When Denny Kaulback first read the script for the Revelstoke Theatre Company’s new production Another Two Hander … Or Two, he saw it as a light-hearted work.
“As we started to develop it with the characters we got, things started to change because we started to find out deeper meaning and trends in the play and really put our own drift on the whole play,” said the play’s director.
The title of the play refers to the plot. Another Two Hander … Or Two, written by David Belke, an Edmonton playwright, is about the production of the two person George Bernard Shaw play Village Wooing; a “two hander” is theatre parlance for a play with only two actors.
“Not to give away too much but tragedy befalls the company and they end up remounting the play three years later,” said Kaulback, hence the ‘… Or Two’ in the title.
The play features a cast of five and includes a mix of theatre veterans and rookies.
On the experience side, John Devitt plays Kevin Ross, the possibly mad or possibly genius director. Jacolyn Daniluck stars as Alison Plett, the actress in the play within the play. Kaulback said he worked with Daniluck in a previous play and “I was absolutely stunned at how good she was.”
“I’m pretty sad I didn’t get to take this to a festival because I’m pretty sure she would have won an award.”
The third veteran is Anita Hallewas, who plays Kelly Demaro, the stage manager. Hallewas has a degree in the theatre and runs Theatresports troupe in Revelstoke.
The two rookies are Graham Harper and Emily Beaumont and Kaulback had praise for both of them. Harper plays Greg Handey, Plett’s counterpart in the play
“It’s his first time on stage but he is a natural. He should have just been an actor,” he said.
Emily Beaumont is Dare Mereditth, the rookie set designer. Kaulback said she is perfect for her part as someone new to theatre.
“It works well, it gives her a sense in the first half of the naivety,” he said. “In the second half she’s had some success and that’s where I have to concentrate most of the acting lessons so she understands where she is at that point.”
The two first-timers came aboard in different ways. Harper was recruited because Kaulback was looking for a British actor for his part.
“I knew Graham and after about five words I thought, ‘I can work with this guy’ and after five minutes I said, ‘I’m really going to enjoy working with this guy.’”
Beaumont, meanwhile, came in to audition, and had little experience acting. “She was shy and retiring but after two minutes I thought she worked [for] the part really well,” said Kaulback.
Naturally, considering the play is about the staging of a play, Kaulback said aspects of the script ring true.
“The stuff that happens between the actors might not all happen in one play but it happens,” he said, adding that he’s dealt with actors suffering from a crisis of confidence and other problems that can arise.
Another Two Hander … Or Two opens Thursday, May 5 at the community centre at 7:30 p.m. It continues on May 6, 7, 12, 13 and 14. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. The two-act play runs about 90-minutes.