As Surrey’s Pivot Theatre company shifts focus on local playwrights and age issues, a new play written by artistic director Margaret Shearman debuts on stage mid-month.
She says her “Confetti” is inspired by Sweet Alibi’s song “Confetti,” which in turn was inspired by true events in Austria, where a woman shredded her money and used it as confetti at her funeral, rather than give it to her family.
The story follows Audrey (played by Jan Chadburn), a senior citizen who has voluntarily checked into The Haven seniors residence to avoid money-grubbing family members. When they find her, Audrey leans a little too heavily on her grandchild Jordan (Monica Iyers), leading to conflict and the surfacing of true feelings.
The play opens at Bethany-Newton United Church (14853 60 Ave., Surrey) on Feb. 16, a day after the first anniversary of the death of Shearman’s father. When she began writing the play, Shearman’s mother had just died, and her father was living alone. He eventually moved to a care home, and died on Feb. 15, 2022.
“The main character, Audrey, shares a lot of my dad and mom — her love for bacon, peanuts and salt comes from my dad, and her no-nonsense, plain-spoken attitude comes from my mom,” Shearman revealed. “I didn’t write the play as a catharsis project, but as producer, stage manager and author/consultant, I have been able to share happy memories of my parents, mostly my dad, with the cast and crew.”
Other actors in “Confetti” include Elyse Ritchie, Jenn Tiles, Kanae Morino, Zahid Valdes and Monica Iyer.
The play’s week-plus run is followed March 3-4 by Pivot’s presentation of Naked Stage Readers Theatre’s production of “Courtship,” by Steve Penman. In this Bridget Browning-directed script, two elderly gentlemen, one a widower and the other married, meet regularly at “their” bench. They share observations about the world’s problems and offer sometimes humorous “solutions.” At the same time, they provide real insight into loneliness, aging and relationships.
When Pivot Theatre started a year and a half ago, the company’s first-phase focus was on getting started and working with LGBTQ2+ issues, Shearman said.
“Our Phase 2 focuses on local playwrights and age issues, both young and old. ‘Confetti’ fits in perfectly, since it deals with the independence of an aging character and it is written by a local playwright. We are also working with a local playwright who is 92 years old, Don Smith, to get his one act plays on stage later in the spring.”
On the other end of the age spectrum, Pivot’s youth program, DebuTheatre, is starting up as well. DebuTheatre is aimed at those 30 years and younger who want to learn new skills with mentorship, or who want to enhance the skills they have.
“We set up two different one-act productions that will be performed together in July, with an intermission dividing them,” Shearman explained. “Our young directors and their mentors are already in place: Abigail Walkner (understudy in our November show, ‘A Late Snow’) is directing with Kayt Roth (director of ‘My Blue Heaven’) as mentor, and Beck Marie (seen in our first show, ‘My Blue Heaven’) is directing with Jeff Wyndham as mentor. Jeff Wyndham is new to Pivot Theatre and has extensive experience as an actor and director.”
For “Confetti” dates and ticket details, visit pivottheatre.ca. Tickets are $25 each, or $20 for students/seniors. At the door, donations will be collected for a local group that supports seniors.
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