Mike Busswood

Mike Busswood

Langley Players Spring play, festival entry opens April 16

Escape from Happiness is a gritty but entertaining dark comedy by award-winning Canadian playwright George F. Walker.

Langley Players’ spring production, Escape from Happiness, is a gritty but entertaining dark comedy by award-winning Canadian playwright George F. Walker. It is directed by Helen Embury and produced by Leslie Gaudette.

Walker’s plays have been performed throughout the world. He is one of Canada’s most-decorated playwrights, with two Governor-General’s Performing Arts Awards for Drama — for Criminals in Love and Nothing Sacred (Walker’s adaptation of Ivan Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons). In 2009, he received a third Governor-General’s award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, Canada’s highest honour in the performing arts. In 2006, Walker was named a member of the Order of Canada.

“I was drawn to this play because of the very real, endearing characters developed by the playwright,” says director Helen Embury.

“As they struggle against ‘the world out there,’ they are not always successful. And yet as we empathize with their predicaments, we can’t help but laugh at their off-the-wall logic.

“This is the first time Langley Players have produced a George Walker play and our audiences will be in for a drama with many twists and turns.”

The Quinns, the family at the centre of George F. Walker’s dark, domestic comedy, Escape from Happiness, is dysfunctional yet entertaining. The play takes place in the kitchen of a rundown house in a not-so-classy part of a large city. It is home to Nora, an oddball, middle-aged woman; her three daughters, who display a variety of neuroses; and an older man who may or may not be the girls’ father. When the youngest daughter’s husband is beaten up by local thugs, the family is thrown into crisis. Two criminals of questionable intelligence and two police officers who approach policing from different perspectives help to make Escape from Happiness a very funny, black, slice-of-life comedy.

Cast members are Jacq Ainsworth, Joanna Williams, Philip Hale, Mike Busswood, Shane Rochon, Mahara Sinclaire, Judith Betzler, Brian Johnston, Chris Carver and Rebecca Strom.

Escape from Happiness runs Thursdays to Sundays from April 16 to May 16 at the Langley Playhouse, 4307 — 200 Street in Brookswood. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15. Patrons should be aware the play contains some coarse language.

For reservations, visit http://www.langleyplayers.com/reservations.html or buy tickets online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/producer/133005. Patrons may also email reservations@langleyplayers.com or call 604-534-7469.

Escape from Happiness will be the Langley Players’ entry to the Fraser Valley Zone Festival, which this year will be held at the Langley Playhouse May 17 to 23.