The cast of Lend Me a Tenor take a break from rehearsal for a photo-op. The play will be Shuswap Theatre’s entry when it hosts the Okanagan Zone Drama Festival May 17 to 24. (File photo)

Slamming doors punctuate riotous Shuswap Theatre offering

Lend Me a Tenor to kick off locally hosted Ozone Drama Festival

By Barb Brouwer

Contributor

Shuswap Theatre’s latest production is a grand slam.

Plenty of slamming doors and each one an exclamation point to the clever dialogue in Ken Ludwig’s hilarious Lend Me a Tenor.

Under Julia Body’s able direction, each talented cast member brings life to their characters in the mayhem that ensues when a group of people vie to indulge their own self-serving intentions in a single hotel suite.

What could go wrong when the Cleveland Opera Company plans to celebrate their anniversary with the world-famous Tito Morelli, who likes women and wine?

In her director’s notes, Body maintains that “farce is a tricky and precise form of comedy and is a definite acting style that takes exaggerated characters in absurd and highly improbable events.”

And it’s all here – verbal and physical humour, bawdy jokes and silly visuals – appreciated by the bursts of loud and long laughter from the audience.

Clever set design and decor, props and costuming enhance the experience.

Lend Me a Tenor is Shuswap Theatre’s entry into and opening performance of the 2019 Okanagan Zone Drama Festival, which features seven plays in seven days from May 17 to 24 in Salmon Arm.

On May 18, Theatre Kelowna presents Late Company, in which a couple invite their son’s bully and his parents to dinner one year after a family tragedy. Closure is on the menu but accusations are the main course.

Read more: Shuswap Theatre enters a gem

Read more: Vernon company wins Ozone best production

Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind is Kelowna’s Fred Skeleton Theatre entry on May 19. Billed as a highly entertaining ensemble experience, the production is 30 plays in 60 minutes.

Vernon’s Powerhouse Theatrical Society brings the familiar and mesmerizing tale of tyranny, magic and murder as they present Shakespeare’s Macbeth on May 20.

From wicked to hilarious, Asparagus Theatre in Armstrong brings Norm Foster’s Sadie Flynn Comes to Big Oak on May 21. Sadie Flynn sparks intrigue and gossip when she returns to the small rural town after being released from prison for murdering her husband.

On May 22, the mood descends again with the South Okanagan Players production of Lawrence and Holloman, described as a dark and twisted tale of a cynical and suicidal accounting clerk who is taken under the wing of an optimistic salesman.

Princeton’s Crimson Tide Theatre brings House on the Cliff, a suspenseful tale of an old house with a checkered past and a “colourful cast of characters who take the audience to a chilling and unexpected climax.”

Productions take place at 7:30 every evening at Shuswap Theatres, with doors opening at 6:30. Coffee critiques take place from 9:30 to 11:30 the following morning, with adjudicator James Fagan Tait.

Tait, a Vancouver actor, director and playwright has worked in theatres across Canada, in Paris, London and the Edinburgh Festival.

Read more: Lend Me a Tenor offers laugh-your-face-off fun

Read more: Shuswap Theatre Company kicking off the Okanagan Theatre Festival with Lend me a Tenor

Read more: New seats on the way for Shuswap Theatre

Tait regularly directs at Studio 58, UBC, SFU and the Canadian College of Performing Arts. He will perform in Coyotes, this summer, his 20th show at Caravan Farm Theatre.

On Friday, May 23, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Astrid Varnes presents a workshop on using one’s whole body to bring a character to life. The cost is $10 in cash to be paid at the workshop.

Tickets and packages are available now at Intwined Fibre Arts at 16 Hudson Ave. NE or online at shuswaptheatre.com. Individual tickets are $22, a three-pack is $63, five pack is $100 and the full seven-pack is $133.

And, in the meantime, there are still many laughs to be had as Lend Me a Tenor continues this week on pay-what-you-can Thursday, May 9 – no reservations and cash only at the door. Tickets for Friday and Saturday May 10 and 11 are available at Intwined Fibre Arts or online.


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