She Stoops to Conquer, currently playing until Nov. 18 at the Arts Club's Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, is described as a bawdy romp. This Georgian period comedy, written by Oliver Goldsmith, is directed by veteran theatre artist Dean Paul Gibson. The opening-night performance played to a robust full house, and a good time was had by all. Especially Dean Paul.
And here is the rest of the story: D.P.G. first discovered his love of live theatre at Surrey's Earl Marriott Secondary under the direction of Rick Harmon and Carol Seitz. In the (many) years since graduation, Gibson has done us proud. As a graduate of Studio 58 in Vancouver, as well as Earl Marriott in South Surrey, Gibson has been seen on stage, film and TV. So, he's not just a director.
Gibson is a very popular director; I could hardly get a hug in on opening night! He has helmed (that's theatre-speak for directing) The School for Scandal, The 39 Steps and Xanadu, among other plays, for the Arts Club. Did you see Xanadu last summer? It was simply wonderful.
So is She Stoops to Conquer. This play was first performed in 1773 and, with Gibson's sometimes quirky viewpoint, it's sure to be a hit for this season.
"I seem to have an enduring relationship with old plays, particularly the comedies," Gibson told me. "Perhaps because of my affinity for all things stylish, funny and entertaining, I felt obliged to accept the offer of shepherding this classic comedy back to the stage. With its silly situations and charismatic characters, we can again enjoy the folly of others and delight in the popular theatrical style of another time."
Enjoy we did, thanks to D.P.G.
There are some more familiar faces in this version of She Stoops to Conquer, too. Paul Kloegman, who directed the most recent production for White Rock Players (Who Walks in the Dark), appears as Sir Charles Marlow. Kloegman says he arrived in Vancouver from the U.K. "with a view to conquering the world and avoiding the rain." Gotta admire the optimism.
This is Kloegman's first appearance with Arts Club, and yet he more than 30 years of experience entertaining the public.
Watch for his Comedy Club's presentation of Christmas Nuts - that is his next project.
Christina Wells Campbell is also making her first appearance with the Arts Club in She Stoops to Conquer. Another Surreyite, Christina has delighted audiences with memorable performances with Fraser Valley Gilbert & Sullivan Society and also Theatre Under the Stars. I love her energy and fire, and hope to see more performances from her in the future.
Just for fun, and a day job, she is the tour and festival co-ordinator for Arts Club. And I think at one time I convinced her to take tap dance classes. Yes, you can do it all.
There is such a vibrancy and social energy connected to live theatre, whether amateur or professional.
Being part of the crowd and connecting with the cast, sharing the moment has its own special social ambiance. And while Arts Club productions are decidedly professional (actors do love a paying gig), community theatre can be another great experience.
Catch Me if You Can opened the season for Surrey Little Theatre on Saturday last. This delightful comedy-mystery runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings until Nov. 17. This is not the stage version of the Leonardo Dicaprio movie. I can't tell you much about the plot, because there are surprises all through the play, and director Tyler Seib wants us to keep the secret of the ending. OK, so I won't say anything about the plot. I did not figure out the ending until the ending. As the final lines say, "That's that, that'll be that and that's the end of that." And there you have it. Tickets for Catch Me if You Can are only $15; for details, call reservations at 604-5768451 or email reservations@ surreylittletheatre.com.