MINTY: ‘Opening Night’ for Norm Foster comedy at Surrey Arts Centre on Friday

Ellie King and Royal Canadian company bring show to stage

In Royal Canadian Theatre Company’s production of Norm Foster’s comedy “Opening Night

SURREY — Royal Canadian Theatre Company is ready to roll with the last production of their season – and ready to move into a new home location. The life force of RCTC is Ellie King. She has put her heart, mind and soul into the creation of this company, and probably her life savings as well. I do admire her unflagging enthusiasm and dedication to the project.

Now celebrating 10 years of operation, RCTC has more solid financial footing, a new home and a growing fan base. It is only fitting that this end-of-season production, the comedy “Opening Night,” is by Canada’s favourite playwright, Norm Foster. Fitting because, like, it is Canada’s 150th birthday. Canadian plays by Canadian playwrights are the featured focus this year.  And really, when your name has “Canadian” in it, you do have to look at Canadian content.

Sometime I will tell you the hilarious story of how the name Royal Canadian Theatre Company was selected. King tells a good story and it’s pure entertainment itself. Our coffee meetings consist of a hot fudge sundae at a fast-food location. Yep, that’s coffee! But on with the play, one you definitely do not want to miss.

At Surrey Arts Centre, “Opening Night” hits the stage on Friday and Saturday (March 17 and 18) at 7:30 p.m. and again on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $18/$28; call 604 501-5566 or visit Tickets.surrey.ca.

I don’t know how you cannot be jumping up right now, at this very moment, to buy a ticket. A Norm Foster play, directed by Ellie King at the Surrey Arts Centre.

“Opening Night” is the story of an unusual evening at the theatre. Ruth Tisdale has lucked into a pair of tickets to the opening-night performance of a new Canadian play, and she drags her husband Jack to the theatre as a way to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. Jack, however, would rather be at home watching the seventh game of the World Series on TV. Jack and Ruth are in the VIP lounge mingling with invited guests before the show when Jack spots someone he recognizes from TV. Hilarity follows, reaching its peak when we finally witness the “performance” of what must be one of the worst plays ever written.

Ladies, how many of you have “dragged” your male spouse or male partner to a performing arts event? This plot line speaks to all of us. Forget the World Series – PVR exists. A live performance happens only once.

So maybe getting a sports fan out to a live theatre show is a bit easier than convincing same male to attend an opera. It’s all our fault, of course. We are not exposed to the arts at an early age, and discard things like opera as “fluff.”

Vancouver Opera’s Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program is bringing a bit of opera to Surrey Libraries. “Opera Tales” will be at City Centre Library on Saturday, March 25, starting at 1 p.m. (register by calling 604-598-7426) and Semiahmoo Library on Sunday, March 26 (11 a.m., 604-592- 6908). “Opera Tales” will be a dash through opera and musical theatre, combining traditional and modern fairy tales with music from Candide, Romeo et Juliette, Carmen and more. This is a special, free, 45-minute performance, with hands-on workshops for children (ages four and over) following the performances. It may be too late to pry your teen away from the 24/7 connection to their cell phones, but maybe we can show the younger ones that there is something of value that does not come over a digital presentation, but is done by a real live person in a real live setting. Snapchat that.

melminty@telus.ent

 

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