Entertainment

Musical offers emotional journey

Josiah George, front centre, who plays Will, sings with the men’s chorus during the South Island Musical Theatre Society’s presentation of Oklahoma. The musical shows at the Nanaimo Port Theatre Saturday (March 2) at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday (March 3) at 2 p.m. - Jan de Bree Photo
Josiah George, front centre, who plays Will, sings with the men’s chorus during the South Island Musical Theatre Society’s presentation of Oklahoma. The musical shows at the Nanaimo Port Theatre Saturday (March 2) at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday (March 3) at 2 p.m.
— image credit: Jan de Bree Photo

A love triangle turns deadly in the musical tale Oklahoma.

Set at the turn of the century, in wide-open country where cattlemen and farmers are fighting over water rights, the musical follows the rivalry between Curley and Judd and their love of Laurey.

Oklahoma comes to the Port Theatre for two performances Saturday (March 2) 7:30 p.m. and Sunday (March 3) 2 p.m.

It takes the audience on a trip into both the best and darkest aspects of relationships.

The musical, presented by The South Island Musical Theatre Society, offers an emotional journey. The love triangle is only one of the relationships that form the core of the musical.

“In Oklahoma there isn’t one star, all the leads are equally as powerful,” said Cathy Schmidt, president of the society.

Dave Ehle plays Judd in the production. It’s the first time he’s acted on stage.

“He does an amazing job. He plays the character very well,” she said, adding that Judd has many emotions ranging from confused, to hurt, to angry.

His darkness is explored in many ways, including a dream sequence.

In one scene Laurey, played by Sarah Lane, falls asleep and enters a dream world. She starts by having an “amazing dream” said Schmidt. Laurey is having a fantastic time with a person she believes to be Curley, played by Graham Brockley, but it changes and she is instead with Judd.

“Her dream turns into a nightmare. It ends on a bit of a dark note,” said Schmidt. “Judd does everything wrong and hurts people and scares people.”

Emotions are heightened with the addition of a live orchestra, conducted by Hilary Coupland.

“The music itself is amazing. It truly is what live musical theatre is all about,” said Schmidt, about the addition of the orchestra instead of actors singing along to canned music.

She said at first it’s challenging for both the actors and the orchestra to mesh.

During initial rehearsals the orchestra isn’t present but when it is brought in later Schmidt said you can see the impact in the actor’s eyes during those first songs sung together.

Tickets are $32/$29 members and $5 for eyeGO high school students. They’re available by calling 250-754-8550, at the Port Theatre box office, or online at www.porttheatre.com.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com

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