For the past two weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of helping behind the scenes of the upcoming Shuswap Youth Theatre production Sweet Susie of the Shuswap. As I’ve painted props and sorted through the makeup and other jobs, I’ve observed the tremendous amount of time, energy and dedication from the director, producer, players, pianist, stage manager and others. I’ve seen and heard the play evolve from playwright James Bowlby’s words on a page and a bare stage, to a lively melodrama choreographed around cleverly designed set pieces.
I’ve experienced a student stage manager learning on the job, gaining more confidence each day. The four actors switch from rehearsing their lines, singing and dancing, to concentrating on subtle changes prescribed by the director, painting props and moving four extremely heavy pieces into various positions on stage. The pianist continues to work with his piano teachers to improve his already skilled execution of the great variety of music he plays during the production. Skylar, the producer and tech manager, keeps his eye on the budget. The director, Lana Caputi, teaches her young actors and technicians every step of the way, whether it be sharing ideas for two actors to develop rapport between one another in their stage roles or demonstrating a tap dance routine.
I’m honoured to be a small part of this youth theatre experience and hope the efforts of these few dedicated people will be rewarded by playing to full houses every night, beginning Thursday, Aug. 4 at 7:30 p.m. It’s an upbeat treat for all ages. Why not see it twice.