Facing a past trauma and finding closure are key ingredients to Shuswap Theatre’s upcoming production, Perfect Pie.
Elizabeth Ann Skelhorne, who directed last season’s Shuswap Theatre offering, Jewel, by Joan McLeod, is once again in the director’s chair, guiding a cast of four to bring the Judith Thompson play to life on stage.
Skelhorne describes Perfect Pie as a Canadian homecoming, “and by home we’re looking for a piece of ourselves that we’ve lost.”
The play is set in rural Ontario, and traces the connection of two women, Patsy and Marie, close childhood friends whose lives diverged following a traumatic event. Patsy chooses to stay on the farm and have a family of her own, while Marie pursues a life of celebrity. As adults, Marie, now Francesca, returns home and she and Patsy reflect on their past and, inevitably, the series of incidents leading to the event that would set them on separate paths.
Intended for a mature audience (ages 14 and up), Perfect Pie will push viewers out of their comfort zones, carry them through a difficult, sometimes distressing process of healing and, in the end, provide release.
“I think there’s a lot of different things people can take home from this play,” said Skelhorne. “I think the central theme of this play is yearning for wholeness, being complete. The women spend a lot of time yearning for a sense of ecstasy they haven’t found since they lived in a joint fantasy world together as children. You know, when you’re off playing in imagination and you’re totally free and open and living your life, and they never recreate it again.”
Skelhorne acknowledges there is a timeliness to the play and how it speaks to the abuses against women expressed through the MeToo movement.
“For men especially, to be able to see how events like that do affect women, that will bring them onboard more as protectors of women in our society…,” said Skelhorne. “The MeToo movement is wonderful, it’s people starting to speak up, the Hollywood grossness is starting to be addressed and spoken about, but the fact is for women that this is a reality that we live with every single day all our lives… It’s a reality that effects every women whether they’ve been assaulted or not because all of our sisters.”
However, both Skelhorne and Shuswap Theatre director Hamilton McClymont assure the play will captivate male and female viewers alike.
“I would add… this play can be just as powerful for a man in the audience,” said McClymont. “It’s not so much empathizing with the women as being captured in the moments. Because the play is so powerful theatrically… for a guy sitting in the audience watching what’s going on here, he’s going to be amused, he’s going to be shocked, he’s going to be confused and, at the end of the day, he’s going to feel that thing that the Greek’s call catharsis, there’s kind of like a purging of all the evil stuff.”
Stepping up to the challenge of portraying the play’s protagonists are Mary Masson as Patsy and Tammi Pretty as Francesca. Mason has been involved with Shuswap Theatre for two years and this will be her first appearance on the stage. Pretty was last on stage as Desdemona in In Juliet’s Garden, and this is her first production with Shuswap Theatre. Portraying young Patsy is Ali Foster-Balloun, who played Juliet in November’s Shuswap Theatre production of Romeo and Juliet, as well as played the title role in Annie and Aunt Charity in Big Rock at Candy’s Mountain. Young Marie will be played by Meaghan Delaney, who has worked on several productions including The Drowsey Chaperone, The Starlight Radio Theatre Christmas, HMS Pinafore and Fiddler on the Roof.
Perfect Pie, Shuswap Theatre’s entry in the 2018 Okanagan Zone Drama Festival, opens Friday, April 27, and plays through May 12. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 1:30 and “pay what you can” Thursdays at 7:30. Tickets are available online at shuswaptheatre.com or at Intwined Fibre Arts at 81 Hudson Ave. NE.
For more, contact Hamilton McClymont at 604-741-5305, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit shuswaptheatre.com.