Members of ECHO Players’ Collected Stories cast and crew with North Island Zone Festival adjudicator Katrina Dunn (fourth from left). Collected Stories received a number of awards at the festival. — photo submitted by Sue Murguly

ECHO Players wins big at North Island Zone Festival

Collected Stories play moving onto Mainstage festival in Vernon

ECHO Players’ production of Collected Stories is moving ahead to the Theatre BC Mainstage Festival later this month.

Collected Stories won top honours at the North Island Zone Festival on May 25 in Nanaimo. It will now go on to the Theatre BC Mainstage Festival in Vernon June 29 to July 7. The play, written by Donald Margulies, will be performed at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre on Friday, June 29.

In addition, PINK, performed by Hope Myre and Imogen Brown and directed by Jennifer Kelly from ECHO Players was extremely well received by the audience before the awards ceremony, according to a news release from ECHO Players.

“The young actors received a standing ovation for their work. There were many in tears and all were deeply touched by their work.”

During the North Island Festival, Collected Stories won Best Production, best Ensemble Award for Kelly and Beth DeVolder, Best Set Design for George Murguly, Best Costume Design for Jane Still, Best Props for Tricia Browne and Roxanne Kehler and Best Backstage Co-ordination.

The play is co-directed by Lynne Carrow and Sue Murguly.

Collected Stories follows veteran author Ruth Steiner, played by DeVolder, and Steiner’s protégé Lisa Morrison, played by Kelly.

The question of intellectual property ownership comes into play when Morrison’s first novel turns out to be the story of Steiner’s turbulent love affair.

“The show featured a very, very strong script and two very strong actors and the entire cast and crew put their hearts and souls into making this a success,” Carrow said.

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The play was chosen late in the ECHO Players’ season after My Old Lady was pulled due to sexual misconduct allegation made against Israel Horovitz, who wrote and directed the movie version.

Carrow said more than a year ago ECHO Players held auditions for My Old Lady and by the time the company had found out about the allegations against Horovitz, Carrow said they had the cast all lined up, most of the wardrobe was done and the cast was beginning to learn lines.

“We had a very short timeframe, right before Christmas, to try to come up with another play that would ideally the same cast.”

Carrow said when she found Collected Stories, ECHO Players knew it wouldn’t be a sell out as “it demanded a lot of the audience to think about.”

“We knew we were going to take a chance (on Collected Stories) and it paid off.”

— with files from ECHO Players

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