Gallery 7 Theatre will launch its 29th annual season of theatre with their third annual Abby Theatre Fest, an exciting festival of one-act plays featuring six entertaining stories that will explore a variety of thought-provoking themes. Running October 2 – 5, 2019, the Festival will be held at the Yale Secondary School Theatre in Abbotsford.
“I’m really excited about this year’s line-up of short plays,” says Ken Hildebrandt, executive artistic director of Gallery 7 Theatre. “Of the five plays we’re presenting this year, four are written by playwrights from the Fraser Valley and the Lower Mainland. In keeping with the tradition of this fringe-style festival, all of the shows will take some risks in terms of story, artistry and thematic content.”
While the plays will explore more mature themes, Hildebrandt indicates that the shows still fit with the mandate of theatre. “Our mandate is to explore the human experience with a vision towards hope, reconciliation and redemption. Abby Theatre Fest allows us to produce works that are more edgy and stretch artistic limits but may not find a home on our mainstage. The plays are just as compatible with who we are as a theatre organization, and the festival allows us to have fun with a lesser produced theatrical format that is the one-act, short play.”
Hildebrandt is quick to add that there is a lot more to Abby Theatre Fest than just the plays. “Abby Theatre Fest gives emerging and established directors, playwrights, performers and theatre artists from through-out the region a chance to explore and develop their talents,” he says. “Three shows will receive their world premiere at the festival.”
This shows to be presented at this year’s festival include:
- Letters to Myself, an original play written and performed by Ryan Scramstad. Description: A comedic coming of age story of what we do when the voices in our head start arguing with each other. What happens when a conservative upbringing confronts a liberal arts career?
- Space Junk, a new comedy written and directed by Chilliwack playwright, Eldon Letkeman. Description: We’re pretty sure the future won’t be so different from today. Meet Bill and Tonya, two hapless people who are just looking for a job. After securing employment on a rusty old space freighter, they get more than they bargained for. Throw in an old ship captain, a mercenary and a space pirate and now we have ourselves a story! Will they rise to the challenge and be the heroes they were never really meant to be or are they destined to be lost like space junk in the great vacuum of the cosmos?
- Relative Strangers, a play by Sheri Wilner and directed by Chris Taylor. Description: A hilarious comedy about two women stuck on a plane to Charleston, SC: Marie Harvey, a bitter woman on her way to her divorce hearing, and Marie Barrett, a spunky young woman of 25. After some motherly advice, Barrett sets on a quest of making Harvey her new mother by asking all her burning questions like, “what to drink when your tummy is upset?” and “what does breast feeding feel like?”… all aided by a sarcastic stewardess! Relative Strangers is a show full of humor, love, and a touch of mother’s intuition.
- The Wake of Leroy McGuinness¸ an original comedy by Abbotsford playwrights, The Brothers Hanly, and directed by Sue Backs. Description: Leroy McGuinness has met his untimely end and we would like to invite youse to his untimely wake. Who in tarnation did away with Leroy? Why on earth would anyone want to send him to the sweet by and by? Did he make it or is he in need of a little redemption? Please join us at his wake (too soon, too soon) in sayin’ our so longs to Leroy. This wake is an inerestin’ mix of ol’ time cinema shadow puppetry, original music and live action (and we mean live action)! No need for gifts.
- Don’t Forget to Dress the Dummies, a new comedy by Lower Mainland playwrights, Dianna Fast and Heather Tekavec and directed by Dianna Fast. Description: In a 1950’s department store, Isabella has the very important job of dressing the mannequin in the window every day. Amazingly, she notices that whatever she puts on the dummies, passersby are wearing the next day. Playfully, Isabella puts more and more ridiculous outfits on the dummies to see what the people will do and, sure enough, they always copy. But the sales ladies have had enough. So with a little smug cunning, they distract Isabella and well, general hilarity ensues.
“There’s lots of great heart, soul and mind theatre at this year’s festival. I encourage everyone to come out and show their support for locally grown, locally developed and locally produced live theatre!” Hildebrandt continues. “I think audiences are in for a fun and entertaining theatre experience that will also challenge and inspire.”
All shows will run all days of the festival though start times will vary from day to day. For full details on each show, including language warnings and start times, as well as on how to purchase tickets, please visit www.gallery7theatre.com. Individual shows are $15.00/person or you can purchase a festival pass that includes admission to all 6 shows for $45.00. The festival will be held at the Yale Secondary School Theatre, 34620 Old Yale Road in Abbotsford.