The Potato Dreams community theatre project is in the final days of rehearsal before opening night on June 30.
“It’s been interesting creating a play without a script,” says director Debra McNie. “It’s been fun.”
Potato Dreams is historical fiction with the original script written by McNie with elements added by the actors and songs written by Pharis Romero and Carl Johnson.
McNie says the production has morphed into its own identity with contributions from the actors and musicians who came out to participate in the play’s development.
“It’s all about dreams and imaginary friends,” McNie says.
“Where I started isn’t where I thought I would end up and that’s the way I like it. It is very much a collective community project. Watch for imaginary friends as they may show up where you least expect it.”
One of the scenes called Depression Potato is based on a letter McNie received from Peggy McKinlay whose parents homesteaded at 70 Mile House, then relocated to Vancouver during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Peggy’s parents split up and her mother was never at home so at age four Peggy found herself caring for her older brothers ages six and eight.
Potatoes played a big part in Peggy’s life in those days because for reasons she didn’t understand the potato farmers were dumping their potatoes. But one kind trucker couldn’t bare to see the potatoes dumped while children were starving and called all the neighborhood children over to the dump site, gave them potatoes and showed them how to roast them.
Helen Sandy also provides a dream sequence called Urban Indian about a First Nations woman who has a conversation with an imaginary hip-hop dancer.
Jesaja Class brings his Magical Jesaja’s Mystical Potato Dream Show! to the production.
The cast, in order of appearance, includes Madison Lindsay, as Bella, the young Isabella, Chris Hutton as the father Andre, Lana Wright as the Spirit, and Sandi Alaric is the present day Isabella.
Drummers are Barbara Flach and Will Reirson.
Imaginary Friends include Cody Slinn as Sparkle, Johanne Lebrune as Jane, Rachel Folland as Jewel, and Liane Skellet as Blossom.
On the opening night only on June 30, McNie says Virginia Gilbert and three other women will give the play a blessing song.
The crew includes Lianne Skellet, stage manager, make-up and gal of many talents; and set builders Wayne Lamothe, Vic Rafuse and Bob McNie.
The whole cast contributed to costumes.
Potato Dreams will be on stage June 30 and July 4 at the Potato House at 49 Borland Street in Williams Lake.
Seating starts at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m.
In the event of inclement weather Potato Dreams will be rescheduled, McNie says.
All performances are by donation.
Dress rehearsals are also open to the public on June 25 and June 27 with seating starting at 6:30 p.m. and the shows starting at 7 p.m.
July 4 is also opening night for the Station House Gallery’s summer show Community Roots featuring work by local artists inspired by the Potato House Sustainability project.
McNie invites people to attend the opening at the gallery which starts at 5 p.m. Then at 6:15 p.m. follow the drummers over to the Potato House for the Potato Dreams play.
The Potato Dreams Community Theatre Project is presented by the Potato House Sustainable Community Society and made possible with support from the Cariboo Regional District and the City of Williams Lake, through The Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society as well as in-kind support from the community.
For more information contact McNie at 250-398-6344.