Every time Bonnie Catterson has been involved with a production of the Canadian play One Night Stand, something has gotten in the way.
Her first chance to act in the 1977 comedy-thriller by Winnipeg-born playwright Carol Bolt came right after finishing theatre school in Victoria. The artistic director of the Belfry Theatre offer her a small “foot-in-the-door” role, and though it was her dream, Catterson was flying to Europe in two days with plans on doing Shakespeare in London and had to turn him down.
“I said, ‘Please keep me under consideration, I’m going to come back to Canada at some point…’ but he moved on an I moved on and it never happened,” Catterson said.
A few years later the chance came again. In 2003 she auditioned for a Western Canada touring production of the play and was cast as the female lead. But the tour had its challenges.
“We arrived in Peace River, Alta. about two hours after they had a major tornado rip through their town,” Catterson said.
“And as a result our set wasn’t built and all this stuff so we had to stay awake for 48 hours building the set and doing the tech and then opening to a sold-out house.”
When Catterson moved to Nanaimo to start the Kismet Theatre Academy it was her intention to stage a production of One Night Stand; she just needed to find the right actors. The play is about a woman, Daisy, who, after being rejected by her boyfriend on her birthday, meets an intriguing stranger, Rafe, and brings him back to her apartment only to discover that all is not as it seems. Catterson cast two of her students, Tash Vincze and Blaine Nosworthy, in the leading roles.
“We’ve been trying to put this play on for three years but every single time we’ve tried to produce it something has happened either with the actors or with me or conflicts or whatever,” she said.
“So when I heard that Western Edge was [recognizing] Canada 150 and they wanted to do all Canadian plays I pitched One Night Stand to them for it because it was the first big commercial success to ever come out of Canada.”
The actors said scheduling conflicts led to the project being postponed and eventually abandoned until they were approached again this year and Nosworthy said, “We finally figured it was time.”
“This play is a beast. It’s pretty big, it’s really physical, really active, lots of high energy, lots of lines and tricky lines, too, and only two characters,” he said.
“Beause it’s such a monster you have to fully commit to it,” Vincze added.
“So if you have a bunch of things going on in life, you can’t commit to it properly. So now Blaine and I, we’re both in our personal lives in a place where we can spend the time and the energy giving it what it deserves.”
Yet bad luck befell this production as well, with Catterson spending the last few months in and out of hospital. Fortunately, the actors had been preparing for their roles for years, and with the play debuting at the Harbour City Theatre on Friday, Feb. 2, Catterson is feeling better.
“At one point I was like, ‘Oh my God, is something else happening to prevent us from doing this play?'” she said.
“And its such a good play and Nanaimo really needs to see it. But it’s all good, it’s all happening, we’re in good shape and I’m really looking forward to sharing it with the community.”
WHAT’S ON … Western Edge Theatre presents One Night Stand at the Harbour City Theatre on Feb. 2, 3, 8, 9 and 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 4 and 11 at 2 p.m. Admission for Feb. 8 is $22 for adults, $18 for those over 65 and $12 for students and those under 29. All other performances are $24 for adults, $20 for those over 65 and $15 for students and those under 29. Tickets available online at www.westernedge.org or by calling 250-816-6459.