Langley’s Cassie Unger and Lauren Trotzuk star in Theatre in the Country’s Christmas production of The Gift of the Magi, which is being livestreamed this weekend and next. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Langley’s Cassie Unger and Lauren Trotzuk star in Theatre in the Country’s Christmas production of The Gift of the Magi, which is being livestreamed this weekend and next. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: COVID once again shutters Langley theatre, forcing show online

Theatre in the Country and fistful of local actors bring Christmas online with The Gift of the Magi

Shuttered once again by COVID restrictions, Theatre in the Country (TIC) is livestreaming its Christmas production.

Five actors from Langley have taken to the stage, and consequently the screen, to offer up a fully produced and livestreamed production of O’Henry’s famous short story – The Gift of the Magi – said TIC’s artistic director Reg Parks.

“As for everyone, COVID has been pretty rough on theatre. We are no exception. We had our Christmas show almost ready when the new orders came in and we had to change our plans significantly,” he explained.

Wouldn’t you know, this is the show where we have more Langley based artists than ever before,” Parks added.

Langley residents Robbie Burns, Maurice Kimball, Lauren Trotzuk, and Cassie Unger are the performers in this socially distant performance of this romantic Christmas tale that started Friday and will include two more showings next weekend.

Also from Langley is Allan Thorpe, music professor at TWU, who accompanies the show live on the keyboard.

This is the first TIC show for Burns and Trotzuk.

This musical production has been “beautifully re-imagined” by Canada’s own renowned composer and writer, Leslie Arden, said Parks.

The story of The Gift of the Magi concerns James and Della Valentine, a young couple who, despite their poverty, individually resolve to give each other an elegant gift on Christmas Eve. The price they pay and the example of love they offer is truly a story of Christmas love.

.

Change of plans

“The pandemic has devastated theatres around the world, Parks elaborated.

“From reduced crowd sizes to being completely shut down the impact on the art of drama has been brutal; however, it is hard to keep theatre artists down for long.”

From April to August, Theatre in the Country presented 21 shows online through Zoom.

In September, they cautiously re-opened at 25-per-cent capacity, masked performers and a new set of health and welfare protocols.

During the fall they were able to mount three fully produced stage shows, Last 5 Years, Sleuth, and Billy Bishop Goes to War.

Their Sleuth production lost it’s opening weekend when Parks, one of the lead actors in the show, experienced cold-like symptoms and had to wait for a COVID test results – it turned out to be negative.

Then, the make-up shows were cancelled the day before they were to go up, as the newest health orders were announced.

Rehearsals for The Gift of the Magi were already well under way, and the choice was made to take the show online, Parks explained.

Even then the show had to be trimmed back, so that all rehearsals and performances would adhere to new guidelines.

“In a heartbreaking choice the two youngest cast members had to be asked to not be in the show, so the rules could be followed. It was agonizing,” he explained.

With the shortened format of the show, the cast and crew got together to create seven pre-show pieces that will “delight” audiences before the main play begins, Parks said, noting the pre-show includes songs, readings, ballet, recitations, a bassoon and piano duet, and a pre-recorded elf sketch starring the two young girls who had to bow out of the main show.

“The journey of theatre in the time of COVID has been full of abrupt twists and turns, but the dedication of artists and the determination of the crews and workers has made finding a way to make theatre happen possible,” said the impressed artistic director.

“Theatre in the Country could not be more proud of our vast group of volunteer performers and technicians who have made this year one of the most creative and inspiring on record.”

The Gift of the Magi ran last Friday and Saturday, and is set to livestream again next Friday and Saturday, Dec. 18 and 19. Tickets are available at theatreinthecountry.com or by calling the box office at 604-259-9737.

.

_______________________________

Is there more to this story?

Email: news@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_______________________________

CoronavirusLangleyTheatre

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Langley’s Robbie Burns and Cassie Unger star in Theatre in the Country’s Christmas production, The Gift of the Magi, that is being livestreamed this weekend and next. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Langley’s Robbie Burns and Cassie Unger star in Theatre in the Country’s Christmas production, The Gift of the Magi, that is being livestreamed this weekend and next. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Langley’s Robbie Burns, Cassie Unger, Maurice Kimball (upstairs), and Lauren Trotzuk star in Theatre in the Country’s Christmas production of The Gift of the Magi, that is being livestreamed this weekend and next. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Langley’s Robbie Burns, Cassie Unger, Maurice Kimball (upstairs), and Lauren Trotzuk star in Theatre in the Country’s Christmas production of The Gift of the Magi, that is being livestreamed this weekend and next. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Just Posted

Wes Barker, second from left, with fellow Big Trick Energy show performers on “Ellen,” in video posted to youtube.com.
VIDEO: On ‘Ellen,’ former Langley man works magic with new ‘Big Trick Energy’ gang

A decade ago, Wes Barker quit his job with the City of Surrey to do magic professionally

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020.   THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More Langley-area business closed due to COVID-19

Any business with three or more cases among employees can be closed

Vancouver Giants victorious over the Royals in Kamloops Thursday, April 15. The G-Men won, 4-0. (Allen Douglas/Special to Black Press Media)
VIDEO: Giants young goalie shutouts Victoria, 4-0

The Langley-based WHL team earn another victory over the Royals Thursday in Kamloops

Critter Care’s first ever 50/50 winner is Kim Madill, who took home $28,852.50. (Critter Care/Special to The Star)
Winner takes home $28,852.50 through Critter Care’s first virtual 50/50

Kim Madill instantly donated part of the funds to the Langley-based wildlife society

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is moving forward on efforts to help citizens of Hong Kong remain in Canada rather than have to return. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Painful Truth: Canada’s immigration hopes may not be enough in post-COVID world

In a world of declining birth rates and rising wealth, where do new Canadians come from?

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Nick Warmerdam and his dog Diesel are inviting locals to check out the Lakeland Farm U-pick Flower Farm this spring. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
VIDEO & SLIDESHOW: Abbotsford’s Lakeland Flowers opens for spring

Tulip farm attraction opened on April 14, open to the public daily seven days a week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

The female driver of this Jeep Grand Cherokee (right) was driving erratically with a young child inside on Highway 1 eastbound. After hitting a barrier and a parked car, she finally exited the highway at Yale Road West and came to a stop. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Video captures woman driving erratically with child after hitting barrier, car on Hwy 1 in Chilliwack

Smoke seen coming from SUV as it continues to travel eastbound of shoulder of highway

Former Pitt Meadows city councillor David Murray was convicted of sex assault, and is now being sued by the victim. (files)
Former Pitt Meadows city councillor sued for sex assault

David Murray was convicted in 2017 of sexually assaulting a teen 25 years earlier

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Most Read