Intimacy the main ingredient for Parks

Theatre in the Country debuting Neil Simon classic on August 20.

Lawrence Locke (left)

Lawrence Locke (left)

As the third summer season of Theatre in Country comes tom a close, artistic director Reg Parks said members have made great strides on what kind of plays work for their venue.

That theory will be put to the test as they set to open with Neil Simon’s classic You Ought To Be In Pictures, running from August 20 to 29.

The story centralizes around the main charter Herb, who will be played by Lawrence Locke, is a screen writer who has been living in L.A. for 15 years after leaving New York. His estranged daughter shows up with the intention of making it in the film industry. Along with Herb’s girlfriend, the three characters must navigate their way through the complicated relationship.

“We’ve learned a lot about which shows people want to see, said Parks. ”People want to have a good time. They want to laugh or they want to be scared, and just get lost in the escapism that theatre offers.”

Parks said the intimacy of the story lends itself to the intimacy of their theatre.

“With our space being in the thrust, where the actors are very close to the audience, you feel like you are in the room. You’re not watching through a picture frame – you are sitting in Herb’s living room. You feel the intensity of that, the you feel like you are almost intruding on them a little bit, and that part is fun,” said Parks.

He said the feel-good nature of Simon’s story, based in the 1980s, is a classic fish-out-of-water story with quick wit and relatable characters.

He said Locke, who most recently played the Toy Maker in their production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, has a great sense of vulnerable brashness that he brings to every role.

Parks said the play comes to life thanks in large part to the remaining cast members Julia Ullrich and Brittany Grant, who are exceptionally strong.

Ullrich is pursuing a professional career in acting and Grant just recently graduated from Trinity Western University. The play is being directed by Maple Ridge’s Laura Cramer, who Parks describes as having an exceptional eye and great sense of story telling.

“It takes you from laughing to crying and back again,” he said. “People will see somewhere in the three characters will see themselves.

• For more information or to purchase tickets visit www.theatreinthecountry.com.