Monkman Musings performed by Grizzly Valley Players

It was a busy few days for members of the Grizzly Valley Players, performing Monkman Musings for the second of four scheduled dates this summer. A special dress rehearsal also took place the evening before the scheduled show. The dress presentation took place July 17 and was attended by, among others, descendants of the people on the Monkman journey between 1937-1939, as well as other people attending the Grand Opening of the Monkman Pass Hiking Trail. Some were not able to stay through to the regular show date. Also in attendance was the Honourable Jay Hill, MP for Prince George and the Peace Region.

Not without its glitches, the dress rehearsal left a strong positive impression on Richard Brooks, who is the son of Carl Brooks, a notable trailblazer on the Monkman Pass Highway expedition. Brooks attended with family members, including his brother and grandson. Except for one inaccuracy of the pronunciation of a name in the 45 minute-long production, Brooks was impressed with the format used to present the many stories, some of which he had never heard. He then very kindly offered to attend the actual show the following night and film it as a promotional DVD for the drama group. Brooks is, by trade, a professional cinematographer and in connection to our community, has enjoyed a 10-year affiliation with Dr. Charles Helm as well.

The show, which followed the next evening, ran more smoothly and Brooks was able to get some good working material. There were approximately 20 in attendance Friday night. One audience member spoke with the director and mentioned that the show had even improved since the June 13 performance and was kind enough to add that he was not there to criticize the work of the group. This sort of feedback is both welcomed and helpful for the theatre company. It is wonderful to learn that audience members are coming back for additional performances.

There are still two more presentations of the show this year, taking place on the Friday evenings of August 8th and September 12th. Bob Norman will replace Larry White in the part of Rudy Jacobs in the final performance.

The first year this show was presented was a vastly different format and considerably less expensive. Through sponsorship from some important funders this year, the show has great potential to grow and encompass more story and actors in the years to come. The District of Tumbler Ridge Economic Development Department has sponsored the project both years. Directly associated with the project were Ray Proulx, Economic Development Officer; Lindsey Vandale, Economic Development Assistant; and Doreen Younge, Tourism Coordinator. Yoinge is also playing the role of Monkman?s daughter in the play. An additional grant supporting this project was a joint grant provided by BC 150, Assembly of BC Arts Councils and BC Arts Council. The Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation and Tumbler Ridge Community Arts Council contributed to the project as well. This project coincides with the Monkman Pass Memorial Trail promotion. The driving route, which had its launch earlier this summer in Beaverlodge is the starting point of the journey. The hiking trail travels through the area and into Monkman Provincial Park. Don?t miss out on this adventure. The admission is by donation to the drama group. For further details, please contact the Visitor Centre 250-242-3123 or email tr_artscouncil@yahoo.com