Lucas Myers is getting ready to introduce Revelstoke to Revelstoke.
The Nelson actor/playwright isn’t a stranger to the city, having entertained residents with his past one-man performances. But for Revelstoke Welcome Week, Nov. 18 to 26, Myers is bringing a show that should hit closer to home – in a good, laughter-provoking way.
Billed as Myers’ “comedy and music premier,” The Revelstoke Project was commissioned by the Revelstoke Arts Council for this year’s Welcome Week. Tasked to coming up with a play about the community, Myers began doing research in week-long visits beginning in January. He returned in February and again in the summer, each time “gathering material and going out and doing things Revelstokian in nature.” This involved doing things he was familiar with, like skiing, as well as things out of his comfort zone, such as snowboarding. For each outing, Myers carried a GoPro, shooting footage that will be incorporated into the play.
Myers said early on, he had an idea the play would focus on a character trying to figure out what he wants to be in Revelstoke, looking for an “in” by trying out all the things there is to do.
Over time, however, while interviewing various locals to get a better understanding of Revelstoke’s past, present and where it might be going, Myers’ vision for the play expanded to multiple characters, each with a particular angle or background.
“Because it’s happening during Welcome Week, I thought I’m going to play with the idea of all the people that are there…,” said Myers. “I’m going to play this character who hasn’t been in town very long… he was kind of hired or whatever to say this is how you be Revelstokian. It’s a bit absurd, like you have to choose a coffee shop to go to and only go to that coffee shop. There’s like a week grace period where you can try all of them, but after that you have to commit to one. I kind of play around with some of the things that are specific to Revelstoke and to small towns as well.”
Other characters include a woman who talks about finding a mate in Revelstoke, a guy who talks about life working for the railroad, and another man who is supposed to be discussing food security and the housing crisis, but becomes sidetracked talking about his relationship, and how it’s hard in a small town because there’s no anonymity.
“I want to be clear about this – at no point am I playing anybody who is in Revelstoke,” laughed Myers. “I’m not being Geoff Battersby or something. I interviewed a whole bunch of people and it was just to get information. I told them when I was interviewing them, the first thing I said was, ‘just so you know, I’m not finding the dark underbelly of Revelstoke here. I’m just gathering information and seeing what I can come up with.”
Myers acknowledges the awkwardness of a Nelson resident doing a play about Revelstoke, and says it’s unlike anything he’s ever done. At the same time, however, he said he’s been coming to the community for the past decade or so, and has seen it transition into what he’s calling a “golden age.”
(Golden Age happens to be the name of a song Myers will sing in the play to summarize the community’s history.)
“What’s always struck me is the sense of community that’s really present and really strong and I think is what’s attractive that sets it apart,” said Myers. “Like, I know it’s not a resort town, it’s a town with a resort, right. So that’s what sets it apart from say Banff or Whistler… And I think that’s why people are attracted to it, because of the sense of community. It doesn’t have that kind of glossy, this is just a little playground for rich people. No, there’s heart there, there’s a connection there.”
Asked if he’s nervous about doing the play, Myers said he’s comfortable with it because, ultimately, it is a show celebrating Revelstoke.
“Because it comes from a place of having fun and it being a comedy and wanting to make people laugh, and that’s what I like to do in my shows, I feel comfortable doing that,” said Myers.
The Revelstoke Project runs Thursday, Nov. 24 and Friday Nov. 25 at the Performing Arts Centre. Admission is by donation for both, with proceeds going to the food bank and the hospital helipad project.