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ECHO Players production of ‘The Children’ begins March 2 in Qualicum Beach

Storyline explores danger, risk and moral issues around deadly radiation from nuclear plant meltdown
The cast of ‘The Children’, from left to right: Colleen Janssen Hood as Hazel, Ian Morton as Robin and Jody Tkach as Rose. (Submitted photo)

Mystery, comedy and drama come together when nuclear power issues meet conscience, and the flames of former romance are fanned in Lucy Kirkwood’s drama The Children.

ECHO Players’ production of the critically-acclaimed play runs March 2 to 19 at the Village Theatre, with matinee and evening performances, according to a news release.

The compelling storyline brings into focus the danger, risk and moral issues surrounding nuclear power and deadly radiation from a meltdown in a nuclear plant along the quiet English coastline. Such a danger could occur due to human error or the forces of nature similar to the earthquake that sent a tsunami crashing over Fukushima Japan in 2011.

The dilemma is should aging nuclear scientists, husband and wife team Hazel and Robin, venture into the danger zone of the meltdown, risking their lives rather than being there to support their own grown children and grandchildren?

“It requires a tour de force performance from each of the three actors — a challenge and opportunity not commonly offered in community theatre,” said director Don Harper.

Conflict arises as a former colleague Rose arrives unannounced and unexpectedly. Why has she come? Does it have something to do with the disaster? Or is it to rekindle an old flame with Robin?

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Applauded by critics in 2016 when it opened in London’s Royal Court Theatre, the drama is a radical departure from more traditional productions of ECHO Players in the past.

It is a thought-provoking drama Harper says he has wanted to present ever since seeing it staged years ago in Toronto. The Children was also recently staged at the Belfry Theatre in Victoria, with one of the actors from that production proclaiming, “there are so many things it makes you think about, that you can’t help but think about it.”

With climate change looming ever greater, the threat of nuclear disaster and the budding achievement and promise of harnessing nuclear fusion (a limitless source of “clean” energy), the play becomes increasingly relevant.

You are in for compelling performances by Ian Morton and Colleen Janssen-Hood as husband and wife Hazel and Robin and Jody Tkach as Rose. The action takes place in the kitchen of a modest cottage by the sea just outside of the radiation-contaminated “excluded” zone of the nuclear power plant.

It is a thought-provoking and serious commentary on a potentially dangerous outcome, injected with some romantic suspense.

The Children is sponsored by QB Memorial Services.

Tickets are available online, by phone at 250-752-3522 and at the theatre box office (open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday), starting Feb. 14.

— NEWS Staff, submitted

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About the Author: Parksville Qualicum Beach News Staff

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