The cast of the Merry Andrew Players production of The Golden Fleecing or the Undermining of Sarah Sweetflower – Verna Markey, Douglas Aalseth, Ronda Thornett, Shawn Markey, Brandon Erga, Lisa Wengel and Kaliandra Fawdry (from left) – rehearse at St. Andrew’s United Church. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

New theatre group in Nanaimo stages its debut production this month

The Merry Andrew Players present ‘The Golden Fleecing or the Undermining of Sarah Sweetflower’

A new Nanaimo theatre company is putting on its inaugural production, with all proceeds going to St. Andrew’s United Church.

On Feb. 16 and 17 the Merry Andrew Players present The Golden Fleecing or the Undermining of Sarah Sweetflower, a 1980 melodrama by American playwright R. Eugene Jackson. The play takes place in an Old West Mining town during the gold rush.

Producer and director Doug MacIntyre describes melodrama as “high comedy or low farce, whichever way you look at it.”

“When I read a script, I want to be able to say, ‘I can really take those black letters off the white page and do something with them,’” he said. “That’s one of my credos: Take the word off the page and make something of them. In fact, things that are not even on the page are injected into my productions.”

MacIntyre said there challenges putting together a theatre group from scratch and he is grateful to St. Andrew’s for providing the venue and to the city for providing support.

He said members of the church congregation are helping with lighting, sewing and selling tickets, but to assemble his cast he had to look outside the church as well, asking every “warm body” he could find, “Hi, have you ever been on stage? Would you like to be on stage?”

He said the actors he found were “top-notch.”

“Darned if I didn’t get seven of the best. And some of them are experienced actors and some are not,” MacIntyre said. “I love doing that kind of work, working with the newbies and bringing them into theatre and saying, ‘Look, even if you only do this once in your life, you’ve done it and I will show you how to do it. I will take the reins.’”

One of those “newbies” is Verna Markey, who plays the gunslinging Big Bad Granny. She said she’s always wanted to act but never had the opportunity. When this one “landed in my lap,” she couldn’t refuse. She said MacIntyre has already asked her to be in another production.

“Now that we’ve practised for the length of time that we have I’m feeling like I’m getting into the role a lot more,” she said. “At first it was very strange.”

Audience interaction is import to MacIntyre, and there is a point in the play where the action will stop and someone from the audience will be sought out to play a role.

“When you get into melodrama, you can do just about anything you want,” he said.

WHAT’S ON … The Merry Andrew Players present The Golden Fleecing at St. Andrew’s United Church. Dinner theatre on Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m., matinee on Feb. 17 at 2 p.m. Tickets $28 on Feb. 16, $16 on Feb. 17. Available at 250-753-1924 or 250-327-3086.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Clippers optimistic as they put finishing touches on cup-hosting bid

Nanaimo’s junior A hockey club hopes to host RBC Cup nationals in 2020-21

VIU visual art show spans a Spectrum of art forms

Spectrum: Visual Art Major Grad Show continues until May 9 at the View Gallery

City of Nanaimo ‘100 per cent’ on board with privacy commissioner recommendations

Council satisfied with how private and confidential information will be handled moving forward

Senior sentenced in Nanaimo for sexually abusing special-needs granddaughter

73-year-old Cortes Island man will go to jail for three years

Nanaimo RCMP probe eight fires at Brechin Elementary School

Police say fires appear to have been set intentionally

Parliament Hill 4-20 organizers predict record crowd after legalization

A celebration? Yes, but organizers say concerns remain about the government’s decisions on legalization rollout

Diary of Anne Frank turned into emotional stage production

Nanaimo Theatre Group director, actors say message relevant today

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Most Read