For nearly half of the Peninsula Players’ existence, Sid Clarke has directed plays for the community theatre company. The group marks 60 years this season, and this weekend, Clarke celebrates opening his latest production, How The Other Half Loves by Alan Ayckbourn. It’s the grand finale of the Players’ season.
“This play is one that the English dramatist wrote for the New York stage and is considered one of his most innovative,” Clarke said. “There are three married couples with the men all working for the same firm. The problem is that one of the younger man is having an affair with the wife of the boss. When each returns home early one morning, there is a need to invent an acceptable explanation that is based on their cooked up story of trying to smooth over infidelity in the marriage of the third couple.”
An unusual stage set provides difficulty for Clarke, but intrigue for the audience.
“The living rooms of two couples are shown on one set with a common dining area that serves as the place for two dinners simultaneously taking place on two different nights,” Clarke explained. “When the third couple shows up, the fat is in the fire with the real reason for the all-night absences being gradually exposed.”
The play opens at Berwick Theatre on Friday, May 18 for three shows and goes to the Saanich Peninsula on May 25.
“A part of community well-being and community health is the artistic content. This is really a healthy community and the theatre wants to be part of that,” said Clarke, who has been with the Players for 26 years. “Community theatre, probably because of its voluntary nature and potential to entertain and foster local artistic talent, has been a constant feature in many Canadian communities.”
In the past 60 years the Peninsula Players troupe added almost 150 productions to the health of the community, and Clarke anticipates things could go well for decades more.
“If we’ve got venues we can survive,” he said. “You can always get people to do the artistic stuff.”
Find links to online ticket orders for performances at Berwick Theatre and Charlie White Theatre at peninsulaplayers.bc.ca.