Com­pany ready for ‘fun chal­lenge’ of stag­ing Lib­erty Valance: di­rec­tor

Regina Leader-Post - - FRONT PAGE - jd­edekker@post­media.com twit­ter.com/ThePlough­boy JEFF DEDEKKER

When it comes to se­lect­ing pro­duc­tions, Regina Lit­tle The­atre isn’t afraid of tack­ling a rel­a­tively new play.

Such is the case with The Man Who Shot Lib­erty Valance, the lat­est RLT pro­duc­tion, which runs April 4-7 at the Regina Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre.

Many peo­ple are aware of the 1962 movie star­ring Jimmy Ste­wart and John Wayne but while this pro­duc­tion is based on the 1953 short story from Dorothy M. John­son, the script for the play was writ­ten by Jethro Comp­ton in 2014.

Bryce Sch­lamp isn’t ap­pre­hen­sive about tak­ing on a new work.

“I think it’s a fun chal­lenge for our ac­tors, for sure,” said Sch­lamp, who has taken on nu­mer­ous roles with the pro­duc­tion — di­rec­tor, sound de­signer, light­ing de­signer and set de­signer.

“It’s a play that’s a lit­tle more mod­ern with some themes and ideas that we can re­late to and talk about in terms of our mod­ern times, as op­posed to some­thing writ­ten in the ’60s or ’70s where some of it may apply but you’re bring­ing other stuff for­ward. It’s nice to be top­i­cal that way.”

The story fol­lows a young scholar from New York City who ar­rives in a dusty mid­west­ern town. As he fash­ions a new life that in­cludes the love of his life, he faces the de­ci­sion of run­ning from a vi­cious out­law or stand­ing and fight­ing for what he be­lieves in.

What sets this pro­duc­tion apart from the movie is that the en­tire play is set in a sa­loon. On one hand, this is a ben­e­fit to the pro­duc­tion as there isn’t the ad­di­tional chal­lenge of nu­mer­ous sets. But on the other hand, it’s also tougher be­cause of the re­stric­tion of a sin­gle set­ting.

“It pro­vides some tech­ni­cal chal­lenges,” Sch­lamp ex­plained.

“We’ll try and use a few things like light­ing to try and set dif­fer­ent moods and move the story around. We do move through time with a pro­logue and an epi­logue that takes place 20 years into the fu­ture so we get a lit­tle bit of a dif­fer­ent feel that way. It’s ac­tu­ally kind of in­ter­est­ing be­cause when you get some of th­ese type of lim­i­ta­tions put on you, it makes you flex the creative mus­cle a lit­tle bit more. It’s al­ways an in­ter­est­ing chal­lenge that way. We’re tech­ni­cally lim­ited in some ways for this show, for sure.”

For Sch­lamp, the pro­duc­tion works be­cause of Comp­ton’s writ­ing.

“The char­ac­ters are very well writ­ten. The story it­self hangs to­gether very nicely, the pac­ing I think is re­ally well done,” said Sch­lamp. “The au­thor has done a re­ally good job in keep­ing you hooked, giv­ing you enough in­for­ma­tion as you go to fol­low along and hook you into th­ese char­ac­ters and their motivations.”

The script is also slightly dif­fer­ent than the film ver­sion.

“It fo­cuses a lit­tle less on the po­lit­i­cal and leg­is­la­tion side than the film did,” said Sch­lamp. “It re­ally gets into the char­ac­ters and their mo­ti­va­tion. It’s an in­ter­est­ing look at the old and the new, the chang­ing of the guard and how that af­fects peo­ple who are one side or an­other of that change.”

The main cast is com­prised of Ryan McLeod, Abbey Thiessen, Dan Carr, Omari Wilson, J.E.D. La­Coste, Terry Bell, Cole Boyko and Amanda Schen­stead.

Join­ing Sch­lamp on the pro­duc­tion crew are An­drea Mc­Neil-Wilson (stage man­ager), Pat Wilson (as­sis­tant stage man­ager), San­dra Preikschat (cos­tumes), Lacey Frigon (cos­tumes), Jolie Brewer (props) and Declan Slater (light­ing tech­ni­cian).

Tick­ets are $23 for adults and $21 for se­niors, stu­dents and youth. Tick­ets are avail­able from the Regina Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre box of­fice, by tele­phone, 306-7792277, and online at regi­na­pac.com.

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