Julie-Anne Runge (left) and Lana Johnson rehearse Strangers on a Glade on stage at the Kersley Community Hall. Heather Norman photo

Kersley Players putting on Strangers on a Glade this weekend

The one-act play follows two very different sisters on a trek through the woods

Strangers on the Glade follows two sisters on a hike in the woods — one, an outdoors enthusiast, the other, a city girl who didn’t know what she was getting herself into. In the middle of the woods, the sisters’ conflict finally comes to a boiling point.

Written by Kersley resident Roy Teed, Strangers on a Glade is now being put on by the Kersley Players, a group of local thespians with a passion for the show.

Michael Diebolt is directing the show. It’s his first time in the director’s chair, but he says the transition has been helped by the intuitive actors in the show.

A year ago, when Diebolt was working and acting in Williams Lake, he says he was at rehearsal when someone on stage asked the director if they should move around more — the actor felt unnaturally riveted to their spot. “And I was sitting there like, I have no perspective of that,” says Diebolt.

Ever since, it’s been something he has been particularly cognizant of. “And all of a sudden, [I’m thinking of] where I am on stage and how long I’m in that spot. So, that became big focal point with this one too.

“[Strangers on a Glade] is an easy play, in a sense, to be planted. You just don’t want to have two people sitting here or standing here. So these girls do it really well here.”

The more the actors make use of the space they have on the stage, the better the show.

It’s particularly important for the actors in Strangers on a Glade because there are only two of them. In the one-act play, actors Julie-Anne Runge and Lana Johnson make a special effort to use the space as effectively as they can.

“It is a really great play in that sense, and both of them are really hitting their mark,” says Diebolt.

The show takes both actors through a wide emotional range and see their characters begin to finally reconcile their differences.

“There’s some fun little tidbits in between, but there’s also some heated stuff,” says Johnson, who plays Marnie in the production. “It’s a good opportunity to actually get to play with your emotions.”

Runge, who plays Gloria, adds: “There are a lot of misunderstandings.”

Although Johnson has been in several shows, Runge says she’s returning to the stage after 20 years away. Diebolt says it’s as if she never stopped acting.

READ MORE: Quesnel’s Paisley Players return with new, two-play show

The show runs about one hour in length and has been entirely pulled together by Diebolt, Johnson and Runge — with lighting, sound and prop help from Johnson’s boyfriend.

The backdrop spread across the stage took two eight-to-nine-hour days for the group to paint, and they built both of the trees on stage for the show, as well as making a couple large rocks.

The show is being performed on its own, rather than as part of a dinner theatre night — which is what the group usually puts on. Being a one-act play, the group thought it was too short to run as part of a dinner theatre event. Instead, it runs this week in Kersley and will also have a matinee performance next week as part of the B.C. Theatre’s Central Interior Zone Festival — which, if they win, will see them taking their show on to provincials.

Diebolt says the thing he is most looking forward to about the festival is the critique. He wants to know what the critic thinks of their use of space — and his first production as director.

He says he is also interested in what the critic thinks of the set and how they’ve pulled the show together with so few people.

“The play has been a ton of fun,” he says. “It’s been really tough because this is my first experience directing and we did it all.”

Although the group isn’t putting on the dinner theatre event — which typically is massively popular — they’re still hoping for a good turn out.

The show runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday (May 2, 3 and 4) at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Kersley Community Hall. Tickets are on sale at K-Max Games. The play will also be performed in the Central Interior Festival on May 11 at 12:30 p.m. Tickets for this show are not yet on sale.

Heather Norman
Community Reporter
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Lana Johnson rehearses for the Kersley Players show Strangers on a Glade.

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