“Elf” on the move to Venables

SOAP Theatre’s Christmas production, Bob’s Your Elf, by Canadian playwright Norm Foster, brings both new and familiar talent from Oliver and Osoyoos to the Venables stage starting November 29.

Norm Foster, an Officer of the Order of Canada, is considered Canada’s most produced playwright. An extremely prolific writer, Foster has had more than fifty plays produced on professional stages. Other well-known plays of his that have been produced by SOAP in the past include The Melville BoysThe Long Weekend and Old Love. Frequently compared to American playwright Neil Simon, Foster pens plays that are known for their humour, accessibility, and insight into the everyday tribulations of life.

Seasoned director, Denny Kaulback (pictured) is piloting his first production since moving to Oliver from Revelstoke two years ago.  He tells us that “In today’s social climate, with division and discord coming from all directions, it is theatre’s role to provide essential relief from tension and to support the ideal of tolerance and acceptance.  This is Bob’s lesson. Bob is a stubborn elf, set in his ways, who is sent by Santa to learn co-operation, team spirit, and how a group of individuals can accomplish great things if they all pull together.” Denny is ably assisted by Assistant Director, Lyn Kaulback, whom some will remembered from her roll in SOAP’s 2018 production of Old Love, also by Norm Foster.

New actor, Joe Rupcich, takes on the role of Bob, the ornery elf who is ‘bumming out’ the rest of the North Pole crew. What can Santa (Bertie Barens) do to teach Bob a lesson about compassion and cooperation? How about exile in the small Canadian town of Thithleville to help a less-than-competent group of thespians stage their Christmas play that needs some serious work? Bob soon finds himself among a strange assortment of defective, home-town characters, starting with an officious stage manager, Les Banter (Connie Mythen) and an exasperated show director, Gordon Ford (Nathan Linders). Add in a couple of Thithleville actors with their own baggage, Fiona Putzle (Donna Macbeth) and Amber Faircastle (Chelsea Cameron-Horner), and we get a perfect teaching opportunity for Bob!

Can Bob save the Thithleville Thespians from pending theatrical disaster? Can he learn his lesson about cooperation and compassion? ​There will be laughs, silliness, confusion and some tender moments before we know the answers in time for Santa’s big night.

Bob and the crew are supported by the SOAP Bubbles, a children’s Christmas choir put together by Nathan Linders specially for this performance! “It is a great joy to see youngsters come out for theatre; and maybe, just maybe, we will see some of them in future plays,” observes Director Kaulback.

“It takes a great deal of talent, hard work and commitment to bring a theater play to production,” adds recent SOAP recruit and show producer, Clem Jones. “I am proud to present this Christmas production and I would like to thank our cast and crew, along with all our sponsors and volunteers and the business folks who allowed us to place our posters in their business windows.”

Bob’s Your Elf plays five performances at the Frank Venables Theatre in Oliver: Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:00 pm from November 29 through December 7, plus a 2:00 pm matinee on Sunday, December 1.  Reserved seating tickets are available online at www.venablestheatre.ca, at the Ticket Office (6100 Gala Street) or by phone (250-498-1626). Some tickets are also available at Your Dollar Store With More in Osoyoos. Buy tickets early for best seat selection and for discounts off the regular, day-of-show prices.

We look forward to seeing you all at this whacky family comedy! Merry Christmas!