Brad Lawryk turns 50 this year so he couldn’t think of a more fitting play for his first directing adventure than the comedy The Big Five-Oh by Brian Mitchell.
“I happened to be turning 50 this year so it seemed fitting,” Lawryk says.
“It’s been a great learning experience. I was lucky enough to surround myself with some really good mentors on stage and behind the scenes.”
Long-time Studio Theatre member Curt Sprickerhoff was his directing mentor.
“He was tremendous,” Lawryk says.
Well-known lakecity actors Becky Strickland and Jay Goddard, who command the lead roles, also offered tips along the way.
Lawryk, by day web designer with his company Auroratec, has acted in two Studio Theatre plays, done some stage managing and worked on sound for other plays.
He played the goalie, Charlie, in The Good Game and the elderly Norman Thayer in On Golden Pond. “It was a stretch but you’ve got to challenge yourself,” Lawryk says.
His cast in The Big Five-Oh is a mix of seasoned, relatively new, and brand new actors coming together to meet the challenge of this comedy kicking off the Studio Theatre season Wednesday, Nov. 6 to 9 and Wednesday, Nov. 13 to 16.
Whoever said life is better after 50 had better be right, reads the introduction to the play.
The Big Five-Oh is a hilarious, sometimes touching account of a grown man coming to terms with his age, his relationship with his son, and his future. It is the story of a middle-aged man finally growing up.
George Thomas, played by Jay Goddard, is turning 50 on Saturday, and it has been a terrible week.
His dog is sick, his son, Eric, played by newcomer Scott Smithson, is a slacker, and his daughter, Julie, played by Terra Mcguire, wants to marry a Republican, Douglas, played by Christopher Hutton.
A new recruit from high school theatre, Raylene Frances Tate plays Sara Donovan, one of George’s students.
Filling out the cast are George’s neurotic wife, Marie, played by Becky Strickland, and a widowed neighbour, Kathy Walters, played by well-known lakecity singer and actor, Sandi Alaric, who together provide more challenges than even George can overcome, making this possibly the worst week of his life.
Through these trying days, George will discover the wonders of family, the responsibilities of parenthood, and the results of his latest physical examination.
Back stage there will be many people supporting this production, which is why the Studio Theatre always welcomes newcomers.
Micheal Hodgson is stage managing; Rae Perry is producing; Stacey Poirier is in charge of costumes; Cathie Hamm, Terry Lyons, and John Walsh are on lights and sound; Chris Armstrong is in charge of props and assistant stage managing; Maggie Pugh is heading up the front-of-house team welcoming patrons; Tanis Faye Daum creates the hair and make-up; Michael Rawluk is behind the camera taking production photos, and Craig Smith is taking the cast and crew photos.
Tony Savile headed up the set building and painting crew which included Michael Rawluk, Jay Goddard, Scott Smithson, Brad Lawryk, Sheryl-Lynn Lewis, Chris Armstrong, Terry Lyons, and Shane Tollefson.