Take a flashback trip to Mod-sixties London with a little help from Theatre in the Country’s (TITC) latest production, Black Comedy.
The madcap show, penned by late British playwright Peter Shaffer, tells the story of a couple throwing a house party to impress their bombastic in-laws. Just before the guests arrive, the power goes out, leaving the characters in total blackness.
The squabbling guests may not be able to see each other, but the audience still can – providing a unique twist, which sets the kooky show first performed in 1965, apart from most other theatre experiences.
Twenty-three–year-old actress Cassie Unger moved to Langley just one year ago from Bend, Oregon and stumbled upon TITC after searching for productions to be part of and new friends to make.
After starring as Mary in Two from Galilee last Christmas, she’s back with TITC in a role that couldn’t be more polar opposite.
“I play Clea, the ex girlfriend…or… you could say, mistress,” Unger explained. “She’s very devious and really embraces chaos by messing with all the other character’s. It was an irresistible role.”
Black Comedy is TITC’s final production of 2019, their seventh season overall and second in Langley. TITC spent its first five in Maple Ridge before moving to 5708 Glover Road.
TITC rents out their space from Langley Vineyard Church, who are currently facilitating some major renovations to freshen up the theatre space with a complete paint, flooring, and fixture upgrade of the lobby and bathrooms.
Along with live entertainment, Over the Top catering provides a roast beef buffet for patrons looking for both dinner and a show.
Reg Parks, artistic director of TITC, said the black out aspect is what attracted him to this particular script.
“I love this show because it gives us chance to ask the question ‘who am I, when no one is looking?’ Theatre is always at it’s best in comedy or tragedy when the audience has the chance to put themselves in the place of the characters and ask how would I react to this or that circumstance,” Parks explained.
Unger said her childhood tastes in comedy is what attracted her to the role and the overall the humour of the play.
“I was raised on Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, and The Pink Panther… the good stuff! So I’m well versed in classic British humour,” she explained.
With Brit humour also comes Brit accents; something that was more fun than a challenge for Unger and the rest of the cast.
“We were fortunate enough to have Lucy [Darlington] as the lead who is British. She was able to coach us and keep us all in line,” Unger said. The real challenge for the cast, she noted was performing like the stage was completely dark.
“It is set in the groovy mod 60’s art world so the set and costumes are a lot of fun. It is being co-directed by my wife, Erin, and myself – first time we’ve done that,” Parks said, relaying nothing but a positive experience.
Unger attested to the excitement of the costumes, stating that she was eagerly awaiting the arrival of a fun sixties accessory, her character’s go-go boots.
“If it’s in your niche, acting is addicting,” Unger added. “This is a really unique show and like all good shows, at its core, tells the truth about life. The audience get to see all of these things the characters can’t.”
Black Comedy runs Sept. 12 to 28 at 7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. matinees.
People can find out more about the show, performance times, and to purchase their tickets at theatreinthecountry.com/blackcomedy.
On Sunday, Sept. 22 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., TITC will additionally hold their season launch event where the 2020 season will be announced. There will be also be music, improv, and a chance to talk with actors and directors.
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