Production shares tales of loss

Humour can be found in 17 Stories, which runs Saturday and Sunday at Congregation Emanu-El Synagogue

Zelda Dean directs 17 Stories

The latest production company in Victoria is borne of the 150th anniversary arts committee at Congregation Emanu-El Synagogue.

“I was on that committee and Zelda Dean was on that committee. … We got to know each other pretty well and she has quite a background in theatre,” said Oak Bay resident Annie Weeks. “She wanted to start a theatre company in Victoria, and she has always wanted to deal with the issue of loss in people’s lives.”

They teamed up with Lesley Wicks, and this month Dean directs the company’s first presentation – 17 Stories by playwright Caroline Russell-King, a fictional tale based on personal interviews.

“The playwright came out here and we set up a roster of 17 people who all sat and talked about the losses they’ve had in their lives,” said Weeks, who is also the production manager. “It was a very intimate situation.”

Each interview was about an hour long. Losses ranged from pets to personal identity to the more traditional loss of a loved one.

“It’s a fictional piece created out of the ideas that came out of that. There’s 17 scenes and she’s woven together these various ideas,” Weeks said.

Each actor in the ensemble of Michael Armstrong, Michael Bell, Melissa Taylor, Christine Upright and Jessica Van der Veen (also of Oak Bay) portrays multiple characters.

“Sometimes it’s funny, it’s kind of serious but it’s not that you won’t ever laugh, there’s moments of humour,” Weeks said. “The whole point was not people who’d suffered recent losses, but losses over time… And really how they had learned to just keep living their lives. How we all carry on.”

17 Stories is not “verbatim” theatre, but rather a weaving together of personal experiences into a dramatic piece.

Bema Productions presents 17 Stories at the synagogue sanctuary, 1461 Blanshard St. on Nov. 29 and 30. Tickets are $10, and are available at Russell Books in Victoria, at Ivy’s Bookshop in Oak Bay and at the door.

 

cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Province buys Paul’s Motor Inn to house Victoria’s homeless population

Inn is the second hotel the province has purchased to support vulnerable community

Sidney blocks off parking spaces to create more sidewalk

Additional measures to create more outdoor space for restaurants and cafe on way

Gift card scam email nearly dupes Oak Bay resident of $300

Fraud attempt posed as familiar friend

Telus headquarters to come to Victoria in ‘landmark building’ development

City sells land on coroner of Douglas and Humboldt streets for $8.1 million

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Gold River organizes a shop local initiative to creatively boost economy

Local purchases can earn shoppers $200 gift certificates to be spent on businesses within Gold River

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Vancouver Island school principal mourns family killed during US protests

Jelks says he’s grateful for the outpouring of support from the community in the wake of this tragedy

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

Most Read