Timothy Elijah and Lisa Teskey in Vagabond Players’ production of the play “​Drinking Habits 2: Caught in the Act,” staged at New Westminster’s Bernie Legge Theatre from Feb. 6 to 29. (submitted photo: Craig Premack)

Timothy Elijah and Lisa Teskey in Vagabond Players’ production of the play “​Drinking Habits 2: Caught in the Act,” staged at New Westminster’s Bernie Legge Theatre from Feb. 6 to 29. (submitted photo: Craig Premack)

Surrey’s Rob Larsen returns to direct ‘Drinking Habits 2’ for stage in New West

‘Ultimately,’ he says, ‘if I put a smile on the face of audience members, then my work is done’

Many months after he began auditioning actors for the farce, Rob Larsen’s work to bring Drinking Habits 2: Caught in the Act to the stage is now pretty much done.

The North Surrey resident directed the Vagabond Players production for its three-week run at New Westminster’s Bernie Legge Theatre, from Feb. 6 to 29.

This is Larsen’s third time directing a play for the company over the past seven years, following his work on Wait Until Dark and Over The River and Through The Woods.

“It’s gone really well, and I’m looking forward to getting it up and running,” he said of the latest show. “I enjoy the experience of creating something and putting my vision on stage, and once it gets there it’s no longer yours, per se, other than having your name on the program saying you directed. Ultimately, if I put a smile on the face of audience members, then my work is done.”

Auditions began last summer for the eight roles in Tom Smith’s comedy, a sequel to his Drinking Habits, which was a hit for Vagabond Players two seasons ago.

In the second installment, The Sisters of Perpetual Sewing miss the excitement of the old days when they were saving convents and reuniting long-lost families. “So when they learn that the orphanage where Paul and Kate grew up is in peril, they can’t wait to come to the rescue. Everyone pitches in to mount a play to raise money,” says a post about the show on vagabondplayers.ca. “But it’s no easy feat when Kate’s expecting any day, Sally’s hiding from stage-fright-stricken Paul after another flight from the altar, Mother Superior’s acting is unexpectedly narcoleptic, and the sisters’ award-winning wine keeps getting switched with the grape juice.”

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The cast includes Helen Volkow (as Sister Philamena), Jennifer Kennedy (Sister Augusta), Timothy Elijah (George), Halia Hirniak (Mother Superior), Chris Brown (Paul), Pat McDermott (Father Chenille), Ada Decolongon (Sally) and Lisa Teskey (Kate).

Larsen is an actor, too, with nearly three decades of involvement in the Vancouver-area theatre scene, and in recent years has turned his attention to stage management and directing.

“I love acting, which is what got me interested in theatre back in high school – that adrenaline rush when you get the applause at the show’s end,” related Larsen, a retired warehouse employee. “I decided to go from stage managing and some other activities in the theatre to directing, and it’s been a good experience.”

As director of Drinking Habits 2: Caught in the Act, Larsen’s work comes to a close on Tuesday, Feb. 4, when he hands over the reigns to the stage manager for the rest of the month.

At Bernie Legge Theatre, show times are Thursday to Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., with preview performances on Thursday, Feb. 6 and Friday, Feb. 7. For more info and tickets, visit vagabondplayers.ca/tickets or call 604-521-0412.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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