A Langley playwright will soon get the chance to show off his work in one of the most picturesque — if unusual — theatre settings Vancouver has to offer.
Shane Rochon’s play, Screaming Silently, has been accepted as an official submission to the Vancouver International Fringe Festival and will be performed in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in September.
Written in 2008, Screaming Silently tells the story of four grown siblings who reunite for their father’s memorial service.
The deceased, a famous film director, leaves behind a controversial legacy.
As the siblings face each other and themselves, they uncover family secrets no one is expecting.
It is, said Rochon, “a play that reminds us all that it is never too late to make things right.”
“It has an optimistic, hopeful message — that life goes on.”
Screaming Silently began as a youth-centered project, but over the years, adults have come to see it and have related to its message of forgiveness, said Rochon, 30, who also plays one of his characters.
“I like to write about what people are going through, and my own experiences, too.
“If you don’t tap into what people are going through, you’re not going to have an impact,” he said.
Rochon, who came to B.C. from Quebec five years ago, soon launched a small drama company called “me2You Productions,” which was targeted at youth and young adults who wanted to give acting a try, and to be challenged to portray complex characters.
Back in Montreal, Rochon had attended Dawson College and then worked for five years before opting to head west.
“I came to a point where I needed a change of pace and scenery,” he said of his decision to move to B.C.
“I didn’t know anyone here. I just packed up my belongings and came.”
Drawn by the reputation of Christian Life Assembly church, Rochon settled in Langley.
Last March, he mounted a production titled Limbo to coincide with Freedom Week — a week targeted to raise awareness of human trafficking — held in Langley City.
Then he turned his attention to Vancouver’s Fringe Festival, for which he decided to dust off his first play, which has been reworked and partially recast over several performances since its debut.
It is being directed by Heather Dallas.
Unsuccessful in the lottery, which is the sole method used to determine which productions will play on Fringe Festival stages on and around Granville Island, Rochon opted to take the BYOV approach.
“Bring Your Own Venue” offers theatre groups the opportunity to find their own place to play, and yet still be an official part of the festival.
Even though he will be well away from the main event, Screaming Silently “is still part of the festival,” said Rochon. “It’s just not on Granville Island, but it’s mentioned in all the publicity.”
Between now and Fringe time, audiences will have three chances to check out the play, as Rochon mounts it in Abbotsford, East Vancouver, Fort Langley and Surrey.
The cast includes a med student, a food caterer, a teacher, a playwright, a high school student and an RCMP chaplain.
There is no charge to attend any of the productions, but donations will be accepted, Rochon said, explaining the play is being done on a shoestring budget, with all the props brought from home, purchased at Value Village or built for the occasion.
On Friday, June 17, the play will come to Living Waters Assembly, 9095 Glover Rd. in Fort Langley. Start time is 7:30 p.m.
On Sept. 16, again at 7:30 p.m. it will be staged at New Life Assembly, 8868 128 St. in Surrey.
At Fringe, Rochon’s play will be featured Sept. 10, 13 and 14 at 7 p.m. in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden, 578 Carrrall St., Vancouver.
Go to vancouverfringe.com/line-up/ to learn more.