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

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority to fall fake eagle tree at Ogden Point

Last year a fake tree was installed to try to entice eagles to stay in the area, without much success

Ambitious B.C. Aviation Museum need $10M to get iconic Lancaster back in the air

Volunteers flock to work on bomber, restoration expected to take 10 years

Saanich to potentially host first hydrogen fuel station on Vancouver Island

Station proposed for corner of Quadra Street and McKenzie Avenue

Oak Bay-based performing arts school named second Acorn Arts Award winner

District award recognizes CCPA’s outstanding contributions to the arts

Saanich to recognize Coun. Judy Brownoff for a quarter century on council

Award presentation will take place Monday evening

Victoria hosts ‘Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave’

The hockey cave was recently featured on a Netflix special

Inspirational Vancouver Island youngster dies after battle with brain cancer

Kaiden Finley ‘was seriously the strongest 11-year-old’

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

Most Read