CONTRIBUTION · 22nd April 2013
Terrace Little Theatre
Terrace Little Theatre’s McColl Playhouse is a hub of activity these days as actors and crew prepare for opening night of “Perfect Pie, a powerful drama by Canadian playwright Judith Thompson. Designers and tech crew have been pulling 14 hours days tweaking the 51 scene production that uses sound, lights and a scrim to simulate multiple locations near the Ontario town of Marmora. Settings include a farmhouse kitchen, railroad tracks, school hallway and play ground, a closet, hay mow, city apartment, skating pond, lake and farm fields.
Director Marianne Brorup Weston and lighting designer Eryn Griffith are collaborating with music/sound director Tim Keenan to create a seamless flow of action between past and present as two long-lost friends reunite and relive the events that tore them apart 35 years prior. “It becomes a dance between the actors and the crew who must anticipate each other’s every move. It’s not for the faint of heart, says Weston who has a history of plays that challenge. “It could be worse. We could have a live lamb on stage”, she quips, “Or a temperamental suicide machine.”
The four actors playing two characters, Patsy and Marie, are relative newcomers to community theatre. Erica Wilson (Young Marie) appeared as Babe in TLT “Crimes of the heart” but the other three are stepping onto the boards at the McColl for the first time. Mother-daughter Laura and Melayna Ross play Patsy and Young Patsy and Rebecca Counts is Marie, now a well-known actress named Francesca. “I don’t think any of them expected it to be that much work”, observes Weston whose motto is ‘first we work, then we play”. “The work takes over your life towards the end of the rehearsal process, no way around that if you strive for good theatre”.
The ensemble was the challenge of transferring the play to a full-size proscenium stage at the Skeena Zone Drama Festival on May 17th. “We’ll have some sleepless nights as we conquer how to translate playing in the semi-round in a black box to a 40 feet wide space. I am already having nightmares in timing.” Because scenes are back to back with no breaks between them a bigger space makes moving from area to area a significant problem.”
The Drama Festival also has entries from Kitimat (“Conflagration”) and Prince Rupert (“The Trespassers”) adjudicated by Garry Davey, a professional actor/director and Artistic Director at Theatre One in Nanaimo.
Tickets for the festival shows will be available at Uniglobe Courtesy Travel and at the door at the REM Lee Theatre.
“Perfect Pie” opens at the McColl Playhouse on Thursday April 25th.