From left to right: Ruth Steiner (played by Beth DeVolder) and Lisa Morrison (played by Jennifer Kelly) discuss love, ethics, artistry and writing in a New York apartment in ECHO Players’ last play of the season, Collected Stories. — Adam Kveton Photo

REVIEW: Latest ECHO play a stirring piece of theatre

Two-woman show Collected Stories told with heart, skill in Qualicum Beach

Friendships are sticky, messy endeavours, where personalities impose their needs and deficiencies on each other, and everything that one chooses to do or not do has an effect on the other.

Add to that the fragility of the artistic ego, and two people whose livelihoods are made by fictionalizing both their own stories and that of the people around them, and you’ve got something like the star-crossed friendship of Ruth Steiner (played by Beth DeVolder) and Lisa Morrison (played by Jennifer Kelly).

Their story is told with great ability in ECHO Players’ last production of the season, Collected Stories, written by Donald Margulies and first performed in 1996.

The stage is set in Steiner’s New York apartment in the ’90s, where Steiner, an accomplished writer of short stories and teacher, awaits Morrison, her student, to work on Morrison’s latest story.

The play is not above physical comedy, with DeVolder getting some early laughs which she punctuates with a typical New Yorker f-bomb.

The dynamic between the two is that of fawning, falling-over-herself fan girl Morrison, and rough, unpleasant, disbelieving, knowledgeable veteran Steiner.

Both women do a strong job of immediately embodying their characters, delivering their lines with good timing, Kelly’s quick, bouncy movements immediately evoking a young, excited student, and DeVolder as Steiner clearly unimpressed.

Watching the two women change and age as their characters is a delight, with scenes jumping months then years, their relationship developing from teacher and student (or deity and disciple, as Morrison nearly says) to friends. Though it’s an uneasy friendship, as Morrison’s career gets off the ground and begins to flourish, and Steiner recalls her own success of years earlier.

From scene three in act one onward, both Morrison and the audience are unsure how Steiner will take Morrison’s latest triumph — with congratulations, comparisons to herself, or derision.

DeVolder and Kelly do a wonderful job of supporting the play from start to finish, bringing veracity to the complicated relationship, and even to small things like looking out the window of Steiner’s apartment, or recalling a former lover.

Their final scene, in which they and the audience examine whether Morrison’s first book is a betrayal or an homage, though long, is stunning and tragic.

This is a play to watch.

The play runs at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach from April 19 to May 6. Tickets are available at www.echoplayers.ca/cs.php, by calling 250-752-3522, or at the box office in person during box office hours.

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach staff moving forward with report for cinema, brew pub

Councillor makes motion to include The Old School House proposal

Annual pickleball tournament fills up quickly

Two-day event to take place indoors at Oceanside Place May 24-25

Lighthouse Country bus tour to focus on area’s tourism destinations

Business assocation wants more tourists to come to the area

Flock of spinners holding fleece and fibre fair in Coombs

Annual event raises money for Bradley Centre, supports local producers and vendors

Bowser residents protest marine sewage outfall plan

Veenhof and staff endures harsh criticisms at public information meeting

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Woman’s death near Tofino prompts warning about ‘unpredictable’ ocean

Ann Wittenberg was visiting Tofino for her daughter Victoria Emon’s wedding

B.C. man facing deportation says terror accusation left him traumatized

Othman Hamdan was acquitted of terrorism-related charges by a B.C. Supreme Court judge in September

Will Taylor Swift’s high concert ticket prices stop scalpers?

Move by artist comes as B.C. looks to how to regulate scalpers and bots reselling concert tickets

36 fires sparked May long weekend, most due to lightning: BC Wildfire

As warmer weather nears, chief fire officer Kevin Skrepnek says too soon to forecast summer

Ariana Grande sends message of hope on anniversary of Manchester bombing

Prince William joins survivors and emergency workers for remembrance service

B.C. flood risk switches from snowmelt to rainfall: River Forecast Centre

Kootenays and Fraser River remain serious concerns

Pipeline more important than premiers meeting: Notley

“Canada has to work for all Canadians, that’s why we’re fighting for the pipeline”

Canadian government spending tens of millions on Facebook ads

From January 2016 to March 2018, feds spent more than $24.4 million on Facebook and Instagram ads

Most Read