This season, Vanderhoof’s theatre group promises relatable laughs for all Vanderhoof residents, long-time or transient, with a familiar situation: out-of-town visitor versus small community resident.
On Dec. 4 in Burrard Market Square, the Vanderhoof Community Theatre presents Canadian playwright Norm Foster’s “The Great Kooshog Lake Hollis McCauley Fishing Derby”, in conjunction with the Nechako Community Arts Council’s Wild Art Show and Exhibit.
Through the story of a city out-of-towner stranded in a Canadian small town during a fishing derby, the comedy gives the audience and actors an opportunity to reflect on how people — residents and visitors alike — see Vanderhoof, said Sylvia Byron, who plays local resident Sierra.
“It’s very humorous,” Byron said. “Some laugh at certain situations, while others laugh at different scenes.”
Written in 2013, the play also provides an opportunity for the five-person cast to explore the insider-outsider dynamic during rehearsals since October, Byron added. Along with the cast’s two other actresses — Jean Johnson, playing Melanie Morningside, and Megan Young, playing Rhonda Borkowski — Byron grew up in Vanderhoof, while actors Derek Broughton and Andy Sundahl both originated from elsewhere.
“[Participating in theatre] is a good way for people to get to know the community and integrate yourself,” Byron said.
As out-of-towner James Bell, it’s Broughton’s first production after high school, where he had participated in one play, he said.
Currently teaching at Nechako Valley Secondary along with fellow actor Sundahl, Broughton was first introduced to the stage in town while helping out with the Vanderhoof Children’s Theatre last year, he said.
“It’s been fun, a little scary,” Broughton said. “I think [the play] is hilarious…I end up being the butt of a lot of the jokes.”
This weekend’s performance is the theatre group’s second collaboration with the arts council since two years ago, as the play’s fishing derby setting coordinates with the art show’s focus on “wild” this year, said director Lisa Striegler.
The exhibit provides a fun environment for both the actors and the audience, as artwork will be placed all over the small venue — including the stage set, Striegler said.
“People love that,” she said, as the set-up departs from traditional theatre and allows a more intimate experience for all.
Theatre lovers in the area will be familiar with the playwright Norm Foster, as his plays were often performed by Prince George’s theatre group, Striegler added.
In addition to Dec. 4, Vanderhoof Community Theatre will also perform “The Great Kooshog Lake Hollis McCauley Fishing Derby” on Dec. 5, 11 and 12.