Actors Brittany Vesterback and Bryce Paul Mills in a green-screen scene from Naked Stage theatre company’s version of “Background Artiste,” shown online June 11-12. (submitted photo)

Actors Brittany Vesterback and Bryce Paul Mills in a green-screen scene from Naked Stage theatre company’s version of “Background Artiste,” shown online June 11-12. (submitted photo)

THEATRE

‘Background Artiste’ comedy closes online season for Surrey’s Naked Stage company

‘We miss seeing our valued patrons and hope that next season we will be performing in front of you…’

Steven Smith’s “Background Artiste” is the final online-only play of the season for Surrey’s Naked Stage theatre company.

A pre-recorded production of the comedy will be shown for $12 per ticket on June 11-12, via nspsociety.com.

The “readers theatre” company performs plays without costumes or sets, just actors reading scripts. The shows are typically staged at Newton Cultural Centre but have shifted online during the pandemic.

“Who could have predicted that we would be spending an entire theatre season (and ending the prior season) without a live audience?” Naked Stage directors told subscribers in an email.

“We miss seeing our valued patrons and hope that next season we will be performing in front of you at some point. That said, we have been able to reach friends and family far and wide in the virtual world, and have tapped into the talents of those special individuals who have helped us move from Zoom to film and for all of that we are grateful.”

Director Kelly Thompson said “Background Artiste” was picked as the company’s season-ending play for a couple of reasons.

“It is a comedy – do I need to explain why we chose a comedy?” Thompson stated.

“The second reason,” she added, “is that the play allows the viewer to peek inside the crazy world of the background actor. All around Vancouver and the Lower Mainland film and television work is being done and I defy anyone to not be able to name at least one person they know (maybe even themselves) who hasn’t been in the background of a production. So as funny as this send-up is, it holds many truths about the business and for that reason should appeal to many of the folks around here. I really hope you enjoy it.”

The script focuses on Mary, who decides to spice up her life and join Alfredo Leache’s Background Artistes Agency. But spending just a short time in the office Mary learns that being a walk-on artiste isn’t all glamour. She faces the eccentric, elderly couple Walter and Enid, who pepper their speech with malapropisms, but later reveal their true surprising identity; secretary Jessica, who ceaselessly acts out her ambition to be an air hostess; and Alfred, the tireless boss who works hard for his actors against the odds.

The show features actors Bryce Paul Mills, Brittany Vesterback, Camille Musseau, Simon Challenger and Joyce Gillespie, with crew Bridget Browning (stage manager), Demetrios Georgiadis (editor and sound), Glen Browning (videographer) and Jennifer Georgiadis (virtual backgrounds/graphics).

For tickets and more details, visit nspsociety.com/upcoming-shows.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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Theatre

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