The bible makes an excellent hiding place for rolling papers.
That’s what Shaw television personality Doug Brown was told when he started inspecting Super 8 motels, doing research for his character, Will, in New Vintage Theatre’s premier play, Super 8.
“They take the Bible and flip it upside-down…and you look between the pillows for hairs to see if the beds have been changed properly,” said Brown. Will is a Super 8 inspector.
As all good work begins with research, Brown spent a good deal of time in Super 8 rooms learning how to notice these details, unearthing the secrets to the chain’s success.
Whether you’re a writer, in business, a statistician or an actor, finding out the facts is integral to making a plausible pitch and, in this case, the believability of the play really depends on the kind of detail that tells one to check the bible for the hidden notes or drug paraphernalia.
“This play is exactly what New Vintage is about. It’s about the depth of the characters and a good story,” said Bonnie Gratz, the founder of New Vintage and a talented actor who relocated to the area and blew her new contemporary’s away when she hit local stages.
“I saw Bonnie in Waiting for the Parade and I was just floored,” said Dorothy Dalba, who plays opposite Brown as the character Angie in Super 8.
Coming out of Calgary, where she owned a highly successful children’s theatre company, Centre Stage Theatre, Gratz has spent her career under the bright lights and knew just how to develop the two leads into her style of seasoned professionals.
Setting the stage and character development is a craft for Gratz, who staged a living rehearsal to force the actors to get into character by tricking Brown and Dalba into their research roles. This was particularly uncomfortable for Dalba who plays a barfly as she was thus left to experience life as a woman who frequents bars alone at the 97th Streep Pub.
“I got really hot and I started to think, oh my gosh, I’m stranded here,” said Dalba, who thought she was meeting Gantz to work on her character only to find herself in this precarious scene.
Dalba’s character, Angie, frequents the pub at the Super 8 nightly and knows all the locals; and it didn’t take long for her to find the groove and her real life Will equivalent to talk to.
Before Gratz arrived, and the exercise was over, she listened to the life story of a gentleman from the Greyhound station who was in town to visit his son. His ex-wife was a yoga instructor, she recalled.
Gratz has been holding readings in the Pulp Fiction Coffee House since August and has built quite the loyal following for the company.
Back in October, preparing for a Halloween reading, she spoke with the Capital News, suggesting New Vintage will be about rich characters, scripts that demand attention and likely a few field trip locations to winery rooms.
And true to her word, she is launching the company’s six-show opening season in just such a place.
Partnering with Tony Lewis at The Vibrant Vines, the show will be held in the winery’s tasting room, a bar-like setting perfect for a story that unfolds watering hole.
All that research, practice and seasoning as actors—both Brown and Dalba have worked with almost every theatre offering in town from Bumbershoot Theatre to the new Fred Skelton Company, Kelowna Actors Studio and Theatre Kelowna Society—will be on display come the season opener Jan. 26 at Vibrant Vines.The performaces start at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Tickets are free with a purchase of Vibrant Vine wine from Mission Merchants Liquor at 4600 Lakeshore Road.
Space for the exclusive event is very limited and tickets will go quickly so prospective guests are asked to buy quickly.
New Vintage also encourages people to check out its full line-up of play readings, classes and programs at its website, www.NewVintage.ca