MINTY: Stellar cast for rare all-male ‘Angry’ drama at Surrey theatre

Also, 'A Risky Jump' is on display in Surrey Art Gallery’s TechLab starting Jan. 21

The cast of “Twelve Angry Men” at Surrey Little Theatre.

The cast of “Twelve Angry Men” at Surrey Little Theatre.

Surrey Little Theatre is kicking off the new year with “Twelve Angry Men,” a courtroom drama based on the movie screenplay written by Reginald Rose. It’s a classic, and fairly difficult to cast with an all-male cast of characters.

Community theatre of any genre is always in need of men. It seems unfair that the ladies have to compete with large numbers of auditioners, while men – well, men are in greater demand and less supply. So I was a bit surprised when SLT decided to present this particular play. It screams for more than competent amateur actors.

The cast is stellar: Pat McDermott, Harry Pering, Scott A. McGillivray, Simon Challenger, Conor Brand, David Carroll, Christian Bower, Mike Busswood, Ken Cross, Andrew Wood, Tim Driscoll and Aaron Elliott.

See? Stellar!

The gripping story follows the deliberations of a New York City jury tasked with determining the verdict in a murder case, in which a young man is accused of killing his father and faces the death penalty if found guilty. These dozen nameless men find themselves in the role of potential executioner, but first they must face themselves, their biases and their own sense of justice. High drama. I can’t wait to see this one, for sure.

Show dates are from Jan. 26 to Feb. 25, Thursday through Saturday, with some Sunday matinees. Understandably, some shows are already sold out. Reserve your tickets now via email (reservations@surreylittletheatre.com), and visit Surreylittletheatre.com for more details.

While I love community theatre, there is always the option of trekking to Vancouver to view a professional show, meaning paid actors, directors, costumers and crew. Of course, the ticket price goes up when you have to pay all these people, but here is one you might like, especially if you are a Royals watcher.

Arts Club Theatre Company presents “The Audience,” by Peter Morgan, at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage on Granville Street from Jan. 26 to Feb. 26. Tickets start at $29, inclusive of taxes and fees. For show times and other info, call 604-687-1644 or visit Artsclub.com.

“The Audience” is a 2013 stage adaptation of the 2006 film, “The Queen,” which starred Helen Mirren. The international success of “The Audience” has swept stages across Europe and North America as Morgan reworked the concept into the 2015 miniseries, “The Crown,” for Netflix. So, a popular topic.

We follow the Queen (played by Anna Galvin, pictured) with her weekly meeting, or “audience,” with each of her 12 prime ministers. Morgan’s imaginary glimpses into these tête-à-têtes provide a droll and fascinating portrayal of a lioness of history – one who, over the span of six decades, transforms from an uncertain young monarch into the revered figurehead of today. If you just can’t get enough of the Royals, you will definitely want to see this stage production.

It is said that art imitates life. Visual artist Scott Billings uses cutting-edge film technology to reveal the split-second transition everyone experiences every day – from sleep to waking. His video installation “A Risky Jump” is on display in Surrey Art Gallery’s TechLab from Jan. 21 to March 19.

Seven minutes in length, “A Risky Jump” begins with the artist shown curled up and sleeping on his studio floor. The floor is actually a trap door that gives way, jolting Billings awake. The viewer watches his contorted facial expressions and slow-motion free-fall from the studio floor, now above him, to the crash pads below. Billings falls back asleep and the video repeats itself. We transition from dream to reality – or do we? I find this is an intriguing concept. Put it on your must-see list. You do visit the Surrey Arts Centre at least once a month anyway, don’t you?

(COLUMN CONTINUES BELOW PHOTO)

Also at the gallery, during the same time period, are fantastic clay creatures by artist Don Hutchinson. The exhibit is called “From Form to Fantasy.” It sounds like Hutchinson likes to delve into the native earth for clay he uses to create functional but fantasy-like mugs, bowls, carafes and platters. Oh please, order me a whole place setting. I have a neighbour who has chairs made of driftwood. They look like people sitting. Functional, but fantastic. Kinda makes that waking up moment of the day more interesting.

Unlike most potters, Hutchinson sources his materials himself. In 1980, he won a Canada Council grant to research raw minerals in British Columbia for glazes. This work led to a publication of a training manual called “Processing Minerals for Ceramic Glazes: A Potters Journal,” which has been used by ceramic artists across Canada, England, South Africa, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Hutchinson taught at Langara College for three decades where he influenced many emerging young artists. Hutchinson received a Surrey Civic Treasure award in 2014. He officially retired from pottery two years ago and is now taking up drawing from where he lives in White Rock.

Fantasy and functional. Words to live by, for sure.

melminty@telus.net

 

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