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Museum to stage its first play
It was fate that resulted in the Kelowna Museums embarking on its first production of the play that opens this week in the historic Laurel Packinghouse, put on by a professional theatre company, but including a number of local people in key roles.
In fact, there have been all sorts of ‘connections’ as this project got underway and as it continues, notes Patti Kilback, Associate Director, Exhibitions and Public Programming for the Kelowna Museums.
It began when Jackie Faulkner dropped into the Kelowna Museum, having returned home to the Okanagan after nearly a decade in Vancouver dancing and acting professionally, and met with Kilback about doing some volunteer work with the museum.
Kilback was looking for a way to reach new audiences for the Okanagan Heritage Museum’s current exhibit on weddings called: Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and when Faulkner mentioned a play called Mary’s Wedding by Canadian playwright Stephen Massicotte, set during World War II, it just all clicked.
“It was something new that we’d never done before; paying actors and supporting artists right here in Kelowna’s cultural district,” she explained.
She applied to the City of Kelowna for seed money to help mount the production, and received the $8,000 to help with costs, but now she hopes residents will turn out to enjoy it.
“The lead (Mack Gordon) and Faulkner are from Kelowna so we’re supporting local talent. It was a gut thing with me. I didn’t know Jackie or anyone else,” comments Kilback.
Even the set designer, Nicole Bach’s family is from Peachland.
Putting on this play is an expansion on local history; it brings history to life, which is a mantra of the museum, and it ties in beautifully with the Military Museum because it’s set in wartime and tells of the experiences of real people falling in love against a backdrop of war.
“It’s not just any old play. There are all sorts of connections,” she says.
Even the research done by the playwright, who used actual letters written by soldiers and then based the play and its characters on some of what he learned, involved letters from a B.C. orchardist who went off to war. And the Laurel is home to the B.C. Orchard Industry Museum.
The play will be done as theatre in the round, which means there are no curtains and no ‘backstage’ area, so actors have to exit through the audience, which surrounds the stage.
It also means that Faulkner never leaves the stage during the entire play—a very physically demanding role, notes Kilback.
The audience will be only a few metres from the actors, which is also very challenging for the actors, she added.
“It’s a really touching story about young love,” she adds.
Mary’s Wedding, put on by Shoreline Theatre, opens Wednesday, June 20 and runs to July 1
Tickets are available at the Okanagan Heritage Museum or by phone at: 763-2417.
For more details, visit the facebook page: marywedding.
All shows begin at 7 p.m, with matinees at 2 p.m. June 23 and June 30.
Support for the production has also come from Bliss Bridal, Twisted Lily Photography and Bean Scene.