Still relative newbies to Langley Players – Shane and Pam Rochon were feeling “blessed” when they walked away this weekend with some regional accolades for their work on and off stage with the theatre company’s production of The Foreigner.
The husband-and-wife team, along with drama club president Dave Williams, were all recognized during the Community Theatre Coalition awards gala held Saturday at the Coast Capital Playhouse in White Rock.
“It’s a happy, humble, blessed atmosphere in our home,” Shane said Sunday, after he and Pam walked away with dual theatre awards the night before.
Shane won best performance by an actor in a supporting role, earning it for his portrayal of Ellard in the club’s winter production of The Foreigner.
Meanwhile, Pam was presented with the best set decoration award for her work on the same production, while Williams earned best set design honours.
The young couple expressed gratitude for all the kindness, mentoring, and support they’ve received from their fellow Langley Players who helped earn them the awards.
“I was a theatre grad who was starving for a community of like-minded people who just loved theatre,” Shane said of his quest back in 2013 that found him on the doorstep of the local playhouse.
“I am grateful for the sense of community and family that I have gained since being a member… I felt tremendously welcomed,” he said. “It was like inheriting an unofficial extended family and I have been learning and growing with them ever since.”
He went on from working with Marko and Laurie Hohlbein on That Darn Plot in 2013, to a small role with Helen Embury in the club’s 2015 showing of Escape from Happiness.
His next turn on stage came as Ellard, the role that would ultimately earned him Saturday’s award.
“The role of Ellard was a challenge because although he is dismissed and often regarded as a half-wit, he slowly starts to feel empowered by the arrival of the foreigner, who gives him a major boost in confidence,” Shane recounted.
“There are only two characters that I specifically did not give any eye contact to because to me, Ellard was selective of who he trusted and who he didn’t. I kept this a secret until the end of the show,” Shane said.
“I loved how endearing he was and how forgiving he was and that he did not give himself any limitations although other characters had. In previous situations, I have always been ready and willing to “shed the character” and move on. In this circumstance, it was much more difficult. I often speak of him in the third person and I do miss him occasionally. I still catch myself quoting him from time to time.”
While Shane joined the team in 2013, Pam didn’t jump in with both feet until 2016, when she served as props mistress for The Grandkid. And as well, seeing a need, she helped out with set decorating and dressing.
After that, she designed the set for The Memory of Water, and then took on the award-winning set decorating for The Foreigner.
Pam was no stranger to community theatre. She performed in musical theatre during high school and later did some various roles backstage for the Fraser Valley Gilbert and Sullivan Society doing makeup and puppeteering.
“I am truly appreciative of the mentorship provided by my fellow members,” Pam said, especially to Williams, who gave her a refresher course in stage craft.
“When I came up with the set design for the fall production, he helped me bring my ideas to life. I’m grateful for his patience and guidance…” she added.
“I still have so much to learn and glean from him and other members of the theatre. I finally found that spark again, I once had about 10 years ago, when I came back to the theatre.”
She enjoys interior design and DIY projects, so decorating the set of The Foreigner, Pam said, was somewhat of a second nature.
“I am truly honoured and blessed to be recognized and be a part of something that brings so much joy to all involved,” she concluded.