Rick Harmon (associate director/producer) and Candace Radcliffe (artistic director/producer) at Beach House Theatre’s temporary outdoor stage at Crescent Beach. (File photo)

THEATRE

‘Hopeful’ theatre company auditions actors by video for summer shows in Surrey

Beach House Theatre promises ‘love, laughter and happily ever after’ on stage at Crescent Beach

Beach House Theatre has turned to video auditions to cast actors for one of the company’s two outdoor shows in South Surrey this summer.

Auditions for a production of Carlo Goldoni’s The Servant of Two Masters were held in early March, prior to calls for “social distancing” during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Planned for March 29 were auditions for Debbie Patterson’s kid-friendly play Magical Mystery Munsch, based on books by Robert Munsch, but actors must now submit video for a chance to play one of those parts.

Details are posted to beachhousetheatre.org, where the company’s 2020 shows were announced a few weeks ago.

“It’s going to be a summer of love, laughter and happily ever after,” says a message posted to the website. “Our intrepid Beach House team is in full swing preparing for this frothy and delightful season of theatre under the sun and under the stars at Blackie Spit in beautiful Crescent Beach in August, 2020.”

Reached Wednesday (March 25), Beach House artistic director Candace Radcliffe said the company continues to plan for its annual summer productions.

“We’re trying to stay as hopeful as we can, and we’re watching the situation very, very closely obviously,” Radcliffe said. “We’ll be following what the provincial, federal health recommendations are, but we’re going to watch the situation until around the first weekend of May.

“So our team is working behind the scenes,” she continued. “Everyone’s isolated and working from home, but we’re doing all our planning in the great, great hope that maybe we’ll be able to go forward with our shows, and we’ll make the decision of whether to go forward in that first week of May.”

If the shows are a go, Radcliffe said tickets would go on sale in June, as previously planned. For details, email tickets@beachhousetheatre.org or call the Beach House box office, 604-831-7853.

“It seems really far out right now, and like for everyone, with everything, it’s up in the air at this point. Our first consideration is safety, and we work from there.

“We’re finishing up casting (for The Servant of Two Masters), with a couple more roles to cast, and those are being done by video audition as well. We’re doing Facetime or Zoom meetings, phone calls, and we’re working like that for now.”

This will be the ninth year of Beach House Theatre productions.

(Story continues below video from 2018)

The Servant of Two Masters, adapted by Tracy Young and Oded Gross, promises “classic commedia with a modern twist” for a run from Aug. 11-16, in evening performances starting at 8 p.m., while the “children’s stories and Canadiana” of Magical Mystery Munsch will hit the stage for 11 a.m. daytime performances from Aug. 12-15.

The Servant of Two Masters, a hit at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, is “the hilarious story of the lovable Truffaldino, an always hungry servant who schemes to secretly serve two masters at once in hopes of doubling his wages and his meals,” says a show advisory. “The story is all mischief and mayhem, lost love, disguises, mysterious murder plots, pen fights and more.

“In the great tradition of Italian comedy, this slapstick romp is full of zany, contemporary humour. Our production will be full of Fellini flare, and the exaggerated colours, costumes and make up styles of the early 1960s. For the first time at Beach House our show will feature a few comic musical numbers and is sure to be another big hit with our audiences.”

The show comes with a warning for “some sexual references and bawdy jokes. Parental guidance is suggested and we recommend the show only for well-prepared children ages 12 and up.”

Meantime, the Ian Harmon-directed Magical Mystery Munsch matinee is designed for young audiences, with three actors playing multiple character roles with a large emphasis on physical comedy.

“Mr. Kite and his assistants are leading a tour through the brain of Robert Munsch in this exciting and colourful adventure through classic Munsch stories: Murmel Murmel Murmel, Look at Me, Millicent and the Wind, Roar and Mud Puddle,” a show advisory promises. “Gates will open by 10:30 a.m., the show starts at 11 a.m. and runs for about one hour followed by a question period and autograph session. There is no intermission. The concession will be open before the show with kid friendly treats. Tickets are required for everyone 18 months and older.”

Radcliffe said volunteers are sought to help stage the summer shows.

“Our productions would not be possible without the dozens of volunteers who dedicate their time and energy in to putting on the best show possible,” says a message on the company website. “Whether you are looking for a short or long-term commitment, we would love to have you.” To get involved, email Claire at volunteer@beachhousetheatre.org or visit beachhousetheatre.org/contact.

• In Vancouver, Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) has announced the cancellation of its summer 2020 season of the plays Hello, Dolly! and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, “after considering every possible measure and eventuality.”

“These are difficult and unprecedented times,” the organization said in an email Thursday (March 26). “All of us here at TUTS send our heartfelt wishes to you and those affected by the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 virus.

“Cancellation of the 2020 productions is one way we can prioritize the safety of our audiences, artists, crews, staff, and volunteers, while supporting our city and those working on the front lines to help flatten the curve. These measures will also ensure that TUTS remains strong and healthy as an organization, returning to Malkin Bowl in 2021 with the presentation of fantastic shows that you – our beloved audience – anticipate year-over-year.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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