Laura’s story on stage at the Village Theatre
In the first production of ECHO Players 2011/12 season audiences are bound to be taken back to a time in the ‘40s when jazz music was all the rage, U.S. high society smoked cigarettes liberally and the bad guys were packing heat.
Directed by Werner Koch, the play Laura is billed as a classic American detective story set in the dawning of the modern jazz age.
Written in 1943 the play became an instant box office smash when it was made into a movie in 1951 and now the story will be told on the Village Theater stage when the play opens on Thursday, Oct. 13.
The background is U.S. high society in the late 1940s and audiences must unravel the baffling murder of the play’s heroine Laura.
The play takes the audience on a ride of cross and double-cross ... lies ... affairs ... and a surprise ending sure to thrill.
This is Laura’s story, although most of it is told by the three men who know her best and with names like Waldo and Shelby you can bet the characters being portrayed are larger than life.
Scott Murray, who portrays Shelby Carpenter, is stepping out of his comfort zone in this play and performing in his first serious drama.
The actor said he has been doing comedies and musicals for 35 years and admitted it has been challenging taking on another genre.
“It is different. For me comedy comes a lot easier. This has been a lot of extra work,” he said.
The character of Shelby is a southern gentleman and in order to perfect his accent Murray said he watched the movies Gone With the Wind and Steel Magnolias.
“I listened enough so that I could get the inflections and learn how to pronounce words with a southern drawl.”
Samantha Bau who has more than a few ECHO productions on her resume is playing Laura and said at first she wasn’t sure about taking on the role.
“But when I read the story it was such a fabulous 1940’s murder mystery and Laura was such a rich character that I just fell in love with it,” she said.
Bau added that she is privileged to work with such seasoned actors.
Detective Mark McPherson is being played by Colin Partridge. It has been about five years since Partridge has performed for ECHO Players and he said he is thrilled to be back on the stage.
“When Werner approached me for the part I really liked the story line and the ideas behind it so I was onboard right away.”
Partridge who is now a father of two young children said despite running lines and the rehearsal schedule he has been able to maintain his family life and said they are all on board.
“I told my son it was like I was on TV so he gets it and he is OK with it.”
Koch who is directing said the play is set in a very interesting time and admitted that has created some challenges but he added they have been able to recreate the mood of the period and he is confident the audience will be able to relate to the bygone era.
“Laura was a jazz aficionado. The music is appealing and the set was a challenge but I have just the right actors to do some very difficult parts,” he said.
He pointed to the role of Waldo, admitting it is one of the quintessential male roles in American theatre and a great opportunity for a mature actor.
“It is one of those roles that comes along once or twice in a life time for an actor so it is a tremendous role for an actor to be doing”.
Waldo Lydecker is played by Brian Lecky.
Laura runs until October 30 at The Village Theatre located at 110 West 2nd Avenue in Qualicum Beach. Season tickets for the 2011-2012 season are now available. Call 250-752-3522 to request a brochure or to book your season tickets.