The Williams Lake Studio Theatre’s Cherry Docs won big this weekend at the Central Interior Zone Festival in Kersley.
The intense, two-man drama by David Gow is one that thrills and captivates its audience and is the final play in the 2018/19 season. At the awards banquet, the cast and crew were delighted to receive a total of five of the festival’s 18 awards.
First to be snagged by the WLST production was an award for Best Set, designed and built by Jamie Regier, Carl Johnson and Andrew Tyrrel. This was followed shortly by Best Lighting, which lighting designer Cathie Hamm had to completely redesign for the new stage.
On the acting side of things, both Gabriel Zamorano and Shane Tollefson proved a powerful force, with their chemistry making the play work. Best Actor, however, could only go to one man with Zamorano’s intense and transformative performance winning him the award.
“The audience was very engaged. You could hear a pin drop when Gabriel and I were going at it,” Tollefson said. “All the other plays that weekend, you could hear chairs shuffling, people fidgeting, but not Cherry Docs. The energy we had onstage had people leaning in and totally receptive.”
The entire production could not have happened without the work of director Merla Monroe, who herself was recognized for all her efforts with the award for Best Director. She has directed several plays before, one of which went to festival and didn’t win and she said it felt very good to win an award for directing.
To cap all these awards off, adjudicator Christopher Weddell awarded Monroe and the entire cast and crew of Cherry Docs the prestigious honour of Best Production. This announcement was met with a standing ovation from the crowd while the cast and crew hugged one another and cheered.
“I’m just really proud of the whole team. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to work with,” Monroe said.
According to Sheryl-Lynn Lewis, a longtime theatre member who went along to support the Williams Lake contingent, Weddell, a professional director in his own right, was visibly moved emotionally after watching the production. Tollefson confirmed this and said that he was verklempt, Yiddish for too emotional to speak.
From here Cherry Docs goes on to Theatre BC’s Mainstage Festival held this year in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island July 5-13. Monroe said that she and the entire cast and crew are looking forward to going down to compete with the big guys.
Lakecity crowds can still catch Cherry Docs at the Studio Theatre from May 15-18 starting at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 7 p.m.