Acting a family affair for the Fourniers

Juggling homework, naps, high school and work makes the Fournier residence a busy place these days.

  • Feb. 15, 2011 9:00 a.m.

At home and on stage Kim Fournier

Juggling homework, naps, high school and work makes the Fournier residence a busy place these days.

Not only is Kim Fournier starring in the latest Kelowna Actors Studio production of Brighton Beach, but her son, Thomas Fournier, has the lead role opposite her.

Her daughter, Allison, had also tried out for a part in the play as well, and has since been cast in another KAS production.

“I guess she was just one Fournier too much,” joked Kim, adding “she’s really the singer in the family.”

(Allison and Thomas share the stage next month in the musical Sweet Charity.)

As a working mother of two, one might figure a little song and dance might actually help Kim smooth the waters through a hectic schedule.

But she insists she’s an actors’ actor preferring her roles in theatre straight-up. When she initially returned to the stage—she stepped away after university graduation to raise her family—the kids would do musicals and she would do plays.

This year things got a little more complicated when Thomas took on this leading role, though if you asked him, she says he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s grabbing naps where you can and doing homework where you can. It’s a bit of a struggle, but it’s what he’s wanted to do since Kindergarten,” she said.

Thomas is 14 years old, turning 15 in May, which makes him the exact age of the character, Eugene, in the play.

The first of a trilogy of stories, Brighton Beach is an autobiographical depiction of writer Neil Simon, as told by Eugene.

It is set in the early 1930s in the Brighton Beach neighbourhood of Brooklyn, New York, and looks at the inner workings of a very ordinary family forced into a somewhat extraordinary circumstance during tight economic times.

A coming-of-age tale, the story looks at two families living together under one roof to help cope with a recent layoff—something pinched families in the Okanagan might understand.

Thomas has some big shoes to fill. The character of Eugene has been played by Matthew Broderick on Broadway and Jonathan Silverman on the big screen.

Neil Simon is a Broadway playwright and screenplay writer who earned several Academy Award nominations.

He won a Golden Globe for Goodbye Girl, several Emmys and Tony Awards.

Brighton Beach is part of a trilogy and was followed by Biloxi Blues, in which Eugene goes off to war, and finally Broadway Bound, which caps off the set with the story of how Simon became a writer. In 1991 his play, Lost in Yonkers, won both a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award.

Some of his famous titles include The Odd Couple, Barefoot in the Park, The Sunshine Boys, and Laughter On The 23rd Floor.

jsmith@kelownacapnews.com

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