Life imitates art, some say, but in the case of a group of Year 2 students from the Canadian College of Performing Arts, it could well be the other way around.
Twenty-one of the 32 budding performers currently enrolled in second-year studies at CCPA have been cast in Stage Door, part of the college’s repertory theatre program and one of two such shows premiering this week in Oak Bay.
The story, written in 1935 by Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman, portrays the trials and tribulations of a group of budding young actresses in the 1930s who live together in a New York boarding house and are looking for that big break that could land them on a Broadway stage. The story centres around one of those young women, Terry Randall, and her efforts to climb the theatrical ladder alongside her friends.
“That whole wanting to be on the stage is what is running through the school,” director Jim Leard says of the parallels between the story and life at CCPA. “They want go to Broadway, they want to go to New York. I look at this as training for them and I tell them ‘get ready to experience it all.’”
The Stage Door cast also mirrors the demographic of the student population at the college, with 17 women and four men on stage at various times.
Leard says the group is ready to go on this first public performance of a play this school year. “They’re at a stage where now we just need the audience.”
Stage Door opens Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. at in the CCPA performance hall at 1701 Elgin Rd.
Meanwhile, the other 11 CCPA Year 2 students have been hard at work preparing Middletown. The Will Eno-penned piece explores the day-to-day experiences of people in a small town, how their lives intersect and the sometimes dark elements of their past that gradually get revealed to the audience.
Directed by Stuart Aikins, the play focuses on the friendship that develops between a longtime resident and a new arrival. Along the way, the lives of Middletown inhabitants intersect in strange and poignant ways.
Middletown offers up a “deeply compelling, funny journey” that follows the characters from the local library to outer space and points between. This tale of “normal” townspeople is anything but.
This show premieres Thursday at 7:30 p.m., with subsequent performances Friday at 2 p.m. and Saturday night at 7:30. Subsequent performances for Stage Door go Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m.