Actors Spencer Shearman and Ashley Chodat are featured in Surrey Little Theatre's current production of "Wrong Turn at Lungfish." (submitted photo)

MINTY: Make a right turn for ‘Wrong Turn at Lungfish’ at Surrey Little Theatre

Also: City Speaks survey got me thinking about what 'boring' and 'uncomfortable' really means

By Melanie Minty, arts columnist

SURREY — Pssst, hey buddy. Yes, you – the one sitting next to me at the gala opening of Surrey Little Theatre‘s “Wrong Turn at Lungfish.” I know we both wiped away tears at the trials of Anita, and felt sad that Peter is ill and blind, and left wondering why life often has no meaning. Art has no meaning. Literature does not have the answer to the meaning of life. All in all, we learned something. The play provided us a place to meet, and share an experience. We don’t know each other, but we had a moment together. Magical and meaningful.

“Wrong Turn at Lungfish” is an excellent production, by the way. It runs until Nov. 25, and tickets are only $17. Purchase online at Surrey Little Theatre’s website (surreylittletheatre.com), make reservations at reservations@surreylittletheatre.com or call 604-576-8451. Just a community reminder, $1 from each sold ticket is destined for Surrey Hospice Society. Sharing the moment, and the meaning of life.

Back to you, unknown (but not forgotten) theatre buddy. You said you didn’t get out to theatre much because you don’t drive and have to find someone to share a ride. Bus service to Surrey Little Theatre, located in Clayton off Fraser Highway, isn’t exact. I like the idea of sharing. Not having transportation to theatre events is just one of the reasons that you, perhaps, do not venture outside the comfort of home.

I just completed an Arts and Heritage survey from City Speaks, at surrey.ca. Got me thinking. Are we, in the performing and visual arts, reaching enough people, and solving their problems and concerns? Part of this survey asked why you did not regularly attend programs, events, art shows or theatre offerings. Theatre groups, including Surrey Little Theatre (or SLT), really need to know what they can do to engage your interest and how they can address your challenges.

Here were some of the response choices: Too busy. Too expensive. Don’t know enough to enjoy some of the arts events. Many of the arts or cultural events are boring. Don’t feel comfortable. Add transportation and parking, and don’t feel safe being out at night.

This is shocking! Boring? Uncomfortable? OK, I get not feeling safe at night, and transportation. The City of Surrey is actively involved in facing safety and transportation issues. The city wants that “Cultural Corridor,” and we can help. Attend arts and cultural events – and let the city know your concerns. Go to the City of Surrey website (surrey.ca). Think of it as a digital game, if you want to counteract the “boring” aspect. Your input and views are being requested. Click. Game. Set. Match.

In my mind, and life, digital will never replace the printed word. Did you know that you can read this because of the invention of the printing press? A printing press applies pressure to an inked surface resting on paper or cloth. The printing press, now almost certainly archaic in our digital world, was one of the most important world-changing inventions. It made possible the circulation of information to the masses. Language, especially the English language, was preserved. But, it did require an educated population to be able to read the printed word. I’m telling you, this invention (Johannes Gutenberg circa 1410) was more important than Twitter or Facebook. Seriously.

By the 1500s, printing presses throughout Western Europe had already produced more than 20 million volumes. That was an impressive number, considering the population. The operation of the printing press was an enterprise, and lent its name to a new branch of media, the press. This form of mass communication permanently altered the structure of society. The masses could read and be informed. Local dialects and languages were preserved – in print. Think about it. We all should praise the print and the press. What happens today in a power failure? We can still read a book by candlelight, but darn difficult to fire up the computer.

How do you use the printed word? That means ink on paper – although shoving symbols together on your computer screen (or phone) is sort of using the power of the printed word. So, maybe I must admit defeat that a 600-year-old process that changed the world is as archaic as hieroglyphics painted on papyrus. But hey, theatre buddy, some of those papyri have survived thousands of years, and give us a glimpse of ancient cultures.

In the meantime, however you choose to communicate, keep telling your friends and yet-to-meet friends to pass on the word. “Wrong Turn at Lungfish.” Check out City Speaks. Thanks to the invention of the printing press, the masses had the opportunity to be educated in the art of reading and writing. Pass it on. Thanks.

melminty@telus.net

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