Theatre is just such an “amazing” way to look into other people’s lives and watch as humanity unfolds on stage, said Cassie Unger, the star of a one-woman play being presented two nights this week by a Langley theatre group.
Today and Friday (April 22 and 23), Theatre in the Country is presenting Jewel. It’s a piece by North Vancouver playwright Joan McLeod. It shares the story of a character named Marjorie, who is grieving her dead husband.
Unger is a “sought after local actor” taking on this title role.
“I think there’s a humanity about the piece that everyone will connect with, she said. “The piece is about finding freedom to move forward and I think that a real human thing that people will connect with.”
The young actor describes getting up on stage alone for this show as a “little scary,” and said the play itself presents a tender, emotional, and empowering rollercoaster ride.
“This is a very sad play – spoiler,” Unger said, explaining that her character’s husband is working on a deep sea oil rig when it catastrophically sinks into the North Atlantic.
“But, it’s also full of love and I think the more we’ve explored that, the more that has become a driving force in this play – there’s a lot of love.”
Director Nicola Shannon describes it as a tale of hope, laughter, tears, loss, and finding your way.
Unger shared that by immersing herself in her character, she has subsequently grown as a human and as an artist, drawing on some of her own life experiences – including love – to bring this grieving woman to life on the stage.
“I hope anyone who watches it will be compelled by the story. It’s such a powerful story,” Unger added.
In addition to the play, Theatre in the Country (TIC) is also presenting a mini tribute concert.
Local singer Jessica Mai will present the Best of Joni Mitchell, with selections from the songs of Canadian icon.
The music of Joni Mitchell is referred to in the play, and is a “perfect compliment” to this moving piece, said TIC’s artistic director Reg Parks.
These two different types of performances will combine to offer TIC’s Night of Canadian Story & Music.
“Both the performances, music and word, serve to complement each other as a great one-two-punch of creativity and storytelling that jumps off the stage and into people’s living rooms,” he said.
These digital presentations also include nightly talkback sessions with the cast, directors, and very often playwrights whose work is being performed. In this case, the playwright (Joan MacLeod) has been invited to join on opening night, but it’s unclear yet if that will be realized, Parks said.
“TIC has enjoyed bringing notice to Canadian writers, musicians, and performers during this unique time,” Parks said.
Tickets for A Night of Canadian Story & Music are available at theatreinthecountry.com or by calling 604-259-9737.
TIC has mounted 34 separate productions since April 2020.
The team has created three unique performance types to distinguish between the shows they are offering.
TIC Mainstage is reserved for when they can perform live in their space, and will be used as soon health regulations allow them to do so, again.
TIC Livestream offers fully realized plays performed on the TIC stage with lights, sound, and full sets.
Then, TIC Online provides large cast dramatized, costumed readings for patrons on Zoom.
Theatre in the Country is now working on launching a fourth unique play presentation platform for this coming summer, called TIC Outside.
The plan, Parks said, will be to present plays in unique outdoor venues that match the story being told, and provide safe outdoor entertainment as soon as health regulations allow.
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