Submitted. Gallery 7 Theatre is thrilled to present its final production of the 2017/2018 “Be Transformed” Theatre season, Elizabeth von Arnim’s Enchanted April, adapted by Matthew Barber. Described as “a lush, thoroughly refreshing theatrical holiday” and “a magical triumph” by the Los Angeles Times and “a comical, restorative journey of discovery” by Daily Variety, Enchanted April promises to be an uplifting and inspiring theatre experience for theatre goers.
Set in 1922, two frustrated English housewives decide to rent a villa in Italy to escape their bleak, predictable lives and recruit two very different English women to share in the cost and experience. Among the wisteria blossoms and gorgeous Mediterranean sunshine, all four begin to re-discover themselves in ways they didn’t expect, and gain new perspective on what’s most important in their lives.
Directing for the first time at Gallery 7 Theatre with this production is Kate Muchmore Woo, theatre professor at Trinity Western University. “The themes which resonate with me most in the show are healing and transformation,” Woo explains. “After WWI, there was a real sense of loss across Europe. These losses, direct and indirect, threaten to steal the hope of many of the characters in the play. Going to Italy offers everyone a chance for healing, for transformation, and for their lives to be filled again with enchantment, paradise, and wonder. Marvelous!”
Playing the role of Lotty Wilson, the driving force behind planning the Italian adventure, is Charlene Crawford while Rose Arnott, a proper English housewife with strong morals but who secretly longs for adventure, will be played by newcomer, Laura Kehler. Caroline Bramble, a sophisticated socialite looking for change in her life, will be played by Shannon Tauber, while the crotchety Mrs. Graves will be played by Sue Backs. Mellersh, Lotty’s somewhat stuffy solicitor husband, will be played by Scott Campbell while Tamara Charman takes on the role of Costanza, an Italian housekeeper with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. Marco Darvasi will play Wilding, the charming owner of the Italian villa, and Mark Kroeker will play Rose’s man-about-town husband, Frederick.
“I love how different these women are and the hilarious conflicts that come up as they attempt to coexist,” Woo continues. “Beyond that, I love the friendships that inevitably develop as they open up to each other, share their hearts, and find healing in community. Then the men show up, and even more funniness, healing, and transformation occur, leaving everyone with a sense of hope for the future.”
Set design for Enchanted April is by Shelby Wyminga, costume design is by Jina Chatterton, lighting design is by Gabe Kirkley, sound design is by Eli Funk and make-up design is by Victoria Hu. The stage manager is Danielle Milette and production photography is by Dianna Lewis Photography.
Enchanted April runs May 19 & 20, 24 – 27, 2017 at 7:30 PM with additional matinees on May 20 & 27 at 2:00 PM at the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium, 32315 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford. Tickets can be purchased in-person or by-phone by visiting House of James, 2743 Emerson Street, Abbotsford or by calling 604-852-3701. For more information or to purchase tickets online, please visit www.gallery7theatre.com.
“Audiences should come because (the play) is funny, poignant, and celebrates the indomitable spirit of women!” concludes Woo. “There is something to make everyone smile for sure! We need that right now as we seem to be trapped in a vortex of rain and dreariness ourselves!”
PHOTO CAPTION: (left to right) Charlene Crawford, Sue Backs, Shannon Tauber and Laura Kehler perform in Gallery 7 Theatre’s production of Elizabeth von Arnim’s Enchanted April by Matthew Barber. Photo by Dianna Lewis Photography.