What happens when you meet up with an old flame after 25 years?
A new play written and directed by Gino de Rose and performed by the Paisley Players has the answer.
Deja Date is one of two one-act plays the Paisley Players will be performing around town in the coming weeks and during the B.C. Theatre Central Interior Zone Festival in May.
The other play, Snowed, follows two couples visiting a cabin for a weekend of skiing — until tragedy befalls one of the people during a snowstorm.
“I’m really proud of Snowed,” says de Rose. “I think that is a really well-rounded play, and it is a departure from the usual comedies that I do. I like to think I’m a funny guy — some people may argue — but that one is a departure. It is a drama. And it — actually, they both kind of delve into human relations.”
Deja Date is a dramedy, while Snowed is a drama. The shows are performed together, with a 15-minute intermission in between.
The Paisley Players also put on a show last year, titled The Family Business, which saw a good turnout, particularly with people coming from away to see the show. One group came up from the Williams Lake Studio Theatre to watch the show, while another came from Vernon.
“It was fantastic. We had a person [who] I used to do shows with in Kersley who is living in Vernon now, who came specifically [to see the show]. That kind of thing, you can’t help but appreciate,” says de Rose.
De Rose started the Paisley Players 10 years ago, when he wanted to put on a show based on Monty Python, called An Evening with Monty.
The next show the group put on was Norm Foster’s Dear Santa, which allowed de Rose to involve his kids.
After Dear Santa, the Paisley Players went on hiatus for several years.
When de Rose wanted to start writing his own shows last year, he knew he wouldn’t be able to finish one if it if he didn’t have an end goal. “Writing the play is not enough. I have to have it up on stage, and really the only place I could do it is if I did it myself.”
He managed to find a group of actors to act in The Family Business, and this year, he has some returning actors and some new faces to put on his two new plays.
“It’s humbling when you see people actually willing to take up their time to put something like this on. I mean, I get a lot of ego gratification because yeah, it’s my work — but to see them come out and help and enjoy what they’re doing … It’s quite humbling. It really is.”
He says hours and hours of rehearsing go into a show, not to mention into creating the set and dealing with lights, audio and other backstage work.
One of the actors in the show is Kristina Kennedy, who acted in her first play last year with the Kersley Players.
“I had a weird form of stage fright where I hated [having an] audience,” says Kennedy. She volunteered to help out backstage for a production by the Kersley Players last year when they assigned her a script and a part instead.
“But I did it, and it was a lot of fun. A lot, a lot of fun. So, Gino contacted me because we work together and he said ‘hey, did you wanna take part in ours?’”
Kennedy plays Karen in Deja Date, one of the characters responsible for the comic relief in the show.
While Kennedy is doing her second show, another actor, Micheal Diebolt, returned to acting a few years ago in Whitehorse and has also performed in Williams Lake. Now living in Quesnel, he worked backstage on The Family Business and is now in acting in both Deja Date and Snowed.
“This is just one of those things — I have a full-time job that keeps me extremely busy, but [I just enjoy] being on stage and entertaining and playing the part of somebody else, and, hopefully, giving somebody a few laughs.”
The group also includes actors Victoria Calihou, Aimis Marion and Evelyn Storie. De Rose also has a role in one of the shows.
“It’s a learning process,” says de Rose. “The thing with writing, I’ve found, is that you never, ever finish rewriting it. Even when you think: ‘Oh, this is the one, this is finished,’ there’s always something that can be tightened up, improved, made better, or there’s a loophole, etc.
“But that’s the beauty of writing. It’s why I really enjoy it.”
The Paisley Players are performing at the Billy Barker Casino on April 24, 25 and 26 at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the venue and will include a $5 coupon toward the purchase of food or drink.
They will also be performing at the Quesnel Legion on May 2 and 3. The show is part of a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for the Legion. The dinner starts at 5 p.m., and the show starts at 6:30 p.m. Tickets will are available at the venue.
The group will also perform at the Kersley Community Hall in the B.C. Theatre Central Interior Zone Festival from May 9 to 12.