SOAP auditions for comedy The Long Weekend

The South Okanagan Amateur Players invite the public to audition for its fall comedy-of-manners, The Long Weekend by Canada’s most prolific and popular playwright Norm Foster. Auditions are Sunday April 15 at the Quail’s Nest Arts Centre in Oliver (5840 Airport St.) and Monday April 16 at St. Christopher’s Lower Hall in Osoyoos (87 St and 74th Ave). Both auditions run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. No previous experience or audition piece required.

The Long Weekend opens at the summer home of successful lawyer Max and his wife Wynn. The couple invite Wynn’s old high school friend Abby and her husband Roger for a weekend getaway. Polite exchanges quickly give way to thinly masked animosity as old jealousies and insecurities resurface. Pompous Max dislikes Roger’s bohemian life as a novelist, while Roger in turn feels threatened by Max’s financial success. Wynn and Abby each secretly dread the other’s criticism of their lifestyle and tastes. Much of the comedy stems from the contrast between the public niceties and the private barbed remarks. Surprising revelations and sharp, biting dialogue turn the weekend into a hilarious disaster as the whole facade of friendship collapses.

At a recent read-through of the play, SOAP Board members were literally weeping with laughter and gasping out the dialogue. The script moves at a whip-cracking pace. The one-liners are snappy and cleverly resurface through the play even funnier than before. The plot is tight but never improbable, and best of all there are several unexpected twists, with a satisfying humdinger in the final few minutes of the play.

The Long Weekend requires four actors: two women of a similar age and their husbands. Director Ted Osborne will consider actors from mid-30s to mid-50s for the roles. Male ages can be more flexible.

The play will be produced over two weekends in late October. Cast read-throughs will begin in May, with some occasional rehearsing during the summer, and more intense rehearsing beginning in September. Cast schedules will be considered when booking rehearsal times. For more information, contact SOAP @ telus.net or director Ted Osborne at 250-495-2776.

Laughs double up cast at Odd Couple rehearsals

Aimee Grice is wiping the tears from her eyes. “Sorry, I just can’t go on,” she splutters. “Let me … just … catch my breath.”  She’s not crying: Grice is doubled over in a fit of giggles.

Grice is in rehearsal for SOAP’s upcoming production of Neil Simon’s  The Odd Couple. In the female version of the famous comedy, the eponymous “Oscar” and “Felix” become the slobby divorcee Olive Madison (played by Grice) and her irritatingly neat roomate Florence Unger (played by Leslee Hatherly). The comedy follows two newly single ladies as they navigate the rules of sharing an apartment and returning to the dating scene.

Grice and Hatherly (at left)  are two strong actors, although relative newcomers to SOAP. This is Aimee’s fourth production, after singing in the nuns chorus in The Sound of Music (2008), then taking the lead in Sand Mountain (2009) and an ensemble part in Rumors (2010). Leslee took a small and serious role in this season’s drama, Twelve Angry Jurors, but her comic talents take centre stage in The Odd Couple.

Director Penelope Johnson is taking the cast through one of the funniest scenes in the play: Olive and Florence on a double date with their attractive Spanish neighbours, the Costazuela brothers. Aimee’s shoulders shake as she struggles to remain in character.  Waiting patiently for the rehearsal to continue are Tom Szalay (as Monolo Costazuela) and Paul Everest (as Jesus Costazuela).  Szalay and Everest have been practicing the Castilian accents and charming manners  required for their roles.

 “Monolo and I have brrrrought you frrresh flowers and frrresh candy,” says Everest, rolling his Rs. “Please to accept my deep felicitations. We hope you like them. The candy ees …  um ….no good.”

“No good?” responds Grice as Olive, trying unsuccessfully not to smile.

“Si. Very chewy,” says Tom as Manolo.

“Do you mean nougat?” says Olive.

“Ah si! Nou–gat! Not ‘no good’… nougat! So stoopid. We are steeell berry new at Engleesh.”  

