine Officer Hank Katts and his doggy partner Rudy. The dog had his name changed for various countries, Rin Tin Tin is the U.S. and Rinty in the U.K! The show ran for a total of 106 episodes over five seasons. 

Early fx test for Zaphod Beeblebrox make up in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
#nichescifireferences #payinglipservicetogeekyreaders

Her next television role is possibly one that Corrine is best known for as the voice behind Lady Rataxes in the cartoon series Barbar. This was the first original series based on the Barbar books, a Candian/French co-production. 78 episodes were produced and translated into 30 languages and shown in over 150 countries. The plot of the first two seasons focuses on the story of Babar as it is told by him to his children. The past Babar is a young elephant who, traumatized by a hunter slaughtering his mother, flees from his home forest to the city, where a kind Old Lady adopts him and teaches him the ways of human life. He returns to his home forest full of ideas for progress and, following the previous elephant king's death from eating poisonous mushrooms, hatches a plan to drive out the unnamed hunter and his men. For his heroism, Babar is crowned king of the elephants, plans and builds Celesteville, and becomes a father himself. While the first two seasons focus on Babar's recollections of his childhood and early years as king, the series shifts its focus in the third season to Babar's family life in the present day. Corrine's character, Lady Rataxes is the wife of unpleasant, incompetent king of Rhinoland Lord Rataxes. She is very demanding of her husband, and is also on friendly terms with Babar, Celeste, and the elephants. 

The Rhino team make a touchdown! The score is now
Sweeny Todd 1 - Rhinos 1

Corrine's next role in 1992 was as Theresa in drama series Northwood. This half-hour teen drama series aired on the CBC from 1991 to 1994 and was set in Northwood, British Columbia, near Vancouver. The series originated as a six-part mini-series that followed the suicide of a classmate in the pilot episode, and was originally aired right after Degrassi. Very different from previous Canadian drama series based around teens like the Degrassi series, the show was created by Nick Orchard, famous for his involvement with gritty, hard-core British serials such as Eastenders and Brookside. It was created as the first project of Orchard's Soapbox Productions internationally co-produced with Sveriges Television in Sweden. Although not as well-known as DegrassiNorthwood won numerous awards including the Silver Medal from the New York Festivals, the Award of Excellence from the Alliance for Children & Television, and several Chris Awards. While Degrassi tended to be aimed at the "tween" generation, Northwood's dark storylines and more believable, rounded characters were more aimed at teenagers and young adults. The series was critically acclaimed during its first run for it's frank and open portrayal of controversial issues like teen prostitution, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, sexual abuse, and alcoholism.

In the '90's all colour was banned from teenage clothing

Over the years she has had roles in favourite shows such as The X-Files, The Outer Limits and Da Vinci's Inquest all of which have featured many other Corner Gas alumnus passing through their cast lists. In 2017 she was announced to join the cast of Anne with an E, the new adaption of popular novel Anne of Green Gables. Produced by CBC and Netflix the series, set in the late 19th century, tells the tale of brother and sister Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, who decide to take on an orphan boy to help out around their ancestral farm of Green Gables. When Matthew goes to pick the child up at the railway station, he finds not a boy, but a high-spirited and talkative girl, Anne Shirley. At first, the Cuthberts are inclined to send her back, however Anne's ebullient nature wins over those around her. Corrine won the role of favourite character Rachel Lynde, the Cuthbert's formidable neighbour who likes nothing more than a good gossip and has received favourable reviews for her portrayal of the character. 

Winner of the most accurate parting competition Imelda Turnip
often has her hair style used to measure 45 degree angles on building sites
Corrine has also been praised for her role in Corner Gas animated. Taking over from her long time friend Janet Wright in the role of Emma Leroy after Janet sadly passed away in 2016. Janet helped Corrine early on in her career as an actress giving advice and nurturing the young talent. Corrine was recommended for the role by Janet's husband Bruce Davis who thought Corrine's voice was very similar to Janet's. Brent Butt noted how her performance nailed the timber and Janet's rhythm and cadence straight away. The show has been a massive hit and we will soon be enjoying more of Corrine as Emma in the recently announced second season of Corner Gas Animated!

It is a beautiful English summers day, as a group of gentlemen play cricket in the nearby field. The sound of leather gracefully hitting willow influencing my my equally graceful mood. The clink of china tea cups being placed on their saucers can be heard before the polite clap of congratulations rises from the club house as the batsman scores a six. Children laugh and play among the daisies trying to tag each other before they are called to eat their jam sandwiches at the picnic table with lashings of orange squash. I breath in the atmosphere before I realise, in one heady moment of clarity. I've finished my post and I can't hear Spongebob on the telly and rush to tell the noisy so and so's to shut up.

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