St. Albert Theatre Troupe ends the season in a most unlikely setting – a funeral parlour. And yet An Evening of One Acts, now running at the Kinsmen Banquet Hall, is a most appealing show.
Director Cory Christensen combines Jeffrey Hatcher’s Three Viewings with Le Wilhelm’s comedic The Power and the Glory for a night fuelled with emotions that range from bittersweet to laugh-out-loud.
Hatcher’s Three Viewings are basically three monologues about stories of life, death and all the secrets people hide in between.
The 30-minute monologues hinge on the actors’ story-telling abilities as they slowly peel away their character’s guarded layers. And the actors deliver in spades.
The show opens with Tell Tale, where Emil, a repressed funeral director, is hopelessly infatuated by Tessie, a real estate agent who drums up business by handing out business cards at funerals.
Too moonstruck to reveal his true emotions, he just stares at her across a crowded room mouthing, “I love you, I love you, I love you” hoping she will turn and see his passion.
Even though incredibly fearful of rejection, he sets a date to divulge his love. Unfortunately, in a knife-to-the-heart moment, he never gets that chance.
Dale Wilson’s tongue-tied portrayal of a middle-aged man grabbing one last chance at love is at once sad, heart-warming and humorous, a completely universal and relatable reflection.
In the second story, Thief of Tears, Mac is a high roller who finances her lifestyle robbing corpses – including her own grandmother.
Mac is so skilled as a coffin robber, she bends down to kiss a corpse at a viewing and leaves with a pair of ruby earrings in her mouth. She later fences them for $3,000.
Now she’s at the funeral of her own grandmother and can’t resist stealing the old lady’s prized ring, one Mac believes is rightfully hers.
Unfortunately for Mac, stealing the ring forces her to deal with a dark secret from the past she has refused to accept.
Dressed in black leather, actor Rita Jensen, renowned for her natural comedic chops, switches gears successfully portraying a tragic figure facing her own mortality. And the few times Jensen uses humour it is subtle, befitting Mac’s “bi-polar, bi-sexual drug addict” personality.
In the third playlet, Thirteen Things About Ed Carpolotti, actor Judy McFerran delivers a commanding performance that anchors the entire show.
Virginia is a widow whose husband died leaving her with a massive debt to the bank, a mobster and a brother-in-law. Each one expects her to pay up, and McFerran uses a series of well-appointed accents to portray each character.
Hatcher gives Virginia great lines and McFerran uses every ounce of her two-decade theatrical experience to create a dynamic, funny, warm woman as the play careens towards a delightful twist ending.
The night’s final show, The Power and The Glory, changes scenery to a glass elevator. Two women, without any underwear, step into the elevator. Wanda (Francie Goodwin-Davis) is discouraged about romance. Inez (Elizabeth Marsh) tries to cheer Wanda up by encouraging her to lift up her skirt.
Approximately 10 minutes long, this skit is tacked on to ensure people leave the theatre in an upbeat mood. Filled with subtle sexual innuendo, and the actors’ vibrant interpretations, it was a fitting finale to the more sombre funeral stories.
An Evening of One Acts runs April 29, May 4 to 6, and May 11 to 13.
An Evening of One-Acts
St. Albert Theatre Troupe
April 29, May 4 to 6, and May 11 to 13
Kinsmen Banquet Hall
47 Riel Dr.
Dinner Theatre Tickets: $50 to $55. Call 780-222-0102 or visit www.stalbertheatre.com