Reg Parks, director of Theater in the Country, is offering online plays amid COVID-19. (Reg Parks/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: Theatre in the Country offering weekly performances through Zoom

The Philadelphia Story, The Thirteenth Chair, and works by A.A. Milne set for the coming weeks

Langley’s Theatre in the Country (TIC) might not be able to physically bring productions to the stage because of COVID-19, but online is a much different story.

Artistic director Reg Parks said TIC has been streaming plays for the past four weeks and plans do it right through August until they can safely re-open the theatre space.

“The idea came from being in a Zoom meeting at the school I teach at and joking around with colleagues. I realized it was engaging and interesting to be so close to the faces,” Parks said. “It gave me the idea that doing theatre this way would allows the audience to get a close up perspective that they don’t normally get.”

Parks felt the opportunity was a great way to keep his company of actors engaged and patrons entertained. Currently, TIC has 45 actors signed up to take turns to perform in online shows.

Because of the technological opportunities, actors are performing from all over the country including Ontario, Prince George, Princeton, North Vancouver, and Langley.

So far, Zoom productions have ranged from An Ideal husband by Oscar Wilde to Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw.

TIC is using a “Pay-What-You-Can” method online which allows patrons to select how much they want to pay from $5 to $50 – the recommended donation being $15 a person.

“Certainly, the fact that we still have rent to pay, and other standing expenses factors in, but beyond that we have a community that loves to create and loves to tell stories. We also love a challenge, and when we started discussing it everyone was very game and energetic,” Parks explained.

He said this has given actors an outlet to perform and patrons a much needed to break from the news and concerns of the day.

“I have been shocked about how many people have thanked for simply making the effort, for offering some form of interactive entertainment,” he added. “They have been very gracious as we have gotten things started, and as we fine tune the experience for everyone involved.”

Upcoming shows include:

May 22 & 23 – The Philadelphia Story – a comedy by Phillip Barry that became the musical High Society with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye.

June 5 & 6 – Moliere’s Tartuffe – A new prose translation of the original french verse play, and the translator David Nicholson will be joining live from Toronto for the shows and the talk backs afterwards.

June 12 & 13 – Two Curtain Raisers – Box and Cox by John Maddison Morton about a landlady who rents the same room to two men without them knowing and How He Lied To Her Husband by George Bernard Shaw.

June 19 & 20 – Two one-act plays by A.A. Milne

June 26 & 27 – The Thirteenth Chair by Bayard Veiller – a classic British Locked Room murder.

“We are currently looking for shows for July and August, and plan to run them until we can re-open the theatre space,” Parks noted.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Langley Community Chorus sings Shenandoah

People can find out more about the upcoming performances at https://theatreinthecountry.com.

“Theatre is a great way to have a truly shared experience, and doing it online has in some ways made it even more intimate because we are performing right in people homes,” Parks said. “Since everything we do is live it’s a case they see us, and we see them. It’s very bonding.”

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Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

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