Thrown into the play

Jesse Cooper takes over the lead role in Echo Players production

Jesse Cooper is ready for his role as lead actor in the new Echo Players production Over the River and Through the Woods

Actor Jesse Cooper is no stranger to challenging roles, but when he got the lead role in Echo Players next production about four weeks after everyone else, he knew he had some work to do. 

Cooper is set to play the role of Nick Cristano, in Over the River and Through the Woods, where he’ll play an Italian-American man from New Jersey who is faced with moving away from his close-knit family, made up of two sets of Italian grandparents.

The role was initially given to another actor, who had to leave the production for personal reasons. Cooper just recently graduated from the drama program at the University of Victoria and made the move to Nanaimo. He has performed with Parksville’s Bard to Broadway theatre group in the past, produced the Rotary Club of Parksville’s Mosaic Youth Talent show for three years, taught at the Qualicum Beach School of Dance and taught a couple acting workshops at Kwalikum Secondary School. A member of Echo Players learned Cooper was back in the area and contacted him about the new production.

Cooper is a fan of the playwright, Joe DiPietro, especially for his play I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, he said. He read the script for Over the River and Through the Woods and also really liked it, as it was different from other roles he has played in the past, he said.

 “It’s not a male-female romance, it’s a love story between a young man and his grandparents, so that was different,” he said.

Cooper has had a close relationship with his own grandparents over the years he said, particularly when his parents moved to the United Kingdom for a couple of years.

“So there I was every Sunday, over there, having dinner, getting all that sage wisdom, a guiding hand and a shoulder to cry on,” he said. “So it’s a personal story that I relate to.”

After employing all sorts of techniques to learn his lines quickly, like recording the whole play on CD so he could practice at home, he has a firm handle on the role, he said.

“We’re ready to go.”

Over the River and Through the Woods is a play about family and relationships, with a healthy dose of humor. It plays from May 26 to June 12 at the Village Theatre in Qualicum Beach. 

Tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for students, available at the box office or by phone. 

Visit or call 250-752-3522 for tickets and more information.


Just Posted

Parksville residents hear compelling tales from recovering young addicts

Speakers emphasize need for detox and treatment centre, shelter in the area

Burning Thanksgiving question: Turkey or ham?

PQB notables also talk best side dishes

Jordie Lunn, world-renowned mountain biker from Parksville, dies in accident

The 36-year-old was with friends trail riding in Cabo San Lucas when the accident happened

Island man restores 1962 Qualicum Beach fire truck he bought for $1

Vintage vehicle in working order and ready to hit the road

VIDEO: Langley woman’s security camera records its own theft

Langley family discovers early morning grab was recorded

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Map on Elections Canada website sends Nanaimo-Ladysmith voters to landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

1/3 of Canadian men won’t share their feelings for fear of being ‘unmanly’: report

Fifty-nine per cent of men said society expects them to be ‘emotionally strong and not show weakness’

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

B.C. VIEWS: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou

B.C.’s largest herds turn the corner from extinction

Pearson nets shootout winner as Canucks clip Flyers 3-2

Vancouver picks up second straight home win

BC Children’s Hospital launches 2 new virtual care sites bringing total to 19 across province

Provincial initiative allows pediatric patients to see health specialists through video

Most Read