Entertainment

Young Theatre Players present The Patient as first production of 2018

By Michelle Ruby, Brantford Expositor

Rose Astalos-Day (left), Traytin Woodward and Reese Irwin rehearse a scene from Young Theatre Players' upcoming production of The Patient. The show opens on Thursday.  Contributed photo

Rose Astalos-Day (left), Traytin Woodward and Reese Irwin rehearse a scene from Young Theatre Players' upcoming production of The Patient. The show opens on Thursday. Contributed photo

SIMCOE  - 

For the first time, members of the Young Theatre Players will be responsible for every aspect of their upcoming production, onstage and off.

The Patient, a short, dark play in one act written by Agatha Christie, is being staged by the YTP’s intermediate members. Opening night is Thursday, followed by six more performances at the Pond Street theatre in Simcoe.

Half of the YTP members are directing and producing the production and the others have on-stage roles.

Those behind the scenes are responsible for lighting, set design, costuming, staging and promotional material.

Producing and directing is new to most of the players, aged 12 to 14.

“It’s a big learning curve,” said artistic director Jami Cullen who is helping guide the students.

“The majority of the intermediate members have been with us for quite a few seasons and we wanted to give them a hands-on experience.”

The Patient, known as Mrs. Wingfield, has been horribly injured in a fall from her balcony. Unable to communicate, it could have been an accident, attempted suicide or worse still a cold-blooded killer bent on murder. As relatives gather around her hospital bed the tension builds as an ingenious device helps Mrs. Wingfield convey a message that could solve the mystery.

Cullen said she and the students are giving the play, first presented in 1961, a bit more of a modern feel with updated clothing and sets and the introduction of a gay couple.

The show will also mark another first, with YTP hosting its first dinner theatre. Forty tickets per show will include a dinner catered by Kaley’s Restaurant in Simcoe.

“Because it’s just a one-act, we thought we’d throw in a new element to make it even bigger,” said Cullen.

Charlotte Cornell, 14, a Grade 9 student at Simcoe Composite School, is directing The Patient, along with Nathan Arnold. She says she`s enjoying the responsibility but finding it a bit tricky giving direction to friends she`s performed with for years.

She said the mystery thriller is also a departure for the theatre group, which usually offers lighter fare.

“It`s very different from all the plays I`ve been in,” said Charlotte. “This one is very serious.”

Kiara Barrow joined YTP just last season. She is taking on the role of Dr. Ginsberg who is assisting the police in their investigation of the case. For Barrow, too, it is the first experience with a mystery.

“I usually do comedies and fantasies,” said the Grade 9 student at Delhi District Secondary School.

For the second one-act play to be staged by YTP later in the year, the students will reverse their responsibilities.

“It has been a pretty good experience for them to figure out if they want to be an actor or a director,” said Kiara. “I`m looking forward to the possibility of being a director in the next production.”

Also involved in the play are Alyssa Takacs (stage manager), Kelsey Van Brocklyn (stage crew, advertising), Alexandra Stitt (stage crew, set construction), Madison Overdevest (stage crew, set construction), Ernie Snip (set construction), Bella Veri (costumes, lighting and sound), Charlotte Cornell (costumes), Reese Irwin (costumes), and Anderson Ashley (props).

The Patient will be performed Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. and Jan. 26 and 27 at 7 p.m. and Jan. 28 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $30 for adults, $25 for students and seniors, and $20 for children under 12. Call the box office at 519-426-9070 to book tickets.

Brantford Expositor

 mruby@postmedia.com