There is so much to love in the arts and that is not limited to what occurs in the capital city of Victoria. Many communities exist up and down Vancouver Island and for the enthusiast, a road trip can be taken to see them all before hopping a ferry to see what has spilled over, onto little islands such as Mayne and Salt Spring. Although we lack a decent amount of professional companies we have more than enough amateur societies to take up the slack.
I have nothing but fond memories for the theatre. I experienced it working backstage and out front a long time ago. I fondly remember companies like Bastion Theatre, Claymar Productions, Kidco Theatre Dance, and Opera Box. They’re now names who are a part of our theatrical history.
In my youth, theatre production companies like Colin Skinner’s Capital Comedy Theatre were the rock gods of stage, The Gilbert and Sullivan Society’s HMS Pinafore was the first live theatre I experienced and actors like Peter Mannering, Colin Skinner, and Claude Watt were those who I was both inspired by and looked-up to.
But further articles won’t be so much about the past as it will about the future. There’s so much to see and do among the Gulf Islands, you only need to look in the right places. Over the months we hope to reveal those places to you.
The Rez Sisters
(Sept 16th – Oct 19th)
Performing at The Belfry Theatre
Written by Tomson Highway
Inspired by the play Les Belles-Soeurs by Michel Tremblay
Tomson Highway’s The Rez Sisters introduces us to seven women, all related either by blood or marriage, living on the fictional Wasaychigan Hill Indian Reserve on Manitoulin Island, Ontario.
As we get to know each woman’s unique personality and perspective on life, we gain insight into their lives on the reservation, their relationships with one another, the personal demons they struggle with, and the humour they use to rise above it all. When they find out about “The Biggest Bingo In The World,” to be held in Toronto, they embark on an eventful and challenging road trip, each dreaming of winning the jackpot and what life-changing fortunes it will bring them.
Throughout the play, the women are followed and observed by the “trickster,” Nanabush, who we will recognize in several forms throughout the women’s journey. Our sisters return to the Reserve with a renewed understanding of themselves, each other, and where they live.
A Belfry Theatre production.
Pride and Prejudice
(Oct 2nd – 18th)
Performing at the Langham Court Theatre
Taking place in Georgian England, Five sisters lives are turned upside down when a wealthy young man (Mr. Bingley) and his best friend (Mr. Darcy) arrive in the neighbourhood.
A Langham Court Theatre production.
The Queen of Bingo
(October 2nd – 18th)
Performing at the Cedar Community Hall
Written by Jeanne Michels and Phyllis Murphy
Director: Patricia Zogar
Cast: Jenny Harrison, Georgina Duval, Terry Whittaker, and Torry Clark
Bingo superstitions are front and centre as Sis (Jenny Harrison) and Babe (Georgina Duval) ramp up the excitement in their lives playing bingo at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church where they bicker and banter with Father Mac (Terry Whittaker). Silver-tongued bingo caller (Torry Clark) calls the plays while the siblings explore everything from hot flashes to diet crazes, family ties to middle-aged singlehood.
A Yellow Point Drama Group production.
Over the River & Through the Woods
(October 3rd – November 8th)
Performing at the Chemainus Theatre Festival
Written by Joe DiPietro
Director: Pamela Halstead
Cast: Giovanni Mocibob, Margaret Martin, Linda Goranson, Bill McFadden, Wes Tritter, and Stephanie Moroz
Meet Nick – a single Italian-American from New Jersey – and both sets of his meddling grandparents over a series of Sunday dinners, as they try to sort out his love life and their destiny through pasta and wise-cracks. This heartwarming and hilarious family comedy plays with old world values, new family traditions and the differences between the generations. Tengo famiglia!
A Chemainus Theatre Festival production
The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe
(October 9th – 18th)
Performing at the Phoenix Theatre
Novel by C.S. Lewis
Journey through the doors of the wardrobe once again and return to the land of Narnia with Peter and Lucy Pevensie. Now grown up, they revisit the room where once upon a time, years before, their magical adventures began. With the faun Mr. Tumnus, the Beaver family, the evil White Witch, and the mighty lion Aslan, the cherished characters of your childhood imagination return to the stage in this inventive two-person retelling of the beloved C.S. Lewis novel.
A Pacific Theatre production.
(October 15th – November 1st)
Performing at The Bailey Studio
Written by Larry Shue
Director: Sheila Coultish
It is 1982. The scene is a fishing lodge in rural Georgia often visited by Froggy Le Seuer, a British demolition expert. Today he has brought along his friend Charlie, a pathologically shy man, who is overcome with fear at making conversation with strangers. So Froggy tells everyone that Charlie is a “foreigner” and doesn’t speak English. The fun really begins when Charlie overhears more than he should about all the other characters. This fuels the nonstop hilarity of the play and sets up the wildly funny climax and heart-warming ending where things go uproariously awry for the bad guys and the good guys emerge triumphant. Don’t miss this captivating comedy which remains true to human nature despite its absurd excesses.
A Nanaimo Theatre Group production.
(October 23rd – November 2nd)
Performing at The Roxy Theatre
Written by Patrick Hamilton
Director: Janet Wright
Cast: Thea Gill
Set in a fog-bound London in 1880, Bella Manningham is slowly losing her mind. Or is she being driven into madness by her rakishly handsome and ambitious husband Jack?
An elegantly structured morality tale that shows the consequences of what happens when a woman chooses the wrong man; Gaslight has thrilled audiences around the world since its theatrical premiere in 1938 and the 1944 George Cukor film of the same name starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer.
A Blue Bridge Theatre production.
(October 24th – 26th)
Performing at the McPherson Playhouse
Novel by Bram Stoker
Ballet Victoria’s portrayal of the spine-chilling monster hit, Dracula, casts light on the inherent forces of good and evil and the duality of humankind’s spiritual experience. A little humour, a touch of morality, and great dancing combine for a seductive evening that delves into the supernatural world of an oft misunderstood vampire.
A Ballet Victoria production.
(October 24th – 26th, November 1st & 2nd)
Written by Agatha Christie
Director: Geoffrey J. Davidson
A murder mystery whodunnit written by Hercule Poirot creator Agatha Christie. The Mousetrap holds the record as the longest running play in history.
A Penninsula Players production.
The Addams Family: A New Musical Comedy (October 31st – November 2nd)
Performing at the McPherson Playhouse
Book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice
Music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa
Based on the characters created by Charles Addams
They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky. Everyone’s favourite family comes to spooky and spectacular life in an all new story, based on the bizarre and beloved characters created by Charles Addams. Featuring all of your favourite ghouls – Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Grandma, Wednesday, Pugsley, and, of course, Lurch. Wednesday Addams has fallen for the wrong type—he’s sweet, smart and from a respectable “warm-blooded” family. Nothing changes a family more—more hilariously, more musically or more enjoyably—than a daughter in love. The magnificently macabre Addams are put to the test, hurling them into a night that will change their lives forever. Directed by Pat Rundell (Kaleidoscope’s Singin’ in the Rain, Snow White) with choreography by Tara Britt and musical direction by Yanik Giroux, The Addams Family is a devilish delight for all ages. Come meet the family. We’ll leave the lights off for you.
A Kaleidoscope Theatre production.