Chemainus Theatre is a sister company to Pacific Theatre, and while their Christian mandate finds different expression than ours, there's always been a lot of connection. In 1993 I directed their inaugural production, TALLEY'S FOLLY – starring Lucia Frangione (PT's first apprentice, and the most-produced playwright on our stage) and Tim Dixon (a member of our resident company from 1994 to 1997, last seen here in THE SEAFARER, slated to play Warnie Lewis in TOLKIEN next spring). Lucia was in fact the Artistic Director of Chemainus a few years later, a position subsequently held for many years by Jeremy Tow (who directed such PT shows as A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS and MASS APPEAL), and then by Mark Dumez (who originated the role of Bend in MERCY WILD).
You saw Mark's wife Erin Ormond play Elizabeth in our recent production of THE CHRISTIANS, and you may have seen her Jessie-nominated performance as Margaret Thatcher in The Arts Club production of THE AUDIENCE early this year. Jeremy's wife Anita Wittenberg shared the stage with Lucia Frangione (and Craig Erickson, and others) in our 1990 production of THE FURNITURE OF HEAVEN, and was more recently seen here in MOURNING DOVE before moving away to Kamloops.
All of which is a circuitous way of leading up to the fact that Anita has moved back to Vancouver, and can be seen in what looks to be a splendid production of SILENT SKY at Chemainus Theatre right now – directed by the aforementioned Mark Dumez. Might be worth a trip to the Island to check it out...
by Lauren Gunderson
at the Chemainus Theatre Festival
until November 4
"From the depths of the human soul to the vastness of space, Silent Sky is a transcendent journey filled with passion and love. Henrietta Leavitt was at the forefront of ground-breaking research in early 20th century astronomy, single-handedly discovering over 2400 variable stars (half those identified up to that point). Yet, today, her legacy is largely unrecognized by the general public. Playwright Lauren Gunderson sets out to rectify this oversight through gripping dialogue that pulsates with vigor and humour, painting a clear picture of the challenges Henrietta encountered during a lifetime devoted to the stars...."
entire review here