From left

From left

‘Dream’ cast for dream play

Beach House Theatre Society's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream is set for Aug. 15 to 19 in Crescent Beach.

It’s the question that’s on many lips – even if they haven’t got the name quite right yet.

“What’s happening with that Bard, er …Shakespeare by the sea…thing down at Crescent Beach?”

The answer, happily, is that everything is full steam ahead for Beach House Theatre Society’s debut production, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, all set to transform a section of the Blackie Spit parking lot into a covered theatre space from Aug. 15 to 19.

Beach House artistic directors Candace Radcliffe and Rick Harmon report, as of this writing, that online ticket sales ($25 per seat, plus HST and service charges)  should be up and running by the end of this month on the company’s website (www.beachhousetheatre.org).

And – happily for those not quite ready for a Star Trek interpretation of Shakespeare’s classic – they assure us Nicole Chartrand’s production design and Linda Weston’s costumes hew to a very traditional late medieval/Renaissance approach.

“Nicole’s visual references will all be Elizabethan,” said Harmon of the well-loved play in which denizens of the fairy realm, including King Oberon, Queen Titania and mischievous sprite Puck, play havoc with the lives of mortals in a mythical Athens that has always had more to do with bucolic Britain than the hills of Greece .

“It’ll be very traditional and the setting will use as many elements of nature as possible – a lot of natural twigs and shrubs,” he said.

“Nicole has some beautiful things in mind,” said Radcliffe. “More than the stage  set itself she’s designing the whole look of the space. She’s even designed beautiful entrance gates to make it look like an Elizabethan theatre.”

Technical director Geoff McEvoy has also been busy trying to reconfigure the available space to accommodate the maximum number of seats to fill the demand for tickets – it’s now up to 270 seats under the tent, they say.

Of the demand there can be little doubt.

“One woman called in a total panic because she’d heard it was sold out,” Harmon said.

Even fundraisers for the company have been selling like proverbial hot cakes, they added, including the most recent pub night.

“When tickets went on sale (for the pub night) they sold out in a day – I couldn’t even get one,” said Harmon, laughing. “The community has supported us beyond our dreams.”

A keen and energetic board and enthusiastic local sponsors have made it easy for them to concentrate on the myriad of details involved in the production, rather than having drop everything to go into fundraising mode, they said.

“We have to give a big thank you to our sponsors,” Radcliffe said. “This wouldn’t be happening without them.”

As much as the community is giving to Beach House, the newly-minted theatre company wants to give back in opportunities for volunteers, particularly among young people on the Peninsula.

“One of the mandates of the company is to encourage youth to get involved,” said Harmon. “The board put together a scholarship to recognize an outstanding contribution to stagecraft.”

Due to shortage of time, it was offered this year only to students of Elgin Park Secondary and Clayton Heights Secondary, and grad Zachary Dallas, who has done extensive work in lighting, set design and construction with the Elgin Park Players since 2008.

“He’s been with Stan (Elgin drama teacher Stan Engstrom) for years,” Harmon said. “We’re very excited – part of the scholarship is an opportunity to work with Geoff McEvoy on the technical side, maybe even as an assistant to Geoff.”

Radcliffe, drama teacher at Earl Marriott, said she is also giving an opportunity to several of her younger students to appear as part of the fairy throng in the play.

The cast is also rich with Marriott grads who’ve worked as students with Radcliffe (or with Harmon, before his retirement from the school several years ago) and are continuing in professional theatre  – and also with regular character actors from the Fraser Valley Gilbert & Sullivan Society (FVGSS), for whom Harmon has directed frequently over the years.

The result is a happy blend of experience, enthusiasm, talent and significant training, Radcliffe and Harmon said.

Anne VanLeeuwen, for example, who plays Helena, is appearing in the show during a brief hiatus from her training at New York’s prestigious Circle In The Square, while Marina Benitez-Lazzarotto, who reprises the role of Puck she played in a notable 2005 Marriott production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, spent two years studying theatre in Paris.

James Walker (who plays the dual role of Oberon and Theseus, Duke of Athens) is not only a Marriott grad but also a notable scene-stealer in FVGSS shows, as are fellow cast members Reg Pillay (Snout), Paula Cooper (Peaseblossom), Adam Olgui (Quince) and Roger Hussen (Egeus).

Others well remembered from Marriott productions include Shayne Robinson (Demetrius), Russel Chartrand (Bottom), Rylan Schinkel Hermia), Nick Hugh (Lysander), Nicki Carbonneau (Starveling), Anna O’ Brien (Cobweb) and Paul Richardson (Flute).

“They’ve picked it up very quickly,” said Radcliffe of rehearsals, which are being hosted by Camp Alexandra. “We have it all blocked already.”

“Many of them were off-book early on because they wanted to make the most of the physical comedy,” Harmon said.

“It’s pretty cool to see it coming together,” Radclffe added.

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

White Rock Rotary Club president Mauricio Browne de Paula (front right) with other club and community volunteers at the launch of the free hot lunch program at the city parking lot at Russell Avenue and Johnston Road on May 21. (File photo)
Daily demand for White Rock Rotary, city lunch program surpasses 40

Recipients ‘are very good people… going through some tough times’

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Surrey Fire Service responded to a fire in the industrial area of 192nd street and 54th Avenue early Saturday morning (Jan. 23, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Surrey crews respond to fire in industrial area

Fire happened early Saturday morning

Students at Creekside Elementary in Surrey wrote letters to seniors over the holidays, and are planning to write more for Valentine’s Day and Family Day. (Photo: surreyschools.ca)
Surrey elementary students connect with seniors through letter writing

Creekside students planning to send more cards for Valentine’s Day

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Police called to Surrey home for report of weapon, man taken into custody

Surrey RCMP say people evacuated from house, one found in a bedroom ‘hiding from police’

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

sd
VIDEO: Mission drag racer scores 1st career win, sets world record, makes history in 2020

Justin Bond, founder and owner of JBS Equipment Mission, has break-out year

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

Giants defenceman Bowen Byram has recorded his first NHL career point (Rob Wilton/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants Bowen Byram records first NHL career point with Colorado Avalanche

Player with Langley-based WHL franchise assisted on goal against the Ducks

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Most Read