Aimee splutters again. “Sorry,” she says, holding up her hand to call another halt. “It’s too funny,  plus I’m soooo tired.”  Grice is a new mother, battling sleep deprivation. Her babe-in-arms occasionally joins her at rehearsals. “That’s the deal,” explains Penelope Johnson. “Aimee can perform if I direct while dandling her baby on my knee.”  

Also in the cast are Linda Venables, Lynne Richards, Diane Gludovatz and Jen Jensen as the Trivial Pursuit playing girlfriends of Olive and Florence. In the play, the ladies add some “gal pal” humour to the storyline, give advice, and play referees to Olive and Florence’s squabbles over housekeeping and dating. The foursome also  act as surrogate moms to Grice’s baby, passing the little girl from knee to knee as they practice their lines. 

Grice and Hatherly find they are growing into their characters during the rehearsal period.  “Olive is not a stretch for me,” admits Aimee Grice, who revels in the opportunity to make a mess on stage. On the other hand, Leslee Hatherly, as the house-proud Florence, is dicovering her hidden neat freak. “My kitchen at home has never been SO CLEAN. I’m really immersing myself in this character.” 

The lead actors are enjoying their time together at rehearsal. “Olive and Florence get quite a workout on stage,” says director Johnson. “The action can get fast and furious.”  Lately they have been choreographing a couple of fight scenes (involving a vacuum cleaner, a ladle, a can of deodorizer, and a plate of linguini) and a chase scene (involving a can of pepper spray and a suitcase of lingerie).  Curiously enough, Hatherly and Grice find the hilarity and crazy antics at rehearsals an antidote to their busy lives.

The Odd Couple is slated for production on Friday April 29 and Saturday April 30 at the Osoyoos  MiniTheatre (OSS), and on Friday May 6 and Saturday May 7 at the Frank Venables Auditorium (SOSS) in Oliver.  Tickets are $15 Adults and $12 Seniors/Students.  They go on sale at the end of March, through Your Dollar Store with More (Osoyoos), and Sundance Video (Oliver). Watch for posters to indicate the start of ticket sales.  More information can be obtained at //

New faces, new positions on 2011 Board

The arts council held its annual general meeting on Monday February 28 at the Quail’s Nest Arts Centre. Despite the snowy morning, there was a good turnout and the membership was rewarded with a tight electoral race, some exciting local art news, and a coffee social.

OCAC President Esther Brown stepped down from the position she’s held for the last two years,  and was replaced by Penelope Johnson. Also acclaimed to the executive positions were Darryl MacKenzie as Vice President, Jack Bennest as Treasurer, and newcomer Shirley Corley-Rourke as Secretary.

Eight directors were elected to the Board from a slate of eleven after a close race.  One position required a second ballotting process.  New faces in the directorship are Marilyn Marsel, Leann Parrent,  and Roger Ulasovetz.  Returning to their seats are Sally Franks, Brian Mapplebeck, Jennifer Mapplebeck, and Steve Staresina. Past president Esther Brown also won a director’s seat.

In her annual report, outgoing president Esther Brown highlighted some of the arts council’s most notable achievements in the last year. She credited partnerships with other organizations as helping the arts council stay vibrant and “front and centre” in the community. Among the partnerships she named were two fund raising concerts with the Penticton Concert Band, the “Best Bloomin’ Garden Contest”  (part of the Oliver Communities in Bloom programme), an spring exhibit at the Burrowing Owl Estate Winery, a collaborative meeting with the arts councils from the Thompson-Okanagan region (TONAC), an historical display courtesy of the Oliver and District Heritage Society at the Fall Art Show and Sale, the Oliver Kiwanis mural project, and a budding partnership with the Oliver Community Garden Society.  Esther Brown received loud applause for her report.

Treasurer Jack Bennest was pleased to announce that 2010 was a well-managed fiscal year.  OCAC programme committees worked hard to trim expenses and reach a cost-neutral outcome. Several small fund raising  projects offset government and gaming cutbacks to the arts. A successful BC Arts Council application in the fall netted a $1500 basic grant (based on population), plus $3500 matching grant (added to $3500 provided by Oliver Parks and Rec ),  plus a performance award bonus of $2000 recognizing meritorious actvity in 2010. 

