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Western Edge Theatre stages tender teen romantic dramedy as season finale

‘I and You’ will be staged at the OV Arts Centre starting March 24
Melissa Kahan and Curtis Magas share a tender moment during rehearsal of Western Edge Theatre’s latest production ‘I and You’ by Lauren Gunderson, which opens March 24 at the OV Arts Centre. (Submitted photo)

Western Edge Theatre will present “a dazzling ode to youth, life and love” as a reminder to value commonalities over differences.

Bonnie Catterson said directing Lauren Gunderson’s I and You has been something she’s wanted to do since reading the script. The theatre company’s co-artistic director, Brianna Hamilton, had intended to direct the play herself, but unexpectedly asked Catterson to step up.

“It was kind of meant to be,” Catterson said. “I’ve worked with a lot of teenagers, and I thought this would be a perfect project … [Gunderson] is a huge feminist … and just an icon.”

The play focuses on a pair of teenagers from “completely opposite worlds” who end up bonding over a homework assignment. Catterson said the characters Caroline, as portrayed by Melissa Kahan, and Anthony, as portrayed by Curtis Magas, learn to “see each other for who they really are” as they ruminate over Walt Whitman’s poem ‘Song of Myself.’

“It’s a really beautiful love story. It’s very tender, vulnerable and emotional,” the director said.

Although Catterson’s fifth production with Western Edge was already cast when she came onboard, she said the leads are an “absolute dream” and that she’s never felt more confident about a show.

While I and You delves into the heavy themes of death and grief, the director said it’s also a story about growing up and acknowledging different experiences.

“For me, this play is about the soul’s recognition of itself in another that leads to a deep, loving bond…” she said. “It’s also a statement of how all of us, as human beings, have so many more commonalities than we have differences.”

Themes of death and grief have been carried throughout Western Edge’s current season, which Catterson believes are fitting topics worth discussing during a pandemic.

“We’re all grieving in some way or another … We all went through this collective trauma and isolation, deep feelings of loneliness and grief … and I don’t think that anything is more healing than coming and sitting in a theatre and having an experience like this with a group of people, live.”

Beyond simply the romantic nature of the play, Catterson said the production holds a special place in her heart – specifically opening night. The director and her husband, who is the set designer and sound and lighting technician, met during the production of another Western Edge play 10 years ago on March 24.

I and You runs from March 24-25, 30-31 and April 1-2 at the OV Arts Centre, with showtimes at 7:30 p.m. nightly, and a matinee showing on April 2 at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at

READ MORE: Grieving family gets unexpected gift in Western Edge Theatre’s ‘emotional’ season opener

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Mandy Moraes

About the Author: Mandy Moraes

I joined Black Press Media in 2020 as a multimedia reporter for the Parksville Qualicum Beach News, and transferred to the News Bulletin in 2022
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