Grads head for home – and the stage
Don’t ask Stephen Sawka what he was wearing at any important point in his life.
He won’t remember, the Westsyde secondary teacher said.
But, ask a woman what she wore on a special day and she’ll remember.
“Women have an emotional connection to their clothes that men just don’t have,” the theatre teacher said.
That reality spawned Love, Loss and What I Wore, a play based on a series of stories women wrote for a book by Ilene Beckerman.
From that book came the play by sisters Nora and Delia Ephron.
Sawka chose the play for this year’s presentation by the Performing Arts Westsyde’s Acting Alumni Theatre Company.
It brings back to the Rachel Ball Theatre at the school four graduates — Terri Runnalls, Chelsea Isenor, Paige Cross and Kayla Sorley — with guest actress Giovanna Rondinelli for performances from Wednesday, Nov. 21, to Saturday, Nov. 24.
Sawka said he loves having graduates come back to perform on the stage.
A Westsyde grad himself, Sawka said “to be there now, teaching theatre and having kids I’ve taught, having them want to come back to perform is special.
“It’s home,” he said of the school.
“You always want to go home.”
Sawka first saw the play while visiting in Toronto.
“I was the only man at the matinee,” he said, explaining he was drawn to the play because of its intimacy and the stories it tells.
There is no set or props — in many ways, it’s performed as is The Vagina Monologues, with the actresses sitting on the stage, telling the stories.
The alumni company was formed after Sawka saw a performance of Driving Miss Daisy.
His friend encouraged him to have his students do it but he felt the play was too much for high-school students.
“I wanted to bring the alumni back home to where they learned to love the theatre,” he said, “so that’s how it started.”
Tickets are $10 and a portion of the proceeds will go the B.C. Cancer Foundation.
Tickets are at the door or can be purchased by calling 250-579-9271.
Curtain time is 7:30 p.m.
The theatre is in the school at 855 Bebek Rd.