Judy Hipkin, Whitley Dunn and Sam Bob star in Extended Wings by local playwright Michael Armstrong. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

Nanaimo’s Western Edge Theatre starts year with new local play ‘Extended Wings’

Playwright Michael Armstrong also directed the play and designed and built the sets

Western Edge Theatre is beginning its 15th season with the premiere of a local play that examines the issue of seniors’ isolation.

Nanaimo Seniors Connect and the Nanaimo Women’s Centre approached Western Edge with the idea, and the theatre company turned to local playwright Michael Armstrong. The seniors group had interviewed a number of seniors about their lives and provided Armstrong with the transcripts to help prompt his writing.

“Basically for me the interviews provided a background and a milieu in which to write…” Armstrong said. “There were certain things from the interviews, certain incidents that people talked about that informed the writing as well, but I was also thinking about people I know.”

He said several ideas crossed his mind, including doing verbatim theatre based on the interviews, but he felt like “the most powerful thing is to tell a story.”

That story, Extended Wings, comes to the Harbour City Theatre from Oct. 26 to Nov. 4. Armstrong is also directing the production and he designed and built the set. The play follows three characters: A vigorous, independent grandmother raising her rebellious teenage granddaughter who gets a job doing chores for an elderly Indigenous man who lives alone.

“So it’s really [about] the way in which the young woman interacts with both of the older people and helps them find a path to healing and re-connection,” Armstrong said.

He said he’s heard that playwrights shouldn’t direct their own plays and that there are pros and cons.

“I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to my own work. I like being in charge of it because I have a pretty clear idea of what it is that I’m looking for,” he said. “And at the same time I’m really disappointed somebody else is not doing it because that always leads to new discoveries and new points of view.”

WHAT’S ON … Western Edge Theatre presents Extended Wings at the Harbour City Theatre. 2 p.m. shows on Oct. 28 and Nov. 4. 7:30 p.m. shows on Oct. 26, 27 and Nov. 1, 2, 3. Also at the Roxy on Gabriola on Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $24 for adults ($22 on Thursday), $20 for seniors ($18 on Thursday), $15 for students and young adults ($12 on Thursday). Available here.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Man who crushed Nanaimo RCMP cars with stolen truck gets more jail time

Majore Jackson, 34, sentenced to two more years in jail in provincial court in Nanaimo

Developers withdraw rezoning application for huge Parksville waterfront plan

IAG to create new draft after processing public feedback

B.C. Ferries wants input on what a new Horseshoe Bay terminal might look like

Ferry corporation accepting feedback on terminal re-development design concepts until Oct. 13

Nanaimo Search and Rescue to build a long-term base in Harewood

Group will sign 25-year co-management agreement for Fourth Street rec centre

Nanaimo council decides not to take away free long-term parking for disability permit holders

Councillors agree to rescind motion that had called for changes to 1993 parking bylaw

Mid Island Performing Arts Festival receives donation of 111-year-old piano

Instrument was originally owned by festival’s founder, Andrew Dunsmore

Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates try to chart a path to victory

Conservatives, NDP, Liberals set sights on votes needed to unseat Green incumbent

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

Bear killed in Kimberley after chasing girl, wreaking havoc on town

This particular brown-coloured bear has been the subject of many calls this summer; very food habituated, CO says

Most Read