Variety going around the world

he Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Variety Plus theatre group is holding performances of Around the World on June 5 and 6...

Mel Steward (left) and Jim Britt perform at last year’s Variety Plus event.

Seniors Week is going “Around the World.”

The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Variety Plus theatre group is holding performances of Around the World on June 5 and 6 at the Ridge Meadows Seniors Centre as part of Seniors’ Week activities.

The group’s show is broken into two 40-minute acts and will entertain their audiences with songs and dance numbers that incorporate music of global influence, four-part melodies and comic skits.

“They like their comedy skits – dressing up in funny costumes and being funny,” director Mary-Ellen Smith said of theatre group members, aged five to 90.

She is continually astonished by their dedication and ability. As many as 18 of the group’s members are regulars and others come and go as they need to throughout the year, Smith added.

Although no one is pressured to stay with the group, Smith says members are innately committed to practices, which can include a once-a-week dress rehearsal that lasts three hours for cast members and typically five for Smith herself.

Above all, however, she emphasizes the group exists for community seniors to have a fun, social outlet that allows them to express their creativity.

“I want them to have fun because it’s supposed to be fun.”

For approximately 12 years, the group has been performing local variety shows reminiscent of 11-year-long Carol Burnett’s popular television series, which several decades later was ranked No. 17 on a list of the 60 greatest television shows of all time.

Having lost her own parents to old age not that long ago, Smith, a retired paralegal and business owner, says she is passionate more than ever about her volunteer role, which allows her to sometimes witness the physical change in cast members when they have the chance to perform. She gives an example of one member who speaks very slowly when holding a conversation, but shows no sign of delayed speech when singing a song.

“Quite simply, singing is a different part of your brain.”

Tickets will be available at the door. For more information about the show or to become a member of Variety Plus contact, varietyplus@telus.net or call 604-467-9636.

 

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