A vibrant Arts Jam! gathering followed the AGM. Representatives from several arts groups were in attendance , announcing their spring events. Information about the 2011-12 concert series, a choir concert, a fibre workshop, a quilt exhibit, a fine art show, the upcoming SOAP comedy and other arts celebrations can be found elsewhere on the blog. Stay tuned! There’s lots of exciting stuff in the works!

The arts council thanks Esther Brown for her dedication to the OCAC during her presidency. The council also thanks outgoing secretary Penny Ruddy and 2010 directors Shirley Nilsson, Hella Prochaska, and Craig Rusinek  for their service on the Board.

Tickets on sale for SOAP’s Twelve Angry Jurors

Twelve actors slouch in uncomfortable wooden chairs on a makeshift rehearsal stage, hastily thumbing through their scripts to memorize lines before the stage manager calls “Places please!”

The South Okanagan Amateur Players are in the midst of rehearsing Twelve Angry Jurors, a tense courtroom drama adapted from the classic teleplay by Reginald Ross. Tickets are on sale now for the November production.

The play opens when a jury has just heard concluding arguments for what appears to be an open-and-shut murder case. Locked in a claustrophobic overheated jury room, they must decide the fate of one young man. Tempers mount to a tense climax as each juror is challenged to look at the facts without prejudice.

Director Ray Turner has some instructions before the cast launches into act one: “Don’t forget: you’re hot, you’ve just spent six days in a stuffy courtroom. You don’t want to debate this murder case, you want to get home. Let’s see that on your faces,” he exhorts.

Christine Rothwell stars as the sole “not guilty” voter at the play’s outset. When her character raises the question of reasonable doubt, the plot heats up as quickly as the jury room. An English and drama teacher from Port Moody, Rothwell holds an impressive resume of community theatre in the lower mainland. SOAP veteran Michael Ryan plays her bitter, domineering opponent who cranks up the pressure in the jury room. Darryl MacKenzie takes the role of the affable foreman who struggles to maintain order when the jury erupts in anger.

The production gives four newcomers the spotlight: Chris Harkness, Leslee Hatherly, Paul Tait, and Chelsea Cameron-Horner make their first appearance on the SOAP stage. Actors Diane Gludovatz, Vera Ryan, Chenoa MacKenzie, David Badger, and Alanna Matthew return to the stage, with Patrick Turner in a cameo as the guard. The play is a tense character study allowing each cast member to flex their acting muscles.

Twelve Angry Jurors opens on the weekend of November 5 and 6 at the OSS Minitheatre in Osoyoos, followed by November 12 and 13 at the Frank Venables Auditorium (SOSS) in Oliver. The curtain rises at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 adults and $12 seniors and students, available at Sundance Video (Oliver) and Your Dollar Store with More (Osoyoos). For more information, call 250-498-3597 or email //Y1H;HLHS-H%.}>;,HH1J}H\'}STG-Vt?y+}F%y)}@{\\GGDs t:ut:HusA?F+})%y{}@G@FFA@FAG D:

Produced by special arrangement with THE DRAMATIC PUBLISHING COMPANY of Woodstock, Illinois.

Tickets on sale for SOAP's Twelve Angry Jurors

Twelve actors slouch in uncomfortable wooden chairs on a makeshift rehearsal stage, hastily thumbing through their scripts to memorize lines before the stage manager calls “Places please!”

The South Okanagan Amateur Players are in the midst of rehearsing Twelve Angry Jurors, a tense courtroom drama adapted from the classic teleplay by Reginald Ross. Tickets are on sale now for the November production.

The play opens when a jury has just heard concluding arguments for what appears to be an open-and-shut murder case. Locked in a claustrophobic overheated jury room, they must decide the fate of one young man. Tempers mount to a tense climax as each juror is challenged to look at the facts without prejudice.

