White Rock student lands role in Capilano University production
White Rock actor Hunter Golden may not have been on stage at the Coast Capital Playhouse recently.
But local audiences will likely remember the young man who brought an unusually robust baritone voice and commanding stage presence to such Players Club comedies as Fools and A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Forum, as well as bravura villainy to the pantomimes Rumplestiltskin and Babes In The Woods.
The Earl Marriott grad said he'd like nothing better than to be able to do shows in his hometown again – or theatre, and film, just about anywhere.
Right now, however, the 24-year-old has his hands full with a regimen of 14-hour days, six days a week, as he pursues his passion in the second year of the Acting For Stage and Screen program at Capilano University.
Those who don't mind a schlep to the North Shore over the next two days still have a chance to catch his latest work, as the university's Exit 22 Company continues to present its stage adaptation of Fawlty Towers – based on the immortal television sitcom created by John Cleese and Connie Booth.
The show, directed by Bob Frazer, continues until Feb. 11, with 7:30 p.m. performances at Capilano's BlueShore Financial Centre for the Performing Arts, 2055 Purcell Way, North Vancouver.
The production combines the first episode of the series – in which the famously rude and stressed-out hotel proprietor Basil Fawlty fawns over aristocratic Lord Melbury – with the eighth, in which visiting psychiatrists and an attractive Australian girl complicate Basil's life.
"I'm playing Mr. Johnson – he's a Cockney git who fancies himself a bit of a Lothario," chuckled the affable Golden.
"He smuggles a paramour into the hotel, and the idea of it drives Basil crazy."
With farcical situations and a rich cast of characters to work with, it's an open invitation for student actors to throw themselves into the piece, Golden agreed.
"Oh, Lord, yes – everyone's giving it their all," he said.
"For the third year, it's their last chance to do a show before they get thrown out into the big, wide world. For myself, I'm really stoked because I thought it would only be third-years who were cast."
Golden, whose first brush with acting was taking some classes with the late Scott Wheeler more than a dozen years ago, realized he'd been firmly bitten by the bug, and developed a flair for comedy by the time he played the role of a knight in A Dragon's Tale in Grade 7 at South Meridian Elementary.
By that time, he'd already developed his trademark booming, yet mellifluous, vocal tones, he recalled.
"Puberty hit me like a ton of bricks," he laughed.
"I was in Grade 6 when I woke up one morning and said (emphasizing the deepness) 'MOM, I'M HUNGRY.' She said 'alright then.'"
In the drama program at Earl Marriott, his roles included parts in the musicals Guys and Dolls and Beauty and the Beast, and winning parts in White Rock Players Club shows only whetted his appetite for more theatre, he said.
He noted that, during his third year at Cap he will have a chance to audition for the company's two shows, a musical and a drama.
After he finishes the three-year program at Capilano, he'll have an opportunity to do a full year at Douglas College, he added.
"They have a pretty prestigious company themselves – I might as well do it while I'm young and sort of surviving."
But he'll do whatever theatre and movie work he can manage to fit into his schedule, he added.
"It's the only thing I can see myself doing for the rest of my life," he said, adding he's glad to have enthusiastic support from his dad Mark, an airline safety inspector for Transport Canada, his mom Jan, a childhood special needs care worker, and his younger sibling, Connor.
He does have an agent currently and has done some voice-over work – most notably providing the voices of several animals in a commercial for the Greater Vancouver Zoo a couple of years back.
His movie career has been a little less auspicious, he admitted.
"The first role I got was as a butt double for Monster Trucks – that was my three minutes of fame. I even got my own dressing room."
Given the richness of his voice, it's surprising he's never essayed Shakespeare – but that may be about to change, given director/instructor Frazer's connections as frequent participant in Bard on the Beach productions.
"I didn't use to like it when I was in school, but it's really starting to appeal to me now," he said.
"I thought it was lot of flowery language and posing around," he said. "Now, I've realized how every word is pregnant with meaning."
For more information on Fawlty Towers call 604-990-7810; tickets ($22, $15 seniors and $10 students) are available at tickets.capilanou.ca