Rae Takei, left, and Patti Allan star in Meghan Gardiner’s new play “To Perfection,” a comedy-drama that opens the 2022-23 Surrey Civic Theatres season of shows, from Sept. 14-17. (Submitted photo: Sarah Race)

Rae Takei, left, and Patti Allan star in Meghan Gardiner’s new play “To Perfection,” a comedy-drama that opens the 2022-23 Surrey Civic Theatres season of shows, from Sept. 14-17. (Submitted photo: Sarah Race)

‘Genderational’ divide in comedy-drama play that opens Surrey Civic Theatres season Sept. 14

A former celebrity TV chef reunites with a non-binary grandchild in Meghan Gardiner’s ‘To Perfection’

A new play that tackles issues of modern life and family conflict will open the 2022-23 season of Surrey Civic Theatres shows in mid-September.

Meghan Gardiner’s “To Perfection” is about a former celebrity TV chef reunited with an estranged grandchild who comes out as non-binary, opening a “genderational’ divide for the characters Gloria, the grandmother (played by Patti Allan), and Alex (Rae Takei).

The Shameless Hussy company production should give viewers food for thought during a six-show run at Surrey Arts Centre’s Studio Theatre from Wednesday, Sept. 14 to Saturday, Sept. 17.

Gardiner tackled issues close to heart when she wrote the comedy-drama at the height of the pandemic.

“Although this is a fictional story with fictional characters, I drew inspiration from my own family’s journey,” Gardiner explained. “Every child comes with their own personality — their own everything. They’re born who they are, and we can’t change that, we just have to adapt and love them. My philosophy is love first and let them be the guide.”

• RELATED: No Arts Club Theatre plays in Surrey this fall/winter as company postpones touring shows.

Directed by Renée Iaci, “To Perfection” not only explores the issue of gender, it also tackles cancel culture.

“I want the play to help the audience understand that it’s okay to discuss what’s not working, or what’s hurting and offending,” Gardiner noted. “It’s okay to talk about those things and talking is important, whereas just cancelling people…I’m not sure that’s productive. I want to encourage the audience instead of calling people out to embrace calling in.”

Actors Allan and Takei were involved in the play through several drafts and the workshop process.

“The performers in the roles – we truly have the best of the best,” Gardiner raved. “The fact that both actors worked with us in the workshop process and then wanted to be the actors in the actual performances means so much because they really believe in the work, and that means the world to me.”

The playwright is “thrilled” to again stage a play for audiences, after COVID all but killed such in-person performances.

“It feels so good to know that To Perfection is making its debut this fall for so many reasons,” Gardiner said. “It’s important to acknowledge what COVID has done to live performance. Just the fact that this work will be performed to a live audience, in a theatre, not on Zoom, is a big deal. There is a real collective heartbeat when we walk into a theatre…nothing compares to that and given that the play is a comedy I just want to hear the audience roar, I can’t wait for that.”

The Vancouver-based Shameless Hussy theatre company aims to tell “provocative stories about women, to inspire the hand that rocks the cradle to rock the world.”

Tickets for “To Perfection” range from $15 to $29 at the arts centre box office, online at tickets.surrey.ca or phone 604-501-5566.

Surrey Civic Theatres’ 2022-23 “Presentation Series” will hit the stage without any Arts Club Theatre Company shows, as the Vancouver-based company has decided not to send any of its productions on tour this fall/winter.

Instead, a “robust and fulsome selection of theatre shows” will be offered by Surrey Civic Theatres this fall, winter and spring. Announced in July, the new-look Triple Threat Theatre Series features the plays “To Perfection,” “Josie and Grace: A Mostly Historical Cabaret Dream Play” and “Driving Me Crazy.”

From Oct. 5-8, in “Josie & Grace,” Tymisha Harris returns to the Main Stage to reprise the role of Josephine Baker from her award-winning hit solo show, “Josephine: A Burlesque Cabaret Dream Play,” which also hits the stage Oct. 6-8.

READ ALSO: Play time: Surrey theatre companies line up comedies, musicals, monologues this fall/winter.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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