SURREY — Live theatre. It’s great. Honest. One production of a particular play or musical will be different every time it is performed – even with the same cast, crew and venue. That is part of the mythic quality of live theatre. You never know what is going to happen, exactly. Anything can, and often does, go awry.
Technical difficulties, missed cues, cast members who catch a cold and are replaced at the last minute. Costume malfunction, lost props, sound board not working correctly. These are just some of the many challenges that face every single live performance, and that is because it involves real people in real time. No PVR here, or second takes captured on film. The show must go on, and not only for the actors and crew. The show must go on because the audience is there. That’s you.
Audience interaction inspires the actors on stage. True story. The audience is an important part of the production, and not just for the applause at the end of the show. You are part of the story happening on stage. So, audience people, here are two shows that are very worthy of your support – and applause.
Royal Canadian Theatre Company’s production of The Hound of the Baskervilles has moved out of Surrey Arts Centre and is now on tour. Next stop is Metro Theatre in Vancouver from Oct. 12 to 14, then on to New Westminster at the newish Anvil Theatre from Oct. 20 and 21. Take some time to go to the Royal Canadian website (rctheatreco.com) to find out about this play. It is true to the original Arthur Conan Doyle novel, but this play is a farce. Just brilliant. Three actors play all the parts, and the mysterious moving fireplace should be another actor. Kudos to stage manager Stephanie Bruce for bringing personality to the fireplace.
Since you are now committed to going to New Westminster anyway, be sure to add Vagabond Players’ production of Little Shop of Horrors. Musicals are difficult to produce in a small-stage venue, but this production has the full value of a large-scale musical. Surrey’s Ryan Waechter, as Seymour, is a rising talent to watch. Annie Arbuckle is Audrey, and her training at AMDA (Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, in L.A.) was worth the investment. Cast, crew, costumes and, of course, man-eating plant are a perfect blend for your entertainment-dollar investment. The show runs at Bernie Legge Theatre until Oct. 29. Visit vagabondplayers.ca/tickets or call 604 521-0412.
Surrey Little Theatre’s season-opener, Wrong Turn at Lungfish, opens Oct. 26, so book time and tickets for this show. Right now a techie is needed. This is a pretty easy show, without too many technical requirements, so it would be ideal for anyone wanting to join in on the creative side of theatre productions. Experience not necessary, as training can be provided. Open to ages 15-plus. For details, email firstname.lastname@example.org. A few high school-aged people who have taken this opportunity to learn the technical side of live theatre have gone on to professional jobs. Yes, it is possible to find yourself and your own reality in the world of make-believe.
Although theatre is make-believe, the stories are firmly grounded in real life. Usually. A theatre presentation allows a twist to the story, or tells us a truth about human nature or history. I admit, I like theatre that is entertaining and makes you feel good and gives a lift to your life experience. Sorry, I just don’t like the heavy, negative or way-out-there theatre. OK, so Little Shop of Horrors is way out there, but it is entertaining, still has a message and doesn’t leave you with dark and gloomy thoughts.
So how about a little history made to be fun and entertaining? Surrey Civic Theatres and Surrey International Children’s Festival present Monster Theatre’s production of The Canada Show: The Complete History of Canada in One Hour – a hysterically historical joy ride — at Surrey Arts Centre’s Studio Theatre on Sunday, Oct. 22, starting at 2 p.m. The show is suggested for those aged eight and older, and the run time is approximately one hour (no intermission). Tickets are $15, including all fees. Call the box office for details (604-501-5566), or visit tickets.surrey.ca.
Written by Ryan Gladstone and Bruce Horak, this family-friendly production tells the story of Canada from three viewpoints, and it is not boring! Three bickering historians—one English (Alex Gullason), one French (Carly Pokoradi), and one First Nations (Frankie Cottrell)—battle to tell their version of Canadian history. It combines songs and sketch comedy to pop culture references with historical happenings.
The Canada Show kicks off the Family Series, which also features Sleeping Beauty Dreams (Feb. 10, 2018) and Saturday performances at Surrey International Children’s Festival (May 26, 2018). These shows and the Saturday Festival Pass are available as a series until Oct. 22, with special pricing. More details are posted on the Surrey Spectacular Season page at surrey.ca/theatre.
Live theatre is worth the investment, and so many venues await the right audience to appreciate the production. Applause is not optional.