ECHO Players’ final play of the 2014/15 season, Fallen Angels, has a professional edge.
Long-time theatre and film actress Nicola Cavendish, who has lived in Qualicum Beach more and more since closing her over two-decade long run with Shirley Valentine in 2012, has taken on the role of the play’s director.
“She’s an excellent director,” said co-producer Candy Ashbridge.
And while Fallen Angels is Cavendish’s second foray into community theatre, she pretty much has the same modus operandi as always. In other words, she’s modelling her time with ECHO Players after her professional experiences.
“I’m setting the bar high,” she said.
Cavendish and her team are working on Fallen Angels, which tells the story of two long-time women friends, Jane and Julia, who are bored in their marriages. However, old passions fire up when the girls discover that a mutual former French lover Maurice is back in London the day their husbands Fred and Willy head out golfing. So ensues a plot filled too much champagne, secrets and a new maid named Saunders who seems to know absolutely everything about everything.
“It’s a perfect title,” said Cavendish, explaining how the main characters are perceived as angels until they get into trouble when following their passions.
And even though playwright Noel Coward penned Fallen Angels in the 1920s, the themes of the play still ring true. The story addresses what happens to love after many years of marriage, said co-producer Lynne Carrow, as well as the yearning for passion.
“It’s an old fashioned play about a very modern subject,” said Cavendish.
In order to bring this sharp play to life, Cavendish is particularly looking for her six-person cast to go beyond just learning lines and standing in the right spot.
Cavendish said she has asked the actors to pursue “a deeper meaning” to their characters
“I’m asking them to do more,” she said. “We don’t pass a moment by without having a meaningful discussion.”
The cast has also had to deal with a drastically shortened rehearsal schedule.
Instead of the usual two or three months, Fallen Angels is being put together in only five weeks. However, Carrow, said the actors have “risen to the occasion.” In fact, they began getting together for table readings of the play in January to give themselves a strong start before meeting with the director.
They also have quite a bit of experience between themselves. Actors Liz Riddalls as Julia, Sally Tilbe as Jane, Brian Lecky as Willy, Anne Jinks as Saunders and Andrew Brown as Maurice have all seen their fair share of stage time. Only Colin Payne in the roll of Fred is relatively new.
“They’re all fantastic, crazy people,” said Cavendish.
The director also sings praises about the rest of the crew. “Theatre isn’t about one person; it’s about the team,” she said. “This is a very fine team.”
All in all, the director is confident her team at ECHO Players can put on a great production of Fallen Angels.
“It’s a very rich adventure putting on a play,” she said. “I will never forget this experience, ever.”
Fallen Angels runs May 14-31, with evening shows Wed.-Sat. at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets are $19 for adults, $16 for seniors 65 and over and $10 for students with valid ID. All tickets are available at the Village Theatre Box Office (110, West 2nd Ave., Qualicum Beach and 250-752-3522) Tues. through Sat. from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. The box office is also open for ticket sales an hour and a half before showtimes.
- If you’d like to win tickets to the show, simply e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with “Fallen Angels” written in the subject line. Please include your name and phone number in the e-mail to be eligible.
- Also, if you attend the play on opening night (May 14), come dressed to the nines in your best gown, fur, jewels, suit or roaring ’20s fashion and you could win one of four prizes, consisting of a bottle of champagne, two glass champagne flutes and a silver tray.