Play challenges actors

Onstage: Vitaliy Demens, Shane Gorner, Alaura Bibby, and Madison Heiser perform in Sweet Susie of the Shuswap. - Photo Contributed
Onstage: Vitaliy Demens, Shane Gorner, Alaura Bibby, and Madison Heiser perform in Sweet Susie of the Shuswap.
— image credit: Photo Contributed

Lana Caputi is having the time of her life, and so apparently are the young talents she is directing in Sweet Susie of the Shuswap.

“This new script, especially created for the cast and director, is full of excitement and sparkling moments that are the result of a wonderful integration of the talent of the cast, the experience and training of the director, and the addition of musical magic,” says longtime Shuswap Theatre member James Bowlby.

And Caputi is delighted too.

“I have never worked with such a dedicated group of young people. This talented group, cast and crew, come in focused and ready to work,” she says.

“They behave so professionally, coming in early, never taking anything personally. It has been amazing to hear their development and confidence as singers, going from a tight whisper to belting out a song, really enjoying it,” she says.

Caputi describes a wonderful excitement – the expectation of trying new things, using their creative input, feeling the rhythm of the piece.

Caputi trained in London with Parisian Philippe Gaulier in a program that came from clowning, focusing on the physical interpretation of the characters in a variety of work including Shakespeare, melodrama and theatre bouffe.

She uses improvisation and clowning techniques to free the actors.

“We have a great time – everyone is laughing in rehearsal, creating real entertainment, based on being physically energetic,” she says.

Her theatre career has taken her to New York, Thunder Bay and west to Vancouver to form the Vancouver Tap Dance Society with Sandra Selfjord.

Focusing on her writing talents, Caputi spent time in Arizona and then moved to Blind Bay. But theatre beckoned and she accepted an invitation to direct by Shuswap Theatre.

Playwright and co-producer with  Skylar Plourde, Bowlby is happy to see Shuswap Summer Theatre back in production after a long hiatus.

Many years ago he and Julia Bowlby ran Sassy Theatre – Salmon Arm Summer Stock Youth Theatre. The program grew to include three productions during June, July and August.

Professional directors and up to eight actors were hired to act in these shows from 1980 to 1983.

“People began planning their vacations around summer productions at Shuswap Theatre,” Bowlby says.

As his eighth play to goes into production, Bowlby hopes that the summer program will be developed into a summer theatre festival.

The cast of Sweet Susie of the Shuswap includes Madison Heiser, as Susan Sweet; Shane Gorner as her beau, Ben Trueheart; Alaura Bibby as Susie’s mother; and Vitaliy Demens plays the villain, Dangerous Dan McGee. Tickling the ivories, as they say, is Kieran Rambo.

The show runs at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 4-6, 11-13 and 25-27, with Sunday Matinees Aug. 7 and 14 and special Roots and Blues Saturday matinee at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 20.

Tickets available at the door are $12 for adults,  $10 for students and $30 for family. For more information go to www.shuswaptheatre.com, or call 250-832-9283



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