All in the family: Surrey Little Theatre’s production of “Slow Dancing” is staged with the help of assistant director Spencer Shearman, director Margaret Shearman (now also cast as Mary) and properties master Grace Shearman. (submitted photo)

All in the family: Surrey Little Theatre’s production of “Slow Dancing” is staged with the help of assistant director Spencer Shearman, director Margaret Shearman (now also cast as Mary) and properties master Grace Shearman. (submitted photo)

‘Slow Dancing’ springs to life at Surrey Little Theatre

Family members get to work on company’s final play of the season

By Melanie Minty, arts columnist

Surrey Little Theatre winds up its season with a remarkable and sensitive play, Slow Dancing. The title is misleading – there is no dancing, at least in the conventional sense of the word. Maybe lives are like a slow dance, open to interpretation at every step, and ends when the music stops. Slow Dancing is all about how we see the world around us – and the people we meet in our slow dance of life.

Written by Shelley Picard and directed by the talented Margaret Shearman, Slow Dancing runs from April 19 to May 12, with shows Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and 2 p.m. matinees on Sundays. Tickets available online at brownpapertickets.com or reservations@surreylittletheatre.com, by phone at 604-576-8451, or visit the company’s website, surreylittletheatre.com.

Shearman is making her directorial debut with this production. She has been a mainstay at SLT for the past several years, turning in brilliant performances. She attended every play, I think, that every local community theatre group has presented. The script of Slow Dancing appealed to her, and she brought it to the SLT play-reading committee.

Originally scheduled to be the first play of this season, Slow Dancing got rescheduled to the final spot of the season, and, by default almost, it is the 2018 Theatre BC regionalfestival entry. That is just one of the challenges that faced this particular production.

This is not a comedy, and deals with homelessness, prejudices, terminal illness and social pressures. Sounds dreary. But actually the story is full of heart, and acceptance in this slow dance of life. The music always ends sometime.

The basic story: Mary, a homeless woman, befriends Ann, a young pregnant woman, much to the dismay of Ann’s husband, Charlie. George, Mary’s friend who died and is now an ever-present spirit in her life, gently guides Mary to help Ann when Ann is faced with some very tough choices.

Maegen Eastwood, straight from Vagabond Players’ recent pantomime, finds herself in a highly charged drama portraying Ann. “I love the character,” Eastwood related. “It should be sad, but she (Ann) is such a strong woman.”

Aaron Elliott plays Charlie, Ann’s husband. Elliott finds Charlie a very flawed human being and agrees that the character is both fun to play as well as challenging.

One of the most charming characters is George, played by Chilliwack’s Ken Fynn. George is a ghost, and only Mary can see and hear him. Fynn sees his challenges as being a real live person on stage, but as a ghost he can’t touch or move anything. Other than Mary, no one else can see or hear him. Interesting.

Slow Dancing is about finding your family and your place. Margaret Shearman has surrounded herself with her family for this production. Son Spencer Shearman, is assistant director and daughter Grace Shearman is props master. Margaret jumped into the role of Mary, as the original person cast in this role had to drop out. Two weeks before opening night, Margaret had lost her voice, but whispers, “We are doing fine.”

Offstage, there is more family-style help. Sarah Lohnes is stage manager with daughters Molly and Hannah in the tech booth. These jobs are so important to the successful presentation of any live performance. Molly and Hannah more or less grew up at Surrey Little Theatre, cutting their tech-skill teeth at the theatre when they were still in high school.

Slow Dancing looks at homelessness as well as family dynamic. We often just pass by a homeless person, but Fynn says, “the homeless are people with a life, and a story. There is a reason they are homeless.”

This play seems to be very fitting at this point in the history of Surrey Little Theatre as they face development pressures from the city and may be looking at being homeless as well. It is the family – whether related or not – that can make a difference. Slow Dancing gives us insight, and awareness.

During the play’s run at the theatre (7027 184th St.), some nights are already sold out, so check in soon. Margaret’s voice will return, the sets will get painted, and it’ll all magically come together for an experience you won’t want to miss. The music and the dance continues.

melminty@telus.net

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A heavy police presence was on scene on Dec. 28, 2017 following the shooting death on Bates Road in Abbotsford of Alexander Blanarou, 24, of Surrey. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Three men charged with Abbotsford shooting death of Surrey man

Alexander Blanarou, 24, was killed in a rural area on Dec. 28, 2017

RCMP. (File photo: Phil McLachlan/Black Press Media)
Surrey RCMP recover stolen semi-trailer and its $200K of cargo

Police say the cargo was found in separate location than the trailer

Surrey Little Theatre is located on 184th Street at Fraser Highway. (File photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey Little Theatre, Langley Players look to merge as single company at 200th Street theatre

A ‘really exciting’ development for the volunteer-run theatre companies

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Mirandy Tracy, left, and Tara Kurtz are two Langley mothers who are organizing a "sick out" for Tuesday, Dec. 1 to protest COVID conditions in schools. They're calling for masks and smaller class sizes, among other things. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Politician, labour leader throw support behind student Sick Out day

Langley parents started the movement to keep kids home on Dec. 1 as a protest

A family emerged with a purchase at the Tannenbaum Tree Farm at 5398 252 St in Aldergrove on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Christmas tree season is off to an early start

People are ‘bored’ with staying home due to COVID-19 and want to decorate early, farm owner believes

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A convoy of seven pickup trucks, six of which were hauling boats, makes its way around the Chilliwack Law Courts on Dec. 1, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
First court date for Fraser River anglers ticketed during demonstration fishery

Convoy of trucks circled the courthouse in downtown Chilliwack Tuesday honking their support

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Most Read