Shuswap Theatre presents Welfarewell Feb. 25 to 28 and March 3 to 5. Friday and Saturday shows are at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday shows at 1:30 p.m.
Esmerelda Quipp is in a dark place in Shuswap Theatre’s production of Welfarewell.
Her power has been cut off and her beloved cat has died.
Unable to afford food, let alone the cost to have her cat cremated, she grabs a shovel, the cat and heads for the back yard.
She has barely begun when in swaggers her cigar-chomping landlord who, in a most obnoxious way, tells her she is breaking the law, before slinking off to rat her out to police.
Held in the local lockup overnight, Esmerelda discovers a cure for loneliness and hunger.
Now she just has to figure out how to remain a part of the community frequented by murderers and ladies of the night – and ever-so-nice officials.
The very talented Hilary Brown is brilliant in the lead role that includes over-the-top outbursts of Shakespeare, and with good reason – her performance record is long, beginning in her native England where she was involved from a very early age.
She was part of the theatre scene for more than 30 years and began her Shuswap Theatre “career” playing Vileda Scrunge in the recent Christmas pantomime.
Welfarewell is a hilarious take on the very sober reality for far too many seniors.
“Esmerelda has been a challenge and I have needed great support from the cast and crew as well as a friend of mine spending hours helping me learn the part,” she declares in her program notes.
“Poverty and loneliness are big factors in the health of older people and that is why my husband and I have been a part of setting up the Seniors’ Resource Centre for South Shuswap.”
Cellmates Chelsea Vetter, Joyce Bradley and Keren Huyter are excellent in their jail cell roles, as is Nedine Scott as a jail official and Kent Newton as a very frustrated lawyer.
Evelyn Birch has done a great job directing 17 actors, many of them bit players who flavour the production in their mini roles.
In Welfarewell, Pamela (Cat) Delaney, a widely published Canadian journalist, humourist and award-winning poet and playwright, has created a widely appealing, poignant play for our times.
And Shuswap Theatre has done a fine job with the cast and crew that numbers more than 45 both backstage and front of house.
Welfarewell plays out Feb. 25 to 28, and March 3 to 5. Thursday, Friday and Saturday shows are at 7:30 p.m. and a Sunday matinee at 1:30 p.m. Thursday Feb. 25 and March 3 are Pay What You Can – cash only at the door. Tickets for all other performances are available at Intwined Fibre Arts, online at shuswaptheatre.com or at the door an hour before the performance.
In other Shuswap Theatre news, auditions for I Had a Job I Liked Once take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, Feb. 29 and Tuesday, March 1. Needed are three males, aged 30 to 60, one male 16 to 22 and one female 16 to 22.
Written by Guy Vanderhaeghe and directed by Marcus Smith, I Had a Job I Liked Once will run April 29 to May 14 and is Shuswap Theatre’s entry in the Okanagan Zone Drama Festival on May 27.
For more information or a copy of the script, contact Marcus at 250-803-6819.
The theatre is again offering a free workshop for people who want to know about all the jobs and steps that go into producing a play from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 5.
Theatre 101 starts with play selection through set design, costumes, directing, acting, etc. right up until closing night.
For more information or to register for the workshop, call Julia at 250-833-1496.