Vancouver Island actresses star in Western Edge Theatre’s When I’m 64

NANAIMO- Western Edge Theatre's play When I'm 64 premieres Friday (Sept. 23) at Harbour City theatre.

Change is on the horizon for six Vancouver Island women in their 60s.

Each one is facing her own set of challenges or new experiences.

Trish is a breast cancer survivor.

Lotus is a self-employed hippie who loves self-development courses.

Joan is a shut-in widow with a secret story she’s never told her daughter.

Sonja is trying out Internet dating for the first time in her life.

Alexandra is a big-city executive who is determined to even the score on her cheating husband.

And a homeless woman faces a difficult situation when her shelter in a tent city is about to be destroyed.

The women’s lives come to life onstage during the production of When I’m 64, presented by Western Edge Theatre.

The play stars Vancouver Island actresses Barbara Christofferson, Jennifer Feenan, Judy Hipkin, Paulette McCarthy, Clarice McCord and Lorna McLellan.

The play was written by Comox’s Steve Hill.

He said as a man he had some trepidation about creating a play that speaks for women, as there is some sensitivity around men speaking for women. He tried to create an authentic voice for situations older women experience in their lives.

He did several focus groups with the help of friends with his name absent from the script to ensure he was creating an authentic voice for women.

One reason he chose to focus on older characters is because he noticed there were very few roles for older women in theatre.

“Their voices begin to disappear from theatre,” he said.

He was inspired to write the play because he knew or heard of women with amazing lives.

“I’ve listened to so many older women who have been very courageous and resilient in how they have faced difficult situations,” said Hill.

He has been working on the script since 2011. Over the last eight months, the play has undergone changes. With the help of Frank Moher, who is directing the play, and the actresses, several new scenes have been written, and characters have been enhanced. Hill said the role of the homeless woman in the play has greatly increased.

“The last eight or nine months has been really significant in how it has grown,” said Hill.

When I’m 64 premieres in Nanaimo Friday (Sept. 23) at 7:30 p.m. at Harbour City Theatre, located at 25 Victoria Rd.

For more information about the play or Western Edge Theatre’s upcoming season, please go to http://westernedge.org.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com