Langley’s Cassie Unger and Lauren Trotzuk star in Theatre in the Country’s Christmas production of The Gift of the Magi, which is being livestreamed this weekend and next. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Langley’s Cassie Unger and Lauren Trotzuk star in Theatre in the Country’s Christmas production of The Gift of the Magi, which is being livestreamed this weekend and next. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: COVID once again shutters Langley theatre, forcing show online

Theatre in the Country and fistful of local actors bring Christmas online with The Gift of the Magi

Shuttered once again by COVID restrictions, Theatre in the Country (TIC) is livestreaming its Christmas production.

Five actors from Langley have taken to the stage, and consequently the screen, to offer up a fully produced and livestreamed production of O’Henry’s famous short story – The Gift of the Magi – said TIC’s artistic director Reg Parks.

“As for everyone, COVID has been pretty rough on theatre. We are no exception. We had our Christmas show almost ready when the new orders came in and we had to change our plans significantly,” he explained.

Wouldn’t you know, this is the show where we have more Langley based artists than ever before,” Parks added.

Langley residents Robbie Burns, Maurice Kimball, Lauren Trotzuk, and Cassie Unger are the performers in this socially distant performance of this romantic Christmas tale that started Friday and will include two more showings next weekend.

Also from Langley is Allan Thorpe, music professor at TWU, who accompanies the show live on the keyboard.

This is the first TIC show for Burns and Trotzuk.

This musical production has been “beautifully re-imagined” by Canada’s own renowned composer and writer, Leslie Arden, said Parks.

The story of The Gift of the Magi concerns James and Della Valentine, a young couple who, despite their poverty, individually resolve to give each other an elegant gift on Christmas Eve. The price they pay and the example of love they offer is truly a story of Christmas love.

.

Change of plans

“The pandemic has devastated theatres around the world, Parks elaborated.

“From reduced crowd sizes to being completely shut down the impact on the art of drama has been brutal; however, it is hard to keep theatre artists down for long.”

From April to August, Theatre in the Country presented 21 shows online through Zoom.

In September, they cautiously re-opened at 25-per-cent capacity, masked performers and a new set of health and welfare protocols.

During the fall they were able to mount three fully produced stage shows, Last 5 Years, Sleuth, and Billy Bishop Goes to War.

Their Sleuth production lost it’s opening weekend when Parks, one of the lead actors in the show, experienced cold-like symptoms and had to wait for a COVID test results – it turned out to be negative.

Then, the make-up shows were cancelled the day before they were to go up, as the newest health orders were announced.

Rehearsals for The Gift of the Magi were already well under way, and the choice was made to take the show online, Parks explained.

Even then the show had to be trimmed back, so that all rehearsals and performances would adhere to new guidelines.

“In a heartbreaking choice the two youngest cast members had to be asked to not be in the show, so the rules could be followed. It was agonizing,” he explained.

With the shortened format of the show, the cast and crew got together to create seven pre-show pieces that will “delight” audiences before the main play begins, Parks said, noting the pre-show includes songs, readings, ballet, recitations, a bassoon and piano duet, and a pre-recorded elf sketch starring the two young girls who had to bow out of the main show.

“The journey of theatre in the time of COVID has been full of abrupt twists and turns, but the dedication of artists and the determination of the crews and workers has made finding a way to make theatre happen possible,” said the impressed artistic director.

“Theatre in the Country could not be more proud of our vast group of volunteer performers and technicians who have made this year one of the most creative and inspiring on record.”

The Gift of the Magi ran last Friday and Saturday, and is set to livestream again next Friday and Saturday, Dec. 18 and 19. Tickets are available at theatreinthecountry.com or by calling the box office at 604-259-9737.

.

_______________________________

Is there more to this story?

Email: news@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_______________________________

CoronavirusLangleyTheatre

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Langley’s Robbie Burns and Cassie Unger star in Theatre in the Country’s Christmas production, The Gift of the Magi, that is being livestreamed this weekend and next. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Langley’s Robbie Burns and Cassie Unger star in Theatre in the Country’s Christmas production, The Gift of the Magi, that is being livestreamed this weekend and next. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Langley’s Robbie Burns, Cassie Unger, Maurice Kimball (upstairs), and Lauren Trotzuk star in Theatre in the Country’s Christmas production of The Gift of the Magi, that is being livestreamed this weekend and next. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Langley’s Robbie Burns, Cassie Unger, Maurice Kimball (upstairs), and Lauren Trotzuk star in Theatre in the Country’s Christmas production of The Gift of the Magi, that is being livestreamed this weekend and next. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Just Posted

A Fort Langley letter writer lays out why he disagrees with the Township’s suggestion to withhold permissive tax exemptions for churches that defy Provincial Health Orders (file photo)
LETTER: Township church tax move feels punitive, Langley man argues

Township looking at whether to give permissive tax exemption to churches holding in-person services.

Abbotsford football star Chase Claypool has signed an endorsement deal with Nike’s Jordan brand. (Air Jordan website)
Langley’s Chase Claypool signs with Nike’s Jordan brand

Abbotsford Senior Secondary School grad had to settle for knock-off shoes when he was a student

Someone bought a lottery ticket worth $4.2 million in Aldergrove (file)
Lottery ticket worth $4.2 million purchased in Aldergrove

Lotto 6/49 numbers were drawn Saturday

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Jan. 24

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

sd
VIDEO: Mission drag racer scores 1st career win, sets world record, makes history in 2020

Justin Bond, founder and owner of JBS Equipment Mission, has break-out year

Most Read