Update: With all 18 performances of Cocktails at Pam’s sold out before the run was half over, it was an easy decision for the Langley Players to hold over the season’s first production for three more performances: Thursday, Nov. 20; Friday, Nov. 21; and, Saturday, Nov. 22.
Social intercourse can be a complex and intimidating prospect at the best of times.
Throw in a few doubts about proper party etiquette and the potential for an embarrassing misstep increases exponentially — with hilarious results.
That’s the premise of Langley Players fall production, Cocktails at Pam’s — a quirky comedy written by Edmonton playwright, Stewart Lemoine.
The play, which opens on Oct. 16 at the Langley Playhouse and continues until Nov. 15, takes a humorous look at that 1960s society staple — the ‘cocktail party’.
Attending a house party held during the dinner hour, at which only canapés are served, can leave guests wondering whether they should eat dinner before or after the party, while pompous guests have meaningless conversations with people they only tolerate.
Combine those elements with an anxious hostess who wants everything to be perfect and guests who just won’t co-operate, and Cocktails at Pam’s is an evening headed for disaster.
Langley Players’ first offering of the 2014-15 season is directed by club president Dave Williams and produced by longtime member and past-president, Mary Renvall.
The production marks Williams’ first time in the director’s chair. But he’s been involved with the drama group since 2007, when Renvall, a hairdresser, was directing a production of Maggie’s Getting Married and needed an actor with a particular look to play one of the male characters.
Williams, one of Renvall’s clients, fit the physical description.
“He was sitting in my chair and I asked him, ‘Have you ever acted?'”
Williams replied that, no, he’d never been on stage, but Renvall sent him home with a script anyway.
“He had no aspirations to act, and now he’s directing a cast of 11,” she chuckled.
For an amateur theatre company, landing Williams was something of a coup, said Renvall.
The retired principal is a talented visual artist who is also an accomplished carpenter and is good with people, she said.
“He’s very patient and he’s had a lot of support (in his directorial debut),” Renvall said.
“He’s a likable guy.”
“When I first saw Cocktails at Pam’s I thought it would be a delightful play to present to our Langley Playhouse audiences,” said Williams.
“The mid-century décor, designed by our award-winning team, fits a time period that many of our patrons can relate to – 1965, a time of change.
“The play is an ensemble piece with 11 characters, which gives 11 actors the chance to explore and define their uniquely quirky personalities,” he added.
Cocktails at Pam’s runs Thursdays to Sundays until Nov. 15 at the Langley Playhouse, 4307 200 St. in Brookswood. Show times are 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.
Because it’s a one-act play, with no intermission, the club is offering signature cocktails before the show.
All tickets are $15. Audiences are encouraged to book their seat early as several performances have already sold out.