One day very soon Ashley Sutton has intentions of owning and operating her own theatre company in the Lower Mainland and bringing to its stage plays the calibre of a show she’s opening in tonight in Coquitlam.
The 26-year-old student and part-time event planner and gate builder from Brookswood, who is also an actor and stage manager, is playing the role of Georgeanne in Stage 43 Theatrical Society’s production of Five Women Wearing the Same Dress.
When Sutton learned that fellow Langleyite and mentor Angela Bell was directing this comedy, she offered to cross the dreaded toll bridge – using transit – and audition.
Sutton had worked with Bell, when she directed For Better at the Langley Playhouse a few years earlier.
“She’s a great director,” Sutton said of Bell. “She knews what she’s doing. She’s passionate… so you know when you go in to work that she’s giving you everything she has… she doesn’t hold back.”
Sutton wasn’t trying out for any part in particular, but having read the script before hand Sutton was pretty psyched about landing any part in this production.
“It’s exciting,” she said of the Alan Ball play.
“It’s a fun ride with these crazy women, with their dramatic, their humour, their love for each other,” Sutton said, explaining that during a “ridiculously overdone” wedding reception, five reluctant, identically clad bridesmaids hide out in an upstairs bedroom, each with her own reasons to avoid the proceedings below.
As the afternoon wears on, too much champagne and the realization that none of them really like the bride leads these very different women to discover that they all have more in common than expected.
Sutton said the story is like a rollercoaster ride, and reiterates that “it’s a fun ride” for the cast, crew, and audience alike.
Five Women Wearing the Same Dress opens tonight (Thursday) and runs two weekends at the Evergreen Cultural Centre in Coquitlam.
It runs April 28 to 30, and May 4 to 7 with shows at 8 p.m., plus a 2 p.m. matinee on May 1.
This is Stage 43’s final show of the season and their entry into the 2016 Fraser Valley Zone Festival (regional theatrical competition)being held in Langley at the end of May.
In addition to Bell and Sutton, the rest of the cast includes Christie King, Jill Menkveld, Emily Hamel-Brisson, Paige Farbacher, and Chris Francisque.
For ticket information, visit www.stage43.org, or like them on Facebook.
“It is Stage 43’s great pleasure to partner with Tri-City Transitions (tricitytransitions.com) for this production,” explained Bell, who noted partial proceeds from each ticket sold will be donated to this organization devoted to breaking the cycles of abuse.
Please visit tricitytransitions.com for information on their services.
PHOTO: Brookswood’s Ashley Sutton performs in Stage 43’s production of Five Women Wearing the Same Dress.
More behind the scenes – literally
Sutton has been acting since the age of 13, first in one-act plays written by Grade 12 students at Brookswood Secondary and later on the community theatre stage – including Langley Players, Surrey Little Theatre, and now Stage 43.
In addition to her current role in the Coquitlam production, this Langley girl is also preparing to stage manage the Bard in the Valley’s production of Taming of the Shrew, coming to her hometown this summer.
If push came to shove, and Sutton was ever forced to chose between acting and stage managing, she said she’d likely pick stage managing.
But that could change. She knows she loves both, and believes her experience on and off stage make her a “more well-rounded thespian.”
“Honestly, I like being on both sides of the curtain,” she said, noting theatre is a passion she shares with her boyfriend, Mitchell Kapustinsky – who also enjoys cast and crew positions. He’s particularly interested – off stage – in lighting and sound.
Sutton knows theatre is where she wants to be. She’s so convinced, in fact, that she’s entering her final year of an arts and entertainment management program at Capilano University, with that goal of her own theatre constantly vivid in her mind.