Drama fans will be happy to know that a long-running Salt Spring theatre company is both alive and well and ready for its first post-COVID show.
Well-known actor, director and author Chris Humphreys took over Theatre Alive in 2019, and presented two of six plays planned for 2020 before the pandemic scuttled the remaining four events. Humphreys said he was thrilled with audience response to both Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest and Cary Churchill’s Escaped Alone, and can’t wait to give them more with the 2023 season.
The first play to run is British playwright Lucy Kirkwood’s The Children, which debuted at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 2016, and then went to Broadway.
“The basic story is that there are these two retired nuclear scientists who live in an isolated cottage quite close to the coast and quite close to a nuclear power station where they used to work, which basically did a Fukushima,” said Humphreys. “It’s caused this huge catastrophe in the country with intermittent power for people and all sorts of stuff.”
Humphreys said three terrific island actors play the trio of roles in the dark comedy. Robert Ruttan takes the part of Robin and Wendy Beatty is his wife Hazel, while Debbi Toole plays Rose, a woman they used to work with at the plant. Humphreys is directing.
The Children is on for one night only: Friday, March 24 at 7 p.m. at Mahon Hall.
Humphreys likes the staged-reading format for a number of reasons.
“I think it’s a way of making great plays quite accessible, but we don’t have to spend four weeks rehearsing them and build vast sets and all that,” he said.
At the same time, most of the dramatic elements of a full production are maintained.
“It’s not sitting around and reading the play. It is moving, it’s costumes, there’s sounds and lights,” he added.
And he’s found that the audience quickly forgets that people are holding scripts on stage, but it obviously takes pressure off the actors and eliminates the demands of using a full set.
“For relatively little investment financially, or timewise, we’re able to bring these fantastic plays to people’s attention.”
Tickets ($20) for The Children are available in advance at Salt Spring Books, or at the door. Cash only. Masks are optional.