Five Medals for the Grizzly Valley Players

In a cute little Westphalia, a small sub-group of the Grizzly Valley Players headed down to Vancouver on Monday, September 14. In tow were Jean Pawlucki, Larry White and myself. My initial misgivings about going to the BC Senior Games (Richmond, BC) would be turned around by the end of the trip.

I had been approached several times about bringing any 55+ actors to the one-act play category for this provincial competition. It is regarded as an athletic forum and while there is arguably no bigger advocate of the arts than me, I didn?t feel a great pull towards attending this Seniors venue. Perhaps because I am so darn young .

A member of Tumbler Ridge Old Timer?s Society (T.R.O.T.S.) approached me about coming this year. Larry White, who had clearly been swooned by the same member, then approached me. I began to consider it.

Fast forward to September, after two and half months of rehearsals, usually at least two times a week. Both actors had large amounts of dialogue to memorize for the 40-minute play along with stage positions, mannerisms, speech inflections, intonations and you name it. I can be a taskmaster as a director.

We arrived in Vancouver early Tuesday morning and set out to register ourselves at the Olympic Oval on Wednesday. It was a bit of an ordeal getting there. We took the Canada Line mass transportation and then transferred over to a small shuttle bus that took us to the Oval. All the drama unfolded on the shuttle.

You see, we had bought our three tickets from the machine at the Canada Line station and the machine would not give a receipt. Ah, what do you do? It?s just a bus fare. So what? Then we got on the shuttle and gave the bus driver our ticket. As Jean and I finished, we looked about for a seat. All of a sudden our dear Mayor was stopped by the driver and asked where he got his ticket. He answered but she pressed on. She rephrased her words: ?Sir, who gave you this ticket? Who sold you this ticket?? Jean and I took notice and stayed standing. ?Sir this ticket it fraud.? she said very calmly but firmly. ?FRAUD?!? exclaimed Larry, quite shocked. Since my ears work as well as my eyes, I repeated, ?Broad? What?s a broad ticket?? Jean and I began figuring things out and started yipping at her like two ethnic women over a bargain bin. Eventually she was convinced the machine must have been faulty, but of course we had no receipt to prove it. All was calm again. Enough backdrop drama, let?s get to the real stuff.

Our full dress rehearsal was slated for Thursday, with the plays being performed for audience the next day. There were only four groups participating and we were happily informed that if we had not shown up to represent seniors outside of the Mainland, the one-act play category would have been cancelled. Another notch for the Northerners. Rehearsal went well, with no other people in the performance space other than the sound and lighting technician. The Gateway Theatre in Richmond had three studios/stages and appeared to have quite the thriving seniors theatre activities.

Come performance day, the cast was excited. As we waited our turn, the last slot of the day, we had seen all but one of the groups perform. Jean?s daughter had driven in from Renton, Washington and was extremely proud of her mom. She and I sat together watching the performance.

After all four plays were completed, the medals were awarded. I whole-heartedly congratulate both Larry for silver in Best Actor and Jean for bronze in Best actress, respectively. I had previously signed a waiver not allowing me to compete as Director due to the fact that I am so darn young (insert grumpy face here). Our play also won bronze for top three plays and everyone was pretty happy with the end result. I was then pleasantly complimented by the sound and lighting technician when he told me that after seeing all directors with their casts, he wished I had been able to win Best Director. Great job by our local thespians who did a fantastic job at the BC Senior Games.