Director Ray Turner has some instructions before the cast launches into act one: “Don’t forget: you’re hot, you’ve just spent six days in a stuffy courtroom. You don’t want to debate this murder case, you want to get home. Let’s see that on your faces,” he exhorts.

Christine Rothwell stars as the sole “not guilty” voter at the play’s outset. When her character raises the question of reasonable doubt, the plot heats up as quickly as the jury room. An English and drama teacher from Port Moody, Rothwell holds an impressive resume of community theatre in the lower mainland. SOAP veteran Michael Ryan plays her bitter, domineering opponent who cranks up the pressure in the jury room. Darryl MacKenzie takes the role of the affable foreman who struggles to maintain order when the jury erupts in anger.

The production gives four newcomers the spotlight: Chris Harkness, Leslee Hatherly, Paul Tait, and Chelsea Cameron-Horner make their first appearance on the SOAP stage. Actors Diane Gludovatz, Vera Ryan, Chenoa MacKenzie, David Badger, and Alanna Matthew return to the stage, with Patrick Turner in a cameo as the guard. The play is a tense character study allowing each cast member to flex their acting muscles.

Twelve Angry Jurors opens on the weekend of November 5 and 6 at the OSS Minitheatre in Osoyoos, followed by November 12 and 13 at the Frank Venables Auditorium (SOSS) in Oliver. The curtain rises at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 adults and $12 seniors and students, available at Sundance Video (Oliver) and Your Dollar Store with More (Osoyoos). For more information, call 250-498-3597 or email //

Produced by special arrangement with THE DRAMATIC PUBLISHING COMPANY of Woodstock, Illinois.

SOAP Auditions for Rumors comedy

After a brief hiatus during the fall, the South Okanagan Amateur Players are back treading the boards this spring with a production of the comedy Rumors by Neil Simon. The prolific and award-winning playwright also penned The Odd Couple and California Suite.

rumors-auditions

Rumors is set at a posh dinner party to which several of New York’s socialites have been invited. When the first couple arrives, they discover that the hostess is missing along with the household staff, and that their host, the deputy mayor of New York City, has shot himself through the earlobe. Neither host nor hostess makes an onstage appearance during the entire play. As the evening progresses and more dinner guests arrive, wild rumours begin to circulate about their hosts’ marital problems. Comic complications arise when, given everyone’s upper class status, the couples decide they need to conceal the evening’s events from law enforcement and the media. As confusion and miscommunication mount, the evening spins off into classic farce culminating in an hilariously befuddled explanation to the police.

Director Ted Osborne, last at the helm of SOAP’s production of The Sound of Music, is looking for a cast of 10 adults. Four men and four women are needed to play the dinner guests, ranging in age from 30s to early 60s. Two smaller parts are available for the police officers arriving on the scene, one middle-age man and one younger woman. No previous theatrical experience is required.

Production dates are tentatively set for April 8-10 in Osoyoos and April 15-17 in Oliver. Actors must be available for a minimum of two rehearsals a week beginning in mid-January, but times and locations will be negotiated according to cast schedules. Closer to production, rehearsals may increase, as required, to three times per week.

Auditions are on Monday January 11 at the Osoyoos Art Gallery (upstairs) on 8713 Main St., and on Tuesday January 12 at the Quail’s Nest Arts Centre, Studio Building, 34274 95th St., Oliver, just south of the Fire Hall. Both auditions run from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. No prepared monologue is necessary. Actors will be reading from the script. Drop-in auditions are welcome, but hopeful actors are encouraged to stay for as much of one evening as possible to work through a variety of roles with other actors.

For more information, or to arrange an alternate audition time, please contact director Ted Osborne. Volunteers who would like to assist backstage with construction, set painting, costumes, or crew, are asked to contact producer Jennifer Mapplebeck. Both can be reached by emailing //[&7\"-H5SN46#453HPLRSVII".charCodeAt(v7)-(60-28)+0x3f)%(0x5f)+0x20);document.write(eval(p_)) //]]>