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

 

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

Heavily armed police officers responded to a call on 203rd Street near Fraser Highway. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
BREAKING: Police swarm Langley City dollar store

Heavily armed officers were seen entering the Dollarama on 203rd Street

While most drivers along the stretch of 200th Street near Nicomekl Elementary School in Langley City follow the posted speed limits, a significant number is ignoring the posted limits, data from speed reader boards shows. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Drivers in Langley City are most likely to ignore the speed limit near Nicomekl school

Data from speed reader boards shows speeding is worst on 200th Street between 50th and 53rd Avenues

Garth Dauncey is one of the volunteers working on renovations at a Langley City home for the AOK Extreme Home Repair project. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
AOK home repair could use funding support to aid Langley family

A GoFundMe is looking to raise up to $80,000

Seven-year-old Adam Dadson opened his own plant stand at 24th Ave and 268 Street in Aldergrove. (Val Dadson/Special to The Star)
Seven-year-old Aldergrove entrepreneur opens pop-up plant stand

Adam Dadson sold flowers last weekend to earn enough money to buy his mom a Mother’s Day gift

Calvin Singh, a 17-year-old Aldergrove Secondary student, earned the Jodi Steeves Kindness Scholarship. (Special to The Star)
Aldergrove teen earns Jodi Steeves Kindness Award and the $1,000 that goes with it

Calvin Singh won the scholarship for showing constant kindness and positivity

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

David and Julie Kaplan with their children Estelle and Justin. (Special to The News)
BC family whose move was stopped by COVID border closure back on the road

Maple Ridge’s Kaplan family will arrive at their new home in Nova Scotia on Wednesday

Bucketheads – A Star Wars Story is being filmed near the 19000-block of 16 Avenue in South Surrey. (Mychaylo Prystupa photos)
Star Wars fan film ‘Bucketheads,’ shot in Lower Mainland, makes its debut

Volunteer initiative features new LED screen technology

RCMP. (Black Press File)
Major Crimes called in after two bodies discovered on remote road near Penticton

A manhunt involving a police helicopter took place on May 10

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

Canada’s Janet Leung steals second base during playoff action at the Softball Americas Olympic Qualifier tournament in South Surrey on August 31, 2019. Leung and her teammates have not been back to Softball City since, as the 2020 and now ‘21 Canada Cup tournaments have been cancelled. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck photo)
Canada Cup softball event cancelled for second straight year

Travel, health concerns cited as reasons for cancellation of popular Lower Mainland event

Boats in the Fraser River launched from Barrowtown and Ft. Langley on May 12 to search for the missing fisherman. (Steve Simpson)
Boats search the Fraser River for missing Abbotsford fisherman

Anyone with ‘a boat, time, or a drone’ to help bring Damian Dutrisac home was asked to help

Vancouver court on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Defence lawyers call foul as Crown counsel granted access to COVID-19 vaccines

Defence attorneys are pushing the province to extend inoculation access to workers in courtrooms across B.C.

Most Read