IT’S A GLORIOUS, WONDERFUL LIFE
■ WHERE: The Cultch, 1895 Venables St.
■ WHEN: Sept. 7 at 5:15 p.m.; Sept. 10 at 5:30 p.m.; Sept. 11 at 4:30 p.m.; Sept. 13 at 7:45 p.m.; Sept. 16 at 9:10 p.m.; Sept. 17 at 4:30 p.m.
■ TICKETS: $14 plus membership; purchase online at tickets.vancouverfringe.com
“Look, Daddy. Teacher says every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings,” Zuzu says to her father, George.
“That’s right, that’s right,” George replies to her, smiling.
He looks up towards the ceiling and winks.
As a crowd erupts into the song Auld Lang Syne, the camera fades out, and the credits of the 1946 film It’s A Wonderful Life begin to roll, Ethan can finally relax in the empty theatre — that is — until Gloria walks in.
Full of questions and wonder, Gloria destroys Ethan’s quiet night alone that he had been waiting so long to enjoy. But in true Hollywood fashion, Ethan soon finds himself swept off his feet by this curious soul.
It’s A Glorious, Wonderful Life by Shelby Wyminga is one of 100 plays featured in the 2017 Vancouver Fringe Festival, running Sept. 7-17 at theatres across Vancouver.
Each participating play is selected through a lottery, allowing both acting newcomers and seasoned veterans in the industry to step into the spotlight.
For Wyminga, a recent Trinity Western University acting grad, this is the second staged play she has done as a playwright. Also serving as the producer and actress for character Gloria in the show, she wrote the script based on challenges facing her own friend group.
“Though it’s first and foremost a screwball comedy, It’s A Glorious, Wonderful Life, deals with a lot of darker themes surrounding grief, loss, loneliness and the common difficulty humans seem to have connecting,” Wyminga told the Times.
“In the last two years I have noticed more and more a certain emptiness in people my own age (20s), an emptiness I have often felt myself. It seems to me that people are finding it increasingly difficult to show any real need, weakness or vulnerability and as a result we struggle to truly see or be seen by one another.
“When it came time to write, I found that the two characters I was creating each embody loneliness and escapism in very different ways. My hope is that by laughing along with Gloria and Ethan, audiences will find a much needed escape, but that they would also be inspired to look deeper, love freer and maybe dance with a stranger in an old movie theatre.”
With a love for silver screen classics, Wyminga has injected a vintage flare into her theatrical commentary on millennial matters.
“This play is a crazy blend of the classic and the modern. I have taken bucket-loads of inspiration from some of my favorite Hollywood Golden Age films, and paired it with the particular social anxieties of the present,” Wyminga said.
“It’s a total rollercoaster. There are moments of Chaplin-esque physical humour followed by intense moments of self-discovery, with plenty of twists in between. Quite the unexpected ride.”
In her time at TWU, Wyminga appeared in seven mainstage shows, including 12th Night (playing Feste the Fool), The Diary of Anne Frank (playing Margot) and The Butterfingers Angel (playing Mary). She currently does acting and design projects in the Lower Mainland, and works for a children’s events company playing the role of princesses and superheroes.
The play features other TWU talents Emmett Hanly as Ethan (current acting student), Elizabeth Drummond as director/producer (fine arts in acting grad 2016), and Eleanor Felton as choreographer, producer (theatre grad 2014).
The cast is rounded out with Joanna Brailsford (stage management), Sara J. Smith (lights) and Mikayla Wust (set and costumes).