Courtenay Little Theatre is still alive in the Comox Valley.
Amid the pandemic, CLT members have been creatively exploring new ideas to fill the void. The club has been able to mount a couple of productions that have been showcased via video recording and sharing over internet venues.
Upcoming this April 2-5, any audience member anywhere will be able to enjoy The Pandemic Diaries, featuring two original one-act plays, Long Story Short, a comedy and Quaranteened, a drama, recently recorded at the Sid Williams Theatre.
Director Catherine Hannon is a retired drama teacher locally known for her critically acclaimed productions of The Drawer Boy (2017) and Hedda Gabler (2019). She was directing Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker last spring when it was suddenly cancelled because of the pandemic. Later in the year she began working with two actors in a collaborative writing process, about that experience, resulting in Long Story Short, an original one-act comedy.
Hannon, with actors Jon Faris and TJ MacPherson, rehearsed Long Story Short almost entirely via Zoom. Co-writer and musician Eric Macdonald wrote the music that helps tell the moving and funny story of two theatre friends sharing ups and downs as they journey through a year of drastic changes to live performance, brought on by COVID-19 restrictions.
Brian Mather began working with four teens last September who he had directed in CLT’s very successful The Little Mermaid (2019). Mather worked in person with the girls, socially distanced in CLT’s large rehearsal space. Mather and his actors (Sarah Dolman, Rebecca Winkelaar, Adelie Simson and Gillian Hegg) created the story co-operatively through improv, influenced by Mather’s vision from Ray Bradbury’s All Summer in a Day.
Quaranteened is the result of these young thespians’ resilience, dedication and professionalism as they developed their characters and shared their stories of feeling trapped but seeking human connections. With the invaluable assistance of Allyson Leet, the show was recorded at the Sid Williams Theatre. Unfortunately, four hours of work disappeared when the Valley suffered a power outage. It took another month of organizing before all involved could meet again to re-record the story.
Mather, having experienced over 50 years of teaching and directing in the Valley said this production stands out as special for him.
“I know this was the single most satisfying project I have ever done.”
Courtenay Little Theatre presents The Pandemic Diaries, April 2-5. Tickets for this virtual presentation are available on the Sid Williams Theatre Events page and are available by donation. Net proceeds will help reduce the ongoing operating expenses of Courtenay Little Theatre.