Performers hope to have audiences seeing double

Secret Garden is twice the delight

Grade 11 student Ellen Law plays Mary Lennox and Kyus Hicks (Grade 10) portrays Lieut. Wright during a rehearsal for the SMUS production of The Secret Garden.

This spring, Victoria’s McPherson Playhouse will present The Secret Garden — twice.

In a strange twist of fate, Ballet Victoria presents its dance version this March, while a version of the Broadway musical produced by St. Michaels University School (SMUS) opens tonight (Feb. 27).

“We plan our calendar roughly two years in advance,” said Paul Destrooper, artistic director of Ballet Victoria. He booked the theatre with no knowledge of the SMUS production, while Morgan McLeod, the new head of theatre at SMUS, had the musical in mind this summer.

It was the McPherson’s staff who first noticed the doubling up, and, while the close timing may cause some confusion, both directors are confident the shows offer different experiences.

“Ballet Victoria’s production is inspired by the play written by Michael Shamata,” Destrooper said. “We have no spoken words, but kept the essence of the story intact using dance, mime and acting.”

McLeod’s work will also be partially inspired by a previous production — he saw The Secret Garden during its original Broadway run in 1991, when he was a student at SMUS.

“If I could like it as a teenager, our students today should be able to connect to the story,” McLeod said.

As a student, McLeod was heavily involved in theatre and he wanted to make sure his first musical as a faculty member resonated.

“I wanted something that hadn’t been overdone, something challenging for the performers, and something I had a connection to,” he explained. “The Secret Garden was my top choice.”

The book version of The Secret Garden follows Mary, a newly orphaned child, as she is transplanted to a new home with her mourning uncle and invalid cousin. Destrooper has never read the famed children’s book, but seeing Shamata’s version attracted him to the story.

“I enjoyed Michael’s rendition of the story very much, particularly the creation of the mother’s ghost as an active participant in the narrative,” he said. “It was very touching.”

McLeod, whose previous theatre credits include numerous productions (as both director and performer) at the Chemainus Theatre Festival, said the musical takes some dramatic license.

“The musical gives more weight to the adult roles,” he says. “But it’s still the same story — magical and heartwarming.”

The SMUS production runs Feb. 27 to March 2, while Ballet Victoria takes over March 22 to 24 before taking its show to the mainland and up Vancouver Island. For ticket information for both shows, go to rmts.bc.ca.

 

Just Posted

‘Best in the country’: Formerly homeless man praises Victoria’s outreach services

Jay W. was living on the streets of downtown Victoria in 2018

City of Victoria plans workshop to determine fate of Sir John A. Macdonald statue

Conversations will happen as part of a reconciliation dialogue series in May 2020

Time-lapse video shows weekend work on McKenzie Interchange project

Construction crews place concrete underpass bridge beams

Years of ‘horrific, violent accidents’ at Thetis Lake prompt plea to public

View Royal fire chief asks for an end to alcohol consumption at busy park

Watchdog group says Saanich council needs a ‘reality check’ about taxes

Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria warns of eroding housing affordability in Saanich

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Police ask for help locating missing men last seen in South Surrey

Jeep that Richard Scurr and Ryan Provencher were in has been located unoccupied in Logan Lake: RCMP

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

Most Read