For 2019, the Chemainus Theatre Festival celebrates a wide range of musicals, comedies, and dramas which examine themes of identity, calling and compassion.
The season opens with a chamber company of actor musicians in The Sound of Music, celebrating staying authentic while finding love and a true calling in the caring community of family. Suitable for anyone over six, this musical is a huge favourite with Cowichan Valley theatregoers, who will welcome such a mid-winter boost to the spirits. It’s the romantic story of the nun-turned-governess, Maria, and grumpy Capt. von Trapp, who fall in love in Austria during the frightening time just before the Second World War. Such songs as ‘Climb Every Mountain’, ‘My Favourite Things’, and ‘Do-Re-Mi’ make this a hit with all ages.
Then, it’s time to romp through a classic comedy of confusion that unmasks stereotypes hilariously with The Foreigner. Charlie’s not foreign at all but just very shy and pretending he can’t speak English to avoid society. But when everyone has a secret to tell The Foreigner, Charlie finds himself in all kinds of hilarious trouble.
In the summer, travel to the Mediterranean to play in song and sea-foam with Mamma Mia! as an energetic “extended” family reunites to the music of Abba. Everybody will be sure to know the timeless hits they’ll hear but this is no tribute act — you may have seen the film starring Meryl Streep. It’s a delicious story of a girl about to be married on a Greek island, who wants to find the father she’s never met and get him to the church on time to give her away. But it’s not easy, as you’ll find out.
During the summer, KidzPlay brings back the team who staged the popular The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, with a new adaptation of The Magician’s Nephew, another C. S. Lewis Narnia story, which takes you back to the beginning. In Victorian London, Digory and his friend, Polly, stumble upon a doorway to another world with dire consequences. Set 1,000 years before The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, this is the perfect prequel for Narnia fans.
In addition, in the Studio Theatre, you can catch I & You by Lauren Gunderson. Anthony and Caroline come together over a class project but this story goes way beyond that, dealing with the barriers to true intimacy that young people face today.
In the fall, Mrs. Warren’s Profession by George Bernard Shaw will dig deep to debate and debunk social mutterings. The lady is a madam and has been bringing up her daughter in style, but all unknowing of her mother’s job. Upper class expectations clash with lower class realities in this play by a man who saw that kind of thing happening all the time.
The cheeky, charming musical comedy, Lumberjacks in Love, will skip and shuffle across the haywire stage for a short run of folksy fun starting Oct. 18. Four loggers live happily 200 miles from civilization until one of them decides to send for a mail order bride. Then slap-happy silliness ensues.
The season closes with a Canadian adaptation of the holiday classic that questions the value of the faith of a child with the play Miracle on 34th Street. It’s all about believing, especially in the magic of Christmas. Kris Kringle, hired by Macy’s in New York to be the department store’s Santa for the season, takes everyone by storm: helping parents get the best deals on toys, and encouraging children to believe in Santa Claus. There’s also plenty of romance in store, making this a holiday tale for everyone.