From the left; Robin Habel

From the left; Robin Habel

Community theatre ensemble ready for annual performance

Columbia Phoenix Players present five one-act plays this weekend in Iona Hall of St. Andrews Anglican Church.

For more than two decades a local community theatre has been bringing the power of stories to the stage.

Keeping with tradition, the Columbia Phoenix Players will present five one-act plays this weekend in the intimate cafe setting of Phoenix Cafe IV.

Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Friday, and 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Iona Hall of St. Andrews Anglican Church in Trail.

The 11 actors taking part in the show range from ages 15 to 50, with three families of mother and sons, and mother and daughter ensembles.

The show’s producer, Helen James, chose the five short plays based on the varying acting abilities of the Greater Trail troupe with each act lasting seven to 15 minutes in length.

“I sat down and read at least 50 plays before choosing these five,” said James.

“We keep in mind who is likely to come out to rehearsals and try our best to fit everyone in.”

The show opens with a grassroots performance by Timberlyn Miles and Vivian Campsall with Joseph French, a seasoned Players member, in a Canadian play by Rosemary de Graff titled “Down to Earth,” which tells the story of a son, his mother’s farm, and her fierce resistance to change in light of a husband’s indiscretion.

The second and third acts will step away from drama and bring tongue-in-cheek humour about love letters in a play called “Post -Its,” which chronicles the ups and downs of a relationship, followed by “Escape From Golf Camp,” a comedy about two self-acknowledged golfaholics.

Joseph French, a 17-year old who brings acting flair to three plays,  is old hat to the stage, having started with the theatre company at the age of nine.

“I stayed with the theatre because it is fun,” said French. “But how I started is a different story.”

French’s mother, Helen James, would leave the house twice a week to rehearse for the Players when I was young, he recalled.

“Finally I asked her if I could join her,” he said, adding, “After she thought about it I was allowed to join. But honestly, I think she was just trying to cut down on the babysitting costs,” he laughed.

The show will close with the popular Trail version of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”

The performances will consist of a panel of four actors who create characters, scenes and songs on the spot, in the style of short-form improvisation games.

“We have a core group of actors with three newcomers,” said James. “We are particularly proud of the experience the youth gain in theatre skills and we are always looking for new members.”

Jean Wylie, 13-year member of the theatre company, is taking a back seat this year after acting and directing the Phoenix Players productions for over a decade.

“I think community theatre could become a dying art if people don’t come out to support it,” said Wylie. “If your looking to go out to relax for a few hours but don’t want to go to a pub or hockey game, then this is the place to have a laugh and enjoy a nice dessert.”

Tickets are $10 and available at L’Bears Health Foods in downtown Trail, Cafe Books in Rossland or by phone at 367-6365.