Ralph McCubbin Howell stars in “The Bookbinder,” a theatre show that involves shadow play, paper art, puppetry and more. (submitted photo: Philip Merry Axolotl Photography)

THEATRE

VIDEO: With shadow play and paper art, ‘The Bookbinder’ tells a funny-dark tale in Surrey

Show to mark B.C. debut of Trick of the Light Theatre production, from New Zealand

Before he flies here from his native New Zealand next week, Ralph McCubbin Howell says he’ll be packing clothes for all seasons because, well, he pretty much has to.

The Wellington-based “theatre maker” will be on a far-flung tour with The Bookbinder, a one-man show produced by Trick of the Light Theatre.

“We’re performing some shows in Aotearoa/New Zealand at the moment, then after Surrey we head down to Illinois, and then to Frutillar, Chile, to direct the show’s Spanish-language premiere,” McCubbin Howell told the Now-Leader.

His performance at Surrey Arts Centre’s Studio Theatre on the afternoon of Saturday, Nov. 2, will mark the show’s debut in B.C.

“The closest we’ve been (to Surrey) was performing the show in Calgary in 2018,” McCubbin Howell noted. “We had a great time, and some nice audiences, and managed to sneak away for an afternoon to explore the Rockies.”

He describes The Bookbinder as a dark fable in the vein of Neil Gaiman, about a bookbinder’s apprentice who finds himself bound in the book he’s supposed to repair.

Directed by Hannah Smith, McCubbin Howell’s 55-minute show features shadow play, paper art, puppetry and music.

The Bookbinder first came to life in the backroom of a bookshop during the 2014 Wellington Fringe Festival in New Zealand.

“We wanted to capture something of the experience of reading, of getting immersed in the world of a book, so it’s an intimate performance that moves through different modes – from storytelling to pop-up book, to puppetry and live action,” McCubbin Howell explained.

“The work’s aimed at a cross-over audience of adults and older children, so it’s both funny and dark, and we travel the world terrifying small children.”

The show, part of Surrey Civic Theatre’s 2019-20 season, is suggested for viewers aged eight and older, with a 3 p.m. start time at Surrey Arts Centre (13450 104 Ave.). A short, informal meet-and-greet with McCubbin Howell will follow his performance there on Nov. 2.

For more show info and tickets ($15, or $45 for a four-pack), visit tickets.surrey.ca or call 604-501-5566.

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tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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