After sitting empty for a year the Bailey Studio is finally open for business.
From Oct. 13 to 30 the Nanaimo Theatre Group presents Talking With at its home venue. It’s the NTG’s first production since staging the one-man show Every Brilliant Thing in October 2020.
“We’re really excited and still have our fingers crossed because we know how quickly things can change,” said Sheila Coultish, who is acting and co-directing the play. “But we’re thrilled to be finally, hopefully, still going to do it.”
Coultish describes Talking With, by American playwright Jane Martin, as “an eclectic collection of monologues” by eight very different women. She said the play was chosen because only one actor is on stage at a time, and four of the actors are also directing in order to keep rehearsals small.
“COVID really has dictated what we’ve selected and how we’ve gone about doing it,” Coultish said. “Several of us were familiar with the piece. We have done it before or had done some of the monologues before many years ago. It just seemed the right kind of vehicle for our times.”
Coultish performs the opening monologue, 15 Minutes, about an actress who is having self-doubts about performing. Among the monologues she’s directing are French Fries, featuring actress Pat Donaldson as a woman who spends most of her time at McDonald’s, and Handler, starring actress Sheila Fremont-Male as an Appalachian snake handler experiencing a crisis of faith.
Fremont-Male is also one of the co-directors. She said work has been done to make the disparate monologues flow together visually.
“You want something that knits the entire show together so that it doesn’t look like talent night at the Bailey … because the pieces are all quite different,” she said. “There isn’t a common theme other than it’s all women and off-beat.”
Donaldson is another co-director, albeit a “neophyte.” She said it’s “bloody marvelous” to finally be able to put on a show and viewers are “thrilled” to get to watch live theatre.
“I’m excited to be onstage again, and that’s wonderful,” she said. “But when I tell people there’s going to be a play they say, ‘Oh my God I’m so excited. I’m going to phone up my friends and get a party together.’”
WHAT’S ON … Nanaimo Theatre Group presents Talking With at the Bailey Studio, 2373 Rosstown Rd., from Oct. 13 to 16, 20 to 23 and 27 to 30 at 8 p.m., Oct. 17 and 24 at 2 p.m. Tickets $20, available here. COVID-19 measures in place.