Henry, Alice are just like us: writer
Meet Henry and Alice Lane.
When playwright Michele Riml first introduced them at the Vancouver Fringe Festival in 2002, the couple was trying to rev up its 25-year marriage in a swanky hotel room.
Fast forward a decade and the pair are at each other’s throats again, this time about the state of their finances beside a campfire in the woods. Henry has lost his job and, as he spills the beans about how bad things are, Alice realizes they’ll have to slash their spending even more and axe their planned European vacations.
Riml said the economic pinch her protagonists face is a common story these days, especially as Canadian families are uncertain about their financial futures. “A lot of people are in the same situation,” the North Vancouver resident said. “Henry and Alice are middle-aged, he’s out of a job and the stresses of money are developing. It’s a very truthful scenario in today’s world.”
The Simon Fraser University grad said the topic will provoke many theatre-goers. As the drama unfolds, “they relate to what’s being said. They’re poking each other, nodding along. I hear sometimes there are big conversations on the road home.”
But for many, her show also brings a much-needed dose of comic relief. “People have a laugh because they see themselves on stage. They know they’re not alone,” said Riml, who has been married for eight years.
The marital woes of Henry and Alice arrived on stage in the romantic comedy Sexy Laundry. Then, time and raising children had taken a toll on their union and Alice was desperate to rekindle the passion. One weekend, she whisks her reluctant husband to a spa hotel along with some saucy material: lingerie, sex toys and a copy of Sex for Dummies.
Riml said the sequel, Henry and Alice: Into the Wild, was born after a camping trip with her family to Osoyoos. And since the Arts Club Theatre premiered it in 2012 on its Granville Island stage, it has been remounted across Canada to rave reviews.
As for her next project, Riml is once again turning her focus on contemporary family, saying, “I like to see everyday struggles brought to life.”
• Henry and Alice: Into the Wild runs at Coquitlam’s Evergreen Cultural Centre (1205 Pinetree Way) from Jan. 29 to Feb. 2 with six performances at 8 p.m. and a Saturday matinee at 4 p.m. As well, Michele Riml will lead a pre-show chat in the lower lobby on opening night at 7 p.m. Tickets are $39/$30/$15 through the ECC box office at 604-927-6555.