There’s a saying that goes a little something like this: “There may be snow on the roof, but there’s still fire in the furnace.”
Surrey Little Theatre’s latest comedy, says director Rita Price, embodies the phrase.
“Regardless of how old you are, the need to be loved and to love never goes,” she says. “This doesn’t change as you get older.”
Of course, Bermuda Avenue Triangle, written by Renee Taylor and Joseph Bologna, doesn’t take anything resembling a straight and narrow path to get to that moment of clarity.
Instead, it meanders down a trail littered with laughs and near-farcical scenes as it follows a pair of rather miserable and unfashionable women in their late 60s who are put in an upscale retirement condo in Las Vegas by their career-oriented daughters.
Between bouts of complaining and crying, the “old biddies” end up having a run-in with a charming, sweet-talking scoundrel named Johnny Paolucci. He decides the two are easy prey, and after years of unhappiness, they undergo a re-awakening of sorts and find the lost bounce in their step.
“But don’t give away my storyline!” warns Price, afraid to divulge too much about the plot.
Bermuda is her 17th show in the director’s chair. And a comedy like the one in which she’s currently ensnared, is her genre of choice.
“Life is enough of a drama,” she says. “People just love to sit and laugh.
“So often, they are going through their own hurdles… if anything, they want to get away from their problems, they don’t want to see them acted out on stage.”
Also important to Price, who’s on the play-reading committee at Surrey Little Theatre (SLT), is finding a script with an appropriately sized cast. Below four, she says, and it’s often less interesting to watch and doesn’t involve as many people as a community theatre production should. More than eight and the actors simply don’t fit on the small stage.
With a cast of six – four men and four women – Bermuda Avenue Triangle is perfect, she says.
While some of the faces may be familiar to local theatre crowds, Dr. Laurie Kortschak, who plays one of the “old biddies,” Tess, is new to the SLT stage. While she acted years ago, it’s her first return to the stage in a long while.
“So she’s back treading the boards,” says Price.
Kate Major (who plays the other biddie, Fannie) is a common face on local stages. In fact, Price has worked with her five times previously.
Peter Cowhig (Johnny), Michael Powell (Rabbi), Lisa Beaulieu (Rita, Fannie’s daughter) are also experienced.
But while Terry Ford (who plays Angela, Tess’s daughter) may be recognizable to Surrey theatregoers, Bermuda will allow audiences to see her in a new light – a spotlight, in fact.
“She’s done costumes, she’s worked front of house, she’s on the board of directors,” says Price, “but she’s never been on the stage. This is on her bucket list … to finally get on stage.”
Price lauds the devotion her small bevy of actors has shown, noting that contrary to popular belief, comedy is actually the more difficult of the genres to act.
“With comedies, not only do you have to deliver the lines, you have to pace the lines and you have to have the right body movements to support them.”
And with only six weeks of rehearsals under their proverbial belts – not to mention careers and families to balance – the cast has done a tremendous job, the director says.
“I’m very proud of them.”
To be fair, Price has attached a warning to the show, due to a bit of coarse language and some adult content. It’s not suitable for children, she says.
“It is a bit spicy.”
Bermuda Avenue Triangle runs Thursday through Sunday, Jan. 24 to Feb. 16. Shows are at 8 p.m., with Sunday matinées Feb. 3 and Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. The 76-seat Surrey Little Theatre is located at 7027 184 St. Tickets are $15. For reservations, call 604-576-8451 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or purchase online at www.surreylittletheatre.com.