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Naked Stage in Newton with ‘Courtship’ comedy-drama about seniors, dating, loneliness, aging

The script has moved from pandemic-days online shows to in-person viewings at two spaces in Surrey
The Naked Stage production of “Courtship” is brought to the stage by (clockwise from top left) director Bridget Browning, playwright Steve Penman and actors Larry Doan and Pat McDermott. (Photo:

Surrey’s Naked Stage Productions is back with “Courtship,” a play performed online during the pandemic and now revived for audiences in Newton this week and next, starting with three shows Friday through Sunday (Feb. 24-26) at Newton Cultural Centre.

Veteran actors Pat McDermott and Larry Doan will read the script of Steve Penman’s comedy-drama, about two elderly gentlemen — one a widower, the other married — who meet regularly at “their” bench.

The story follows Edward (played by Doan) and David (McDermott), who share observations about the world’s problems and offer sometimes humorous “solutions.” They also give real insight into loneliness, aging and relationships.

Director Bridget Browning calls the play “heartwarming and funny” — a script that “speaks to all of us of a certain age who have rejoined the dating world, while offering up the predicaments and repercussions of others who meddle in those matters.

“Larry and Pat, the two fine seasoned actors playing the roles, are a good match and portray the theme of friendship well,” Browning added. “It has been my pleasure to work with them.”

Doan is in his fifth decade of theatrical performance, and McDermott has a long history of directing and acting across Metro Vancouver.

Following the weekend run at Newton Cultural Centre, “Courtship” will be performed at Pivot Theatre’s space March 3-4, at Bethany-Newton United Church (14853 60 Ave.), in new partnership between the theatre companies.

This week, Pivot’s “Confetti” play continues Thursday through Saturday (Feb. 23-25) at Bethany-Newton.

• RELATED: In new Surrey play, woman makes ‘Confetti’ of money to shower greedy family at her funeral.

Back in 2020, Naked Stage recorded a version of “Courtship” for online broadcast on Youtube, to reach new audiences and entertain existing patrons during COVID. Filming was done in what the company called “The Garage Theatre.”

While the company name might imply an erotic happening, it’s the stage that’s naked, not the performers in Newton (or online, for that matter). Naked Stage shows don’t have movement, extensive lighting, sound systems or props. The stage is bare except for actors sitting on stools and music stands holding their scripts.

“This method has been used for decades, mainly in universities and schools,” the company notes on its website (, where show tickets can be purchased. “It also has special appeal to seniors who liken it to old-time radio, where the audience had to listen carefully to fully understand the story.”

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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