ECHO Players’ latest play, The Full Treatment, took a little longer than normal to get going. The issue: the large number of people it takes to put on this show.
“Its been a challenge to pull it all together but everyone has come through with aces,” said director Gerri Hemphill.
Aside from a full backstage crew, The Full Treatment has 11 characters that need to be brought to life. While many people stepped forward to lend a hand, Hemphill said she ended up having to phone individuals to fill out the roster. The move worked and she said the response from everyone, including those who have already helped with other ECHO Players productions this year, was very positive. One actress, Kim Bellwood, even agreed to play two of the play’s smaller roles.
“That really makes me feel good,” she said. “They’re a very good crew.”
The Full Treatment tells the story of the plot to regenerate the readership of a failing English country newspaper. The editor, played by Paul Churchill, decides to invite an elderly couple (Janet Dol and Gerry Fraser) to celebrate their 80th wedding anniversary at a London hotel, treat them to a wonderful dining experience and have them meet celebrities while the staff write up glowing reports accompanied by endearing photos of this event. Of course, things start to go wrong. The reporter assigned to cover the event is fired for scandalous activities, so the editor usurps the honeymoon plans of another reporter (Scott Murray) and demands he and his new bride (Alycia Matthews) share the same large penthouse suite as the old folks. Then it turns out the elderly couple haven’t spoken to each other in six months, and a fiasco seems to be inevitable. Also there to witness the tailspin is the paper’s photographer (Maureen O’Hearn) and secretary (Michelle Hesketh), a BBC reporter (Aileen Fabris) and a public relations officer (James Matthews).
“I think of it as a farce … or at least farcical,” said Hemphill, who also described the comedy as bittersweet. “We laugh at them because it’s not us.”
She also said that she believes The Full Treatment, which was written by Michael Brett in the 1960s, to be “a real diatribe against the written press” of the time. In particular, Hemphill said she thinks Brett was commenting on how the press “has to get right into it.”
The entire show takes place in the London penthouse suite. The large set is specially made to be easily transported as the show is also ECHO Player’s entry to the Theatre B.C. North Island Zone Drama Festival in Port Alberni this May.
Of course, the home crowd in Qualicum Beach will get to see The Full Treatment first at the Village Theatre. The show runs April 9-26, with evening shows Wed.-Sat. at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets are $19 for adults, $16 for seniors 65 and over, $10 for students with valid ID and $5 for children aged 12 and under. All tickets are available at the Village Theatre Box Office (110, West 2nd Ave., Qualicum Beach and 250-752-3522) Tues. through Sat. from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. The box office is also open for ticket sales an hour and a half before showtimes.
If you’d like to win your way into the show, simply e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with “The Full Treatment” written in the subject line for your chance to win a pair of tickets. Please include your name and phone number in the e-mail to be eligible.