A Feast of One-Act Plays at the Brackendale Art Gallery

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A scene from Troy Dawson’s adaptation of the final series of the BBC sitcom. Blackadder: In the Trenches. Photo: Linda Gardner

By Bronwyn Scott
Published: June 27, 2013

Five plays take the stage at the  Between Shifts Theatre Company’s All Canadian One-Acts at the Brackendale Art Gallery.

At least four of them are written locally and one from Ontario. Squamish teen Jacob Bakes, 16, wrote and directed the only drama of the set. The other four shows are comedies.

 First to the stage was Book Club, written by Whistler’s Karen McLoud.

Four wine-drinking, clearly intoxicated, women sit together to discuss a novel that none but the bookish church-going woman, the fifth of the group and the odd one out, has read.

As their glasses get deeper and deeper, she realizes her role in the club that she was recruited to join. The play offers a comedic rationale and a daring peek behind the modern woman’s book club.

Amy’s Story, the second play, changed the tone of the evening. This drama is a glimpse into a troubled teen’s life, and that of her best friend, Martin.

Growing up in a difficult home, with a difficult mother, Amy can’t do anything to change her situation. And, although Martin offers some reprieve, he can’t heal her wounds, nor can he bring her back from her despair.

Bakes, the mastermind of this piece and the youngest member of the theatre group, will be playing Amy in three of the six performances.

Next up was Troy Dawson’s adaptation of the final series of the BBC sitcom Blackadder: In the Trenches.

Set in 1917, Cpt. Blackadder devises a cunning scheme to avoid a big push that is planned by the incompetent General Melchett.

Dawson played the dim-witted George who, within the play, takes on the role of actor and offers a somewhat believable performance – one that nonetheless pulls the wool over Melchett’s eyes, to the bemusement of all.

Health Class, written by Ontario’s David Craig and Robert Morgan, was next to the stage. 

Bruce and Nigel, a science and English teacher, are called on to give a presentation on love and intimacy to 300 adolescent boys.

Neither has taught the subject before and hilarity ensues when the teachers find themselves at odds and unable to agree on a method of instruction.

The unpunctual, free-spirited Nigel is certain their role is to teach sex education. But Bruce is a stickler and interprets their mandate, to teach love and intimacy, literally.

With a few short practice runs before the big day, the teachers have learned a great deal about each other, but they’re hopelessly unprepared.

The fifth and final play, Pause for Harmony, also written by Karen McLoud, brings high school acquaintances Jill and Gwen together again, some 30 years down the road, on a ski lift.

When young snowboarders infuriate Jill, her chairlift partner offers a cool, casual comment about menopause and irritability.

A few exchanges and a roller coaster of emotions later both women are at the mercy of their bodies’ hormones, and the young punks on snowboards had better watch out.

Tickets can be purchased at Billie’s Bouquet, the BAG and online at www.betweenshiftstheatre.com

 

Comments

  1. Heather says:

    great acting with a social message and lots of laughs

  2. Christine says:

    It would be better reporting if we could know the date and time of these plays.