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Theatre troupe meets again

Same Time Next Year latest offering by St. Albert Theatre Troupe

By: Anna Borowiecki

  |  Posted: Saturday, Feb 08, 2014 06:00 am

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  • COMEDIC TIMING – Beverly Luckett-Nafe has displayed a knack for comedic lines as a regular member of the St. Albert Theatre Troupe.
    COMEDIC TIMING – Beverly Luckett-Nafe has displayed a knack for comedic lines as a regular member of the St. Albert Theatre Troupe.
    VANLEEUWEN PHOTOGRAPHY/Supplied photo
  • DIRECTOR – Katie Elliott is the director of Same Time Next Year.
    DIRECTOR – Katie Elliott is the director of Same Time Next Year.
  • HE'S BACK – Global Edmonton's Kevin O'Connell returns to the stage after a 25-year absence.
    HE'S BACK – Global Edmonton's Kevin O'Connell returns to the stage after a 25-year absence.

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Preview

Same Time, Next Year
Feb. 13 to 15, 20 to 22, 27-28 and March 1
Kinsmen Korral
47 Riel Dr.
Tickets: $50/adults; $45/seniors; and $45 group of 20 or more. Call 780-222-0102 or online at www.stalberttheatre.com

It’s been a spectacular few weeks as St. Albert Theatre Troupe readies to host one of the most charming romantic comedies of the late 1970s.

The community dinner theatre company is mounting Same Time Next Year. It opens for a three-weekend run at Kinsmen Korral on Thursday, Feb. 13.

Penned by TV writer Bernard Slade, it was popularized by film stars Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn. Same Time Next Year follows two people who meet by chance during a weekend getaway at a quaint country inn in northern California and have a brief affair.

They are both happily married to other people. But they don’t want to stop seeing each other. As a compromise they agree to meet once every year at the same inn.

The two-hander starts in 1951 with a total time span of 25 years. Scenes are presented in five-year increments. Throughout the long-running affair, the audience witnesses changes in America and its lifestyle over the course of a quarter century.

“It’s interesting to see how the changes affect them over the years. There’s almost a role reversal. Everything is changing and they’re trying to keep hold of themselves. And in changing, are they losing a part of themselves or are they creating a better version,” notes director Katie Elliott.

The troupe adds a dash of lustre as Kevin O’Connell, celebrity weather reporter from Global TV plays George, a slightly quirky, neurotic New Jersey accountant.

And Beverly Luckett-Nafe, (Hotbed Hotel, Wife Begins at Forty) brings a wealth of experience to the role of the warm, level-headed Doris.

A regular member of the St. Albert Theatre Troupe (SATT) stable for two seasons, Luckett-Nafe has displayed a knack for comedic lines.

On the other hand, O’Connell is returning to stage after an absence of about 25 years. SATT founder Mark McGarrigle, a good friend of the television personality, persuaded O’Connell to “throw in the hat” and take another shot at live theatre.

O’Connell developed his acting chops while enrolled in Red Deer College’s BFA theatre studies program. The intense acting program stretched his abilities with a variety of roles from Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night to the more modern Music Man.

After graduation, a position opened up at CKRD-TV, and the young actor was invited to fill in. The temporary position grew into a full-time career as talk-show host for Live with Kevin O’Connell. And the move to Global simply amplified his stature.

“I loved the character development,” said O’Connell after reading the Same Time Next Year script. “This is ground-breaking for the ’50s. An affair was probably not a thing that was talked about. But as it progresses, it becomes a far more normal thing. There’s less of a feeling you have to hide.

In addition to the carefully constructed intimacy and humour, the two characters share numerous personal struggles – births, deaths, politics, marital problems and loyalty.

“I don’t know if I could have done this 20 years ago. You need life experience to do this,” said O’Connell in one of his many candid moments.

In creating his character, O’Connell promises a slightly different interpretation of George.

“My character has a little bit more anger than Alan Alda’s did. It’s brought on by the feelings of guilt. But at the same time there’s a light-heartedness in his own personal beliefs. He does enjoy his life, much as he likes to complain.”

As for his stage partner Luckett-Nafe, they hit it off right away even socializing a few times together.

“Beverly has great strength as a person and she brings that strength to her character. She has good confidence and I can read her. We know each other and can react instantly to each other.”

And does he feel any unusual pressures after being off the stage for two decades?

“I’m used to the pressure. I do live TV and I’m used to reacting and going with the flow. Maybe I’ll be a little nervous on opening night.”

For more information visit www.stalberttheatre.com.


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