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Winnipeg welcomes actor

Star of The Best Brothers says it’s great to be part of local scene

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Paul Essiembre (left) and Carson Nattrass rehearse a scene from The Best Brothers, by Daniel MacIvor. The show opens Oct. 17 at Prairie Theatre Exchange.

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Paul Essiembre (left) and Carson Nattrass rehearse a scene from The Best Brothers, by Daniel MacIvor. The show opens Oct. 17 at Prairie Theatre Exchange. Photo Store

Two brothers are about to discover what it’s like to work together after their mother dies and they realize that she, just maybe, loved the dog best.

The Best Brothers, a comedy by Daniel MacIvor, is set to open Oct. 17 at the Prairie Theatre Exchange (393 Portage Ave.). River Heights resident Paul Essiembre stars as Hamilton Best, a nitpicky architect and brother to Kyle Best, portrayed by Carson Nattrass, a real estate agent always looking for the next sale.

Essiembre said he immediately connected to the script.

"I was really drawn to it when I first read it because of two things: its humour and its heart," said Essiembre, 44. "It’s a very fun and light and funny play on the surface, and then it starts to really take you into some real-life heart moments."

Essiembre has more than 20 years of experience in acting, starting in Ottawa, then later travelling to Montreal, Edmonton, and Stratford, Ont., and then to Toronto. This is the third play Essiembre has done in Winnipeg.

In July 2012, Essiembre and family moved to Winnipeg to be close to his wife’s family, and for a different atmosphere in which to raise their seven-year-old daughter, away from the busy life of Toronto.

"We were looking for a pace of life that was more family-friendly," said Essiembre.

Since moving to Winnipeg, Essiembre said the acting community has been more than welcoming, something he didn’t expect.

"That’s not always true in other, smaller cities," said Essiembre. "Because it’s a smaller market than, say, Toronto or Vancouver. What acting opportunities are available tend to be very sought after, and very valuable. So if a local performer feels threatened by someone new coming in, it’s understandable that they might get their nose out of joint.

"But I’ve never encountered any of that (in Winnipeg)," added Essiembre. "I’ve just had a very warm, receptive, creative, generous welcome to the community."

Essiembre said there is a high level of talent in Winnipeg.

"What’s here is fantastic," said Essiembre. "Winnipeggers seem to really support the arts more than other cities that I’ve also been in."

For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit www.pte.mb.ca

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