The premiere date of the family drama-comedy Table Manners is quickly approaching at the Williams Lake Studio Theatre.
The second show in the Studio Theatre’s line up this year, after November in the month of November and before Much Ado About Nothing in March, Table Manners is being directed by acting veteran Michael Rawluk.
Born in Williams Lake, Rawluk has been involved in community theatre since 1970 acting in roughly 65 productions and directing close to 30.
Table Manners, Rawluk described, is the story of three adult siblings who, by a mix of happenstance and chance, all come home to care for their mother. As events progress turmoil in the family brews and all three siblings and their spouses are compelled to stay the weekend as the drama only grows.
Rawluk said that he chose the play for its humour, but most of all because of how well written and compelling its themes are. He added that the comedy of the play also leans more towards subtler “internal” humour rather than “laughing out loud humour.”
“I got a good cast, you know, they’ve really, in the last two weeks, picked up the pace especially once they got off book,” Rawluk said. “There’s no more prompting, so they’re thinking a little harder and they’re doing way better.”
Rawluk, his co-director, stage manager and eight actors have been rehearsing the play since September, with rehearsals really ramping up since they got access to the Studio Theatre with the conclusion of November last month.
While lines have now been memorized, Rawluk said what he wants from his actors more now is them remembering the history their characters have with one another. These moments may not play out on stage over the course of their run but they directly influence how their character behaves.
“As much as people change as they grow, relationships stay the same for some people. As you age, your relationship with your siblings do not necessarily age in the same way,” Rawluk observed.
Rawluk said that Table Manners runs from Jan. 16 to 19, Jan. 23 to 26 and Jan. 30 to Fed. 2 with the doors opening at 7:00 p.m. for a 7:30 p.m. show time.
Tickets are, as always $20 and are on sale at Kit and Kaboodle, The Open Book, online from the Williams Lake Studio Theatre website, or directly at the door.
“First two nights are the cheap nights,” Rawluk chuckled. “That’s quite a popular thing, those first two nights.”
He believes people in the lakecity will really enjoy the humour inherent in this drama and said that, like all his productions, he aims to make each show a relaxing night out.
Studio Theatre has also moved its show time back to 7:30 p.m. as an experiment for these next few shows, something he said has been asked for a while now.
Now, Rawluk hopes to be able to get people out and home at a decent hour, with a projected run time of two hours and 15 minutes, with intermission.
“As always, I’m enjoying working with actors,” he said. “Anybody who has not been on stage if they have any inclination they should try it because it is so much fun, you learn a lot and the people you get on stage with will become really close friends whom you form friendships with that will last a long time.”
The amount of work and volunteer hours that goes into each of these productions, from set design to construction, stage management, costumes, lighting and of course the acting Rawluk feels not only enriches all who take part but the community as a whole.