As the 2018/2019 season comes to an end, the Williams Lake Studio Theatre is gearing up for the first production of the 2019/2020 season, Cariboo Magi.
This year marks the Williams Lake Studio Theatre’s 65th year of operation and is something the director of Cariboo Magi, Cathie Hamm, is proud to celebrate with her latest effort. Cariboo Magi will be a dinner theatre production, the Studio Theatre’s first since Anything That Moves in 2018, and as a result, will be as much like a party as Hamm can make it. She plans to make it a dynamic and fun performance happening all across the TRU Gymnasium space they’ll be using for the run.
The play is a production set during the time of the Barkerville Gold Rush and is a take on the biblical tale of the Three Wise Men, better known as the Three Magi. Set at Christmas time, the play follows a collection of misfits and outcasts who form a theatre troupe in San Diego to answer a call for actors for the Theatre Royale in Barkerville.
This troupe of liars is made up of a drunken failed Anglican Minister, a greedy saloon keeper with darkness in her past, a pregnant former child star who has grown too old for her roles and a poetically romantic man who claims to be the last of the Mohicans. Together, the four brave the long trek north to Barkerville, rehearsing productions along the way and learning how to legitimize their true talent as professional liars. As Hamm puts it though, once they arrive in Barkerville on Christmas Eve with an eight and half month pregnant woman, chaos ensues.
“I need four, high energy people,” Hamm said. “I’m looking for 15 to 40 years of age for the actors, two male, two female.”
Specifically, she needs a young man who will play the main character, who has to be poetic, comfortable with poetic dialogue and able to bounce around all over the place.
Opposite of him is an older, disenchanted man who will be able to bring the tone of the play down while playing a drunken minister.
The child actress, the lead’s girlfriend, will need to be able to act pregnant but active, and match the energy of the production. Hamm is also in need of an older woman to play the saloon keeper who will have to be able to do either a bad French accent or a good French accent. Either works for the role.
Auditions are Tuesday, June 11 and Thursday, June 13 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Williams Lake Studio Theatre and will consist of warm-up exercises, poetry and then the reading of parts of the play.
“Everybody is welcome, they don’t have to come with an audition profile, they just come,” Hamm said, adding anyone who wants to just come and watch is also welcome.
“I want (the play) to be a party. I want it to be fun and take this script and run with it,” Hamm said.
Mary-Jo Hilyer, Hamm’s partner and the president of the Williams Lake Studio Theatre Society, will be producing the production and is also looking forward to celebrating 65 years of theatre in Williams Lake with this production.
“We want people who are just willing to learn, no acting experience necessary, willing to learn and just put their heart into it and go. We can teach everything else,” Hilyer said.
Hilyer added that some of the productions behind the scenes tech roles are still available and encourages interested parties to contact the Studio Theatre. Props, sound and stage crew are all still needed among other roles.
As this play marks the 65th anniversary of the Williams Lake Studio Theatre, Hilyer wanted it to be clear this production is meant to be a celebration of everything theatre and all it offers the community. With a laugh, Hamm added she’s been looking forward to doing it for a long time as she did “a real downer” for the 6oth anniversary.
Cariboo Magi will enjoy a run from Nov. 13 to Nov. 23, with two dessert productions, six dinner productions and one brunch production on a Sunday.
The first two nights, the desert nights, will go for $35 a person while the rest of the run will go for $65 a person.
Both Hamm and Hilyer welcome everyone to both these auditions and the theatre and looks forward to seeing another year of quality productions on stage.