Dominik Heins, seen here in White Rock several years ago, is the musical director of “Who Gets Grandma: A Dysfunctional Post-Christmas Cabaret,” staged on Dec. 27 and 28. (file photo)

COLUMN ON THE ARTS

MINTY: Bring grandma to ‘A Dysfunctional Post-Christmas Cabaret’ in White Rock

Two-night show promises post-holiday cheer with a lighter look at the holiday season

By Melanie Minty, arts columnist

Here we are, facing another new year on the timeline of life. While we can celebrate the last of the darkest days of the year with parties, celebrations, family gatherings, lots of outdoor lighting spectacles and toasts to the new year, there is one inescapable fact: We are getting older, and did we forget anyone? All this celebrating does have some stress involved. Let’s look at the light side with Peninsula Productions.

At the company’s studio theatre, on North Bluff Road in White Rock, things are getting a little bit wild. A show called “Who Gets Grandma: A Dysfunctional Post-Christmas Cabaret” promises an evening of music, comedy and post-holiday cheer with a lighter look at the holiday season, on Friday, Dec. 27 and Saturday, Dec. 28, 7 p.m. nightly.

Dominik Heins, the composer and musical director of Peninsula’s 2017 smash hit, Sea of Stories, made the music for this fun cabaret, and the cast includes comedienne, writer, singer, and storyteller Riel Hahn. Directed by Rebecca Walters, with musical direction by Heins, this sterling cast also includes John Halliday, Val Dearden, Uma Kaler, Bryna McGarrigle and Ryan Kniel. There is original material by Noel Bentley, Matthew Bissett and Hahn.

Show tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, with a limited number of four-person cabaret tables available.

I loved Sea of Stories,and I’m sure thisproduction will also be brilliant. For more information visit peninsulaproductions.org. Please don’t forget grandma!

Ah, yes. There is a good new year’s resolution. Don’t forget grandma – and all the seniors in our city. While seniors are on limited incomes, we often get left out of the deck while city officials argue over policing and canals. Issues like hiring more teachers or safety officers – and looking after seniors – get left off the list.

(column continues below)

Well, it seems that seniors have some creative ways of dealing with low incomes – and here is another senior-oriented presentation you won’t want to miss: Arts Club on Tour is stopping in Surrey with The Shoplifters, a Canadian comedy by Morris Panych. The play follows Alma (Patti Allan), a career shoplifter who prefers the “five-finger discount” over any senior citizen’s deal. When a grocery store theft with her anxious sidekick (Agnes Tong) goes awry, her elaborate life of petty crime is halted by an overzealous security guard (Raugi Yu) and his affable mentor (Dean Paul Gibson).

Director and playwright Paynch says, “The Shoplifters is about small people with small lives—people who want something and will do anything to get it. I’m really fascinated with what’s happening in the world right now, with people being left behind, and I wanted to write about that.”

See, Morris doesn’t forget grandma. Just a reminder for locals: Gibson (larger than life in real life) grew up in South Surrey, graduated from Earl Marriott Secondary and greatly benefited from contact with choreographer Carol Seitz (my tap teacher). D.P.G. found his path in life when he came into contact with Shakespeare and drama at EMS. More teachers, please; it is just as important as grandma.

The Shoplifters is on Surrey Arts Centre’s Main Stage from Jan. 15 to 25. Tickets range from $29 to $49 at the box office (604 -501-5566, tickets.surrey.ca). Also, take some time to view the Surrey Civic Theatre events on the city’s website, surrey.ca.

ALSO READ: Dr. Jane Goodall’s talk in Surrey includes ‘VIP Meet & Greet’ seats for $230.

So, I guess that one of the roles of seniors is to pass along tips to the next generations – even if they are unwilling to listen. It is tough to get modern children out of their digital space. Here is an opportunity to inspire kids through art as a volunteer docent at Surrey Art Gallery. The application deadline is Jan. 13.

“Docents play an incredible role,” said Chris Dawson-Murphy, volunteer program co-ordinator at the gallery. “They encourage elementary school students to engage with art from a young age, helping them make connections between art and ideas.” Experience is not required, but this seems ideal for seniors as they have the time (perhaps) to volunteer.

Training begins Jan. 31 – you are never too old to learn something new. To learn more and apply, visit surrey.ca/artgallery (scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Volunteer Now”) or contact Dawson-Murphy by email to artsvolunteer@surrey.ca or call 604-501-5198.

Easy. Seems like it is less easy to “forget grandma” if grandma (and grandpa) is an essential part of our arts community.

Happy 2020.

Melanie Minty writes twice monthly for the Now-Leader. Email: melminty@telus.net.

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