SURREY — It’s been a busy theatre week for me. Three live theatre events, each with its own merits. Royal Canadian Theatre Company’s production of “It Was A Dark and Stormy Night” is moving out on tour after a weekend run at Surrey Arts Centre, the Arts Club’s “Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery” completes its run there on Saturday (Oct. 22), and Vagabond Players locally-written script, “Body and Soul,” runs until Oct. 29 at Bernie Legge Theatre in New West.
This was certainly a diverse dish of theatre. If you haven’t gotten tickets yet for the Arts Club On Tour series at the arts centre, jump on it now, and get tickets for the two remaining shows in the series. “Baskerville” was totally entertaining, with only five actors playing multiple roles. Absolutely brilliant in every direction. The next two shows in this series are “The (Post) Mistress” (which runs from Jan. 11 to 21) and “Bittergirl: The Musical” (Feb. 22 to March 4). Tickets are a bit pricier than for the amateur productions; that happens when everyone is being paid. Call the box office for tickets 604-501-5566, or CLICK HERE.
“Body and Soul,” written by Elizabeth Elwood, is just plain fun community theatre. Some of my favourite people are involved with this production, and tickets are less than $20. The story involves time travel (set by an iPhone and a remote control), ghosts and love interests. “It has a happy ending, Elwood noted. I get it, you have to go over the bridge to get to the Bernie Legge theatre, but it won’t hurt. Go to Vagabondplayers.ca to reserve a ticket.
One thing I noticed for all three of these theatre events is some empty seats. Surrey Arts Centre has about 406 seats, and Bernie Legge Theatre is about 110. The arts centre is operated by city employees, and Bernie Legge is owned and operated by the volunteers with Vagabond Players. Just sayin’. It takes a lot of dedicated effort to keep any theatre venue operational. If you aren’t part of the production, the least we can do is be part of the audience. Each performance is a unique experience.
A live-theatre performance does involve a stage, lighting, seating (for the audience), costumes and, of course, the performers. Norman Foote manages to combine costumes and unique experiences in “The Howl,” a “musical masquerade” done with the Very Scary Big Voice Orchestra (a wall of costumed singers). Music, costumes and Halloween all come together in this engaging concert for youth and families. Foote encourages youth to believe in themselves and celebrate their own voice; every voice is unique, like the concert itself. Come in costume on Saturday, Oct. 29, at South Surrey’s Wheelhouse Theatre (at Earl Marriott Secondary, 15751 16th Ave.), starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $16 for adults and $10 for children. The show is brought here by Peninsula Productions. CLICK HERE for more show details.
Here is another creative idea for all you creative people out there: Create your own chapbook in a hands-on workshop with writer Ben Nuttall-Smith (PICTURED), on Nov. 3 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at Surrey Arts Centre. It’s part of the Thursday Artist Talk series hosted by Surrey Art Gallery Association (SAGA). A chapbook is a small booklet that typically contains poetry or fiction. Nuttall-Smith says they are “a legitimate form of publication.” Whether you intend to print and assemble your own chapbook, or prepare a manuscript for a commercial printer, you’re invited to learn from his experience in producing eight different chapbooks, so you can get the best deal from a printer.
In his workshop, you’ll discover how to plan your pages, format left-facing and right-facing pages, and insert colour illustrations, photographs and promotional material. You will also learn how to obtain an ISBN number and sales barcode. At the end of the night, you’ll leave with a mock-up of your own chapbook, ready to go to work with computer, printer, paper cutter and stapler. OK, this is way cool. I want to be there. Alas, I have a rehearsal that night for the White Rock Players’ Club panto, “Alice in Wonderland.” I’m the Queen of Hearts. The part involves five-hour dance rehearsals on Sundays, and other rehearsals during the week, prior to the show’s month-long run in December.
I guess you just can’t do everything. Choices. We are lucky to have so many. If you, too, can’t make Nuttal-Smith’s interesting workshop, do visit his website at Bennuttall-smith.ca.