By Melanie Minty, arts columnist
SURREY — Live theatre is inspirational, entertaining, shares moments of reality, tells a story, recognizes truth.
Yes, all of that. Why write a play? What is the motive?
For a group of Vancouver mothers, Saturday-morning writing therapy became more than just sharing the trials and tribulations of motherhood. These women were all professional theatre workers, and their therapy eventually became the first play, Mom’s the Word.
It became a global hit, and the saga continued with Mom’s the Word 2, and Moms Remix – all wildly popular, around the world! The latest entry in the Moms story is Mom’s the Word 3, Nest 1/2 Empty. It is the third presentation in this season’s Surrey Spectacular Series and first for Arts Club on Tour. The show runs at Surrey Arts Centre until Sunday (Oct. 22). There is a reason this show is a worldwide hit, and we are the lucky ones to have the original moms/writers/performers in our midst.
So, if you miss out on this production – it speaks mostly to the mature woman with grown children who are leaving home – be sure to reserve your tickets now for the next two productions coming to the arts centre as part of the Arts Club’s touring package. Misery, a Stephen King thriller, runs from Jan. 10 to 20, and the hit romantic musical Onegin hits the stage from Feb. 21 to March 5. Keep in mind that the Arts Club is a professional theatre company, and the ticket price reflects that fact. The actors and others involved in the production do get paid. Go to tickets.surrey.ca, or phone 604-501-5566.
Christina Campbell books the performing arts for Surrey Civic Theatres. She used to be the tour co-ordinator for Arts Club and is now back in Surrey. She highly recommends Onegin. I trust her opinion; she knows good theatre.
One thing I hear about a lot is the lack of professional theatre in the Vancouver area. Too true. It is almost impossible to stay in Vancouver and make a decent living as a performer. On the positive side, community (aka amateur) theatre is totally booming and blossoming in our area. Volunteer talent pushes the productions, and often highly skilled and trained people are part of the production. That means we usually get a good caliber of theatre from community clubs.
Surrey Little Theatre opens its 2017-18 season with Wrong Turn at Lungfish, written by Garry Marshall and Lowell Ganz. It runs at the theatre from Oct. 26 to Nov. 25 – Thursday to Saturday at 8 p.m., plus three Sunday matinees. Tickets are only $17 via email@example.com or brownpapertickets.com.
Surrey Little Theatre has a rich history in Surrey, and not just for theatre presentations. This season, SLT is allocating $1 for every sold ticket to a local charity. That charity is determined by the play.
Wrong Turn at Lungfish is a dramatic comedy centered around a hospital-bound college professor, who is coming to terms with his illness that has already cost him his sight. It is terminal. He is bitter. His only entertainment is listening to Beethoven and having volunteers read to him from his beloved books. The only volunteer who will still read for him – he is more than difficult – is a streetwise and sassy young woman, who does have problems of her own. Do they discover friendship and understanding? Ah, that would be telling. You will just have to go see for yourself. SLT will be donating $1 from your ticket purchase to Surrey Hospice Society.
Sometimes theatre leans a bit more toward fantasy, or the future. The Arts Club also presents the Canadian premiere of King Charles III, at Vancouver’s Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage for a month starting Oct. 19. Set in England following the death of the queen, this inventive story of a king under pressure is a clever imagining of a future not yet written. And yes, this is the same Arts Club that brings fab productions to Surrey.
In this award-winning drama, Will and Kate vie for the throne in the wake of recent hacking scandal. Meanwhile, Prince Harry is on his own adventure. Director Kevin Bennett notes, “My approach with the design team was to create a blend of Elizabethan and Shakespearean staging with a contemporary feeling. It’s very epic and intimate at the same time.”
I’m intrigued, and not just because this play won Best New Play at the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards and at the Laurence Olivier Awards. That’s England. It asks the question, “Can you be your own person and also be king?” Hint: Beware of compromising text messages.
For King Charles III show info and tickets, visit artsclub.com or call 604-687-1644.