By Patrick Turner
SOAP Theatre Productions
SOAP Theatre, EZ Rock and a talented group of performers will be presenting a classic holiday story with a special twist thrown in later this fall.
It’s A Wonderful Life, A Live Radio Play by Joe Landry, will be presented at the Osoyoos Elks Hall on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 and at the Frank Venables Theatre in Oliver Dec. 7-9.
Rather than a play full of action, this version of Frank Capra’s classic film brings the ever-timely story of disaster, redemption and holiday magic to life on stage before your eyes and ears in the form of a radio broadcast. It’s Christmas Eve, 1946 in the Golden Age of radio. Five actors have gathered in the WBFR studios for the weekly instalment of Theatre of the Air, a live radio broadcast. The talented ensemble brings a few dozen characters to the stage to tell the memorable story.
It’s a Wonderful Life is about the life of George Bailey, a generous and well-meaning man who has become too downcast and tired to continue living. He considers ending his life one fateful Christmas Eve when his guardian angel, Clarence, shows George what his town of Bedford Falls would have looked like if it hadn’t been for all his good deeds over the years. Even the cynics among us will cheer as George Bailey, standing on the brink of despair, famously learns that “no man is a failure who has friends.”
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The versatility of the cast — Vance Potter, Jeff Smith, Bertie Barens, Karen Hawitt and Curtis Boomhower – will be evident, right from the opening cue from Stage Manager Ritchie Kendrick. An interesting twist and fun part of this production will be having the “Foley artist”, or sound effects technician, namely Tom Szalay, live on stage, creating the necessary sounds using props, rather than relying on recordings played from the sound booth.
Under the direction of Trevor Leigh and producer Patrick Turner all the components are coming together in the twice weekly rehearsals that started in early September.
“Bringing this classic to life with this lovely and talented artistic team has been a dream,” says Leigh. “It’s a great way to bring in the Christmas season and it’s fun for all ages!”
Patrons will be able to take part in some Christmas carolling prior to the performances, starting about 30 minutes before curtain time.
The play will be presented in Osoyoos as part of the Osoyoos Lite-up Festival Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Performances begin at 7:30 pm at the Osoyoos Elks Hall, which is another break from SOAP tradition.
Three performances are scheduled at Frank Venables Theatre in Oliver the following weekend with 7:30 pm performances on Friday, Dec. 7 and Saturday, Dec. 8. The popular Sunday matinee returns with a 2 pm curtain on Sunday, Dec. 9.
More information on this show and other SOAP Theatre productions this seasons is available at www.soplayers.ca. Tickets are available on the Venables Theatre website at www.venablestheatre.ca as well as at Your Dollar Store With More in Osoyoos. Tickets are $23 in advance or $25 on the day of the show. Special rates are available for students and for groups of 10 or more. Contact the Venables box office for details at 250-498-1626.