Ken Boyd, Patricia Braun, Pat McDermott and Kim Monsanto star in Looking, a comedy by Norm Foster, presented by Surrey Little Theatre from Jan. 26 to Feb. 18. Below is director Rita Price.

Ken Boyd, Patricia Braun, Pat McDermott and Kim Monsanto star in Looking, a comedy by Norm Foster, presented by Surrey Little Theatre from Jan. 26 to Feb. 18. Below is director Rita Price.

The look of love

Surrey Little Theatre's romantic comedy, Looking, runs Jan. 26 to Feb. 18.

On any given day, it’s said, there is a Norm Foster play being staged somewhere in the world.

Surrey theatre veteran Rita Price doesn’t doubt it. And she knows exactly why.

“He takes regular people and puts them in regular situations. Not unlike Seinfeld,” she says, referencing the hit ’90s TV comedy that was famous for being a show about nothing.

Really, it was a sitcom about average people – albeit quirky – going about their daily lives.

Foster’s scripts are much the same, with characters almost everyone can relate to on some level.

For example, in the play Looking, which Price is currently directing at Surrey Little Theatre, the characters include a nurse, a broadcaster, a fellow who sells storage space and a police woman.

“You probably, in your lifetime, have known people who have done these sorts of jobs,” says Price.

Indeed, Foster is the most-produced playwright in the country, and has been for at least two decades. His works include Ethan Claymore, The Melville Boys, Here On The Flight Path, The Love List, and many, many more.

And while each is unique, they are always peppered with a seemingly perfect balance of laughs and tender moments.

Again, not unlike real life, Price notes.

“In our lives, not everything is funny, we do have our serious moments, and vice versa, not everything is serious, we do have our funny moments.”

Looking tells the story of four single, middle-aged people who are seeking relationships. There is Val (played by Fort Langley’s Kim Monsanto, returning to the stage after a 20-year hiatus), an operating room nurse and divorcée who hasn’t dated in six years; her best friend police officer Nina (played by Abbotsford’s Patricia Braun, last seen in SLT’s Murder of Crows); salesman Andy (played by Abbotsford’s Pat McDermott, most recently in SLT’s Cactus Flower); and his buddy Matt (played by Langley’s Ken Boyd), a radio broadcaster.

“I found out after I cast him (Boyd) that he had been a professional broadcaster for years,” says Price.

The quartet crosses paths after Nina checks the classifieds to help Val find a date. She answers an ad from Andy and a blind date is arranged. But Val takes Nina along and Matt accompanies Andy for moral support. What ensues is a journey over the following weeks where each discovers what kind of relationship they are actually looking for.

“It is comedic, there’s lots of comedy,” Price says of Looking, “but there’s always a message in it too. And he (Foster) always shows the human side of people, the vulnerability. Things don’t always go right and you are disappointed and you are struggling.”

Looking is billed as having “adult content,” but Price assures it’s not offensive, just more on the “spicy” side.

“There’s a couple of smoochy scenes,” she says, adding there are mature references kids simply won’t understand.

The sets, she says, are minimalist, and the costumes simple. Because Foster’s storylines are contemporary, there’s no need for an elaborate stage or period costumes – perfect for small community theatre groups with limited space and meagre funding.

But it’s the quick wit of Looking that Price promises will entertain.

“You have to have a good pace. It’s almost like there’s one joke and by the time you’re registering it, there’s another one.

“The audience isn’t going to fall asleep on this one.”

Surrey Little Theatre presents Looking from Jan. 26 to Feb. 18 at 7027 184 St. Evening shows are Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., with 2 p.m. Sunday matinées on Feb. 5 and 12. All tickets are $15. Reserve by phoning 604-576-8451 or emailing reservations@surreylittletheatre.com