Performers hope to have audiences seeing double

Secret Garden is twice the delight

Grade 11 student Ellen Law plays Mary Lennox and Kyus Hicks (Grade 10) portrays Lieut. Wright during a rehearsal for the SMUS production of The Secret Garden.

This spring, Victoria’s McPherson Playhouse will present The Secret Garden — twice.

In a strange twist of fate, Ballet Victoria presents its dance version this March, while a version of the Broadway musical produced by St. Michaels University School (SMUS) opens tonight (Feb. 27).

“We plan our calendar roughly two years in advance,” said Paul Destrooper, artistic director of Ballet Victoria. He booked the theatre with no knowledge of the SMUS production, while Morgan McLeod, the new head of theatre at SMUS, had the musical in mind this summer.

It was the McPherson’s staff who first noticed the doubling up, and, while the close timing may cause some confusion, both directors are confident the shows offer different experiences.

“Ballet Victoria’s production is inspired by the play written by Michael Shamata,” Destrooper said. “We have no spoken words, but kept the essence of the story intact using dance, mime and acting.”

McLeod’s work will also be partially inspired by a previous production — he saw The Secret Garden during its original Broadway run in 1991, when he was a student at SMUS.

“If I could like it as a teenager, our students today should be able to connect to the story,” McLeod said.

As a student, McLeod was heavily involved in theatre and he wanted to make sure his first musical as a faculty member resonated.

“I wanted something that hadn’t been overdone, something challenging for the performers, and something I had a connection to,” he explained. “The Secret Garden was my top choice.”

The book version of The Secret Garden follows Mary, a newly orphaned child, as she is transplanted to a new home with her mourning uncle and invalid cousin. Destrooper has never read the famed children’s book, but seeing Shamata’s version attracted him to the story.

“I enjoyed Michael’s rendition of the story very much, particularly the creation of the mother’s ghost as an active participant in the narrative,” he said. “It was very touching.”

McLeod, whose previous theatre credits include numerous productions (as both director and performer) at the Chemainus Theatre Festival, said the musical takes some dramatic license.

“The musical gives more weight to the adult roles,” he says. “But it’s still the same story — magical and heartwarming.”

The SMUS production runs Feb. 27 to March 2, while Ballet Victoria takes over March 22 to 24 before taking its show to the mainland and up Vancouver Island. For ticket information for both shows, go to rmts.bc.ca.

 

Just Posted

Langford firefighters help rescue tranquilized bear from a tree near city hall

Residents have been reporting on social media that a bear was recently seen in the area

Belgian man searches for family of fallen First World War soldier from Victoria

Mark Edward Berton attended Victoria High School and has his grave in Flanders Field

Saanich preschool celebrates 30 years with reunion event

Thousands invited RSVP for Carrot Seed Preschool 30-year celebration

Sidney Museum’s Chief Dan George exhibition sees surge of interest

Four mayors, federal Green leader, Tsartlip reps to attend June 21 opening ceremony

Oak Bay artist co-op highlights autobiographical Snapshots showcase

Snapshots runs from June 4 to 22 at Gage Gallery, 2031 Oak Bay Ave.

REPLAY: The best videos from across B.C. this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week in the province

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen found in torched SUV

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Most Read