By Melanie Minty

March 16, 2017
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MINTY: ‘Opening Night’ for Norm Foster comedy at Surrey Arts Centre on Friday

Ellie King and Royal Canadian company bring show to stage

SURREY — Royal Canadian Theatre Company is ready to roll with the last production of their season – and ready to move into a new home location. The life force of RCTC is Ellie King. She has put her heart, mind and soul into the creation of this company, and probably her life savings as well. I do admire her unflagging enthusiasm and dedication to the project.

Now celebrating 10 years of operation, RCTC has more solid financial footing, a new home and a growing fan base. It is only fitting that this end-of-season production, the comedy “Opening Night,” is by Canada’s favourite playwright, Norm Foster. Fitting because, like, it is Canada’s 150th birthday. Canadian plays by Canadian playwrights are the featured focus this year. And really, when your name has “Canadian” in it, you do have to look at Canadian content.

Sometime I will tell you the hilarious story of how the name Royal Canadian Theatre Company was selected. King tells a good story and it’s pure entertainment itself. Our coffee meetings consist of a hot fudge sundae at a fast-food location. Yep, that’s coffee! But on with the play, one you definitely do not want to miss. At Surrey Arts Centre, “Opening Night” hits the stage on Friday and Saturday. I don’t know how you cannot be jumping up right now, at this very moment, to buy a ticket. A Norm Foster play, directed by Ellie King at the Surrey Arts Centre.

“Opening Night” is the story of an unusual evening at the theatre. Ruth Tisdale has lucked into a pair of tickets to the opening-night performance of a new Canadian play, and she drags her husband Jack to the theatre as a way to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. Jack, however, would rather be at home watching the seventh game of the World Series on TV. Jack and Ruth are in the VIP lounge mingling with invited guests before the show when Jack spots someone he recognizes from TV. Hilarity follows, reaching its peak when we finally witness the “performance” of what must be one of the worst plays ever written.

Ladies, how many of you have “dragged” your male spouse or male partner to a performing arts event? This plot line speaks to all of us. Forget the World Series – PVR exists. A live performance happens only once. So maybe getting a sports fan out to a live theatre show is a bit easier than convincing same male to attend an opera. It’s all our fault, of course. We are not exposed to the arts at an early age, and discard things like opera as “fluff.”

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