Looking cast members

Yellow Point Drama Group presents two benefit shows

July 5 and 6 showings of award-winning production Looking will raise money to help drama group get to Mainstage.

Yellow Point Drama Group is getting ready to present its award-winning production Looking at the Mainstage Festival, but before that, local audiences will have two chances to see the show and help the group raise money.

At the recent South Island Zone Festival in Ladysmith, Yellow Point Drama Group (YPDG) won a number of awards, including best production and best backstage work, for its production of the Norm Foster comedy. Barbara Metcalf and Brian March also won best actor awards at the festival. As the best production from the South Island Zone Festival, YPDG’s production of Looking advances to Theatre BC’s Mainstage Festival July 5-13 in Kamloops.

To raise money for the trip to Kamloops — where YPDG will present Looking Thursday, July 11 — YPDG is bringing Looking back for two nights: Friday, July 5 at Ladysmith Little Theatre (4985 Christie Rd.) and Saturday, July 6 at Cedar Community Hall (2388 Cedar Rd.). Doors open at 7 p.m. for both shows, and the play starts at 8 p.m. All seats are $15, and tickets can be reserved by calling 250-722-3067. All proceeds from ticket sales will help YPDG get to Kamloops.

In Looking, a personal ad in the newspaper brings two middle-aged couples together on a blind date, setting off clever plot twists and an unexpected hookup. Directed by Armando Dosantos, Looking stars March, Gordon McInnis, Barbara Metcalf, and Moira Steele.

March says being honoured at the South Island  Zone Festival was great, and the whole experience was a valuable learning opportunity.

“You really never know when you go to a festival how you are going to stack up against other plays,” said March. “It’s more of a learning experience anyways. You have to go in with the idea that this is a way of educating yourself about theatre and learning through adjudication and through the other performers in the festival.”

March says participating in a festival also gives the actors a chance to learn how to prepare in a short period of time and simplify their set because they are going into a different venue and have a limited amount of time to set up.

“There are a lot of things that are different than a regular show,” he noted.

March says Looking has already gone through a number of changes since YPDG produced it at the Cedar Community Hall in February and March, particularly when it comes to staging.

“This is a play that when we first produced it, we produced it with the idea of making it as intimate as possible with the audience; we’ve got some scenes on the floor, particularly in the pub scenes — we made the audience part of the pub,” he said. “Going to Kamloops, it will be much different … it’s a traditional theatre with set seating. We can’t pull it onto the floor with people, and with the stage being at least two times the size of what we work with, changes have to be made.”

March, McInnis, Metcalf and Steele spent last week working on those changes in workshops with Barbara French, who adjudicated the South Island  Festival.

“With these two fundraisers, we will be staging it closer to how we’ll stage it in Kamloops,” said March. “For people who may have seen it before, it will be a different look this time around. It’s becoming a more complete play.”

March has been to Mainstage Festival before in Nanaimo, but this will be his first time at the festival away from the Island, and he is looking forward to the road trip.

“I guess the main excitement is being able to connect with all the other theatre groups in B.C. who are staging shows, learning other things from the adjudicators of other plays, learning other playwrights you may not have heard of … and just the excitement of so many people who are enthusiastic about theatre in the same place,” he added.

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