The oldest amateur musical theatre troupe in B.C. is celebrating 60 years with a nod to a classic.
The Rossland Light Opera Players (RLOP) are ready to take the stage at the Charles Bailey Theatre in Trail tonight with their performance of “Pride and Prejudice.”
The story, originally a novel by Jane Austen that was first published in 1813, follows lead character Elizabeth Bennet as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education and marriage in early 19th-century England.
Her mother (Mrs. Bennet, played by producer Dawn Graham) has set out to marry off at least one of her five daughters to keep her estate once her husband passes on.
“Elizabeth is a very independent young lady for the time period, that’s why she’s become one of the most famous female characters over the years because she was written as someone who was very much ahead of her time,” said actress Allison Cherry, who plays Elizabeth. “It was easy to channel that energy but difficult to tone it down.”
This is the second play that Cherry has ever performed in. After moving to the area this summer, the vocalist tuned to the RLOP for a creative outlet.
The story also speaks to the helpless romantic with an eventual spark between Elizabeth and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, brought to the stage by Chuck Cram.
“My character is extremely reserved and shy to the point where people misinterpret that as being too proud and too disinterested and snobbish,” said Cram. “I get so frustrated that I finally blurt out what I’ve been hiding all the time about the truth and that makes her think. We each sort of go through our own change in attitudes.”
Pride and Prejudice was a natural selection for bookworm director Erica Charette.
“I think women can especially relate to this story because every woman wants to be swept off her feet and Darcy eventually does that with all of the things he does for Elizabeth and her family and she genuinely comes to find him to be a really remarkable man,” she said.
Charette has been involved in the volunteer theatre troupe for half her life and though it was the love for theatre that initially drew her in, she said back stage there is also a business to run.
“I’ve seen the RLOP go through it’s ups and downs in the last 15 years and it’s really great to have this community theatre that is one of the longest running community theatres,” she said. “We are like a family, it really is. I’ve always felt like that since I was a 14-year-old kid.”
It’s a group effort from volunteers – about 20 actors, a 14-person orchestra and 20 backstage – who all wear more than one hat.
To support RLOP on its 60 years, residents are encouraged to make time for theatre and check out one of their performances at the Charles Bailey Theatre this weekend.
The troupe will hit the stage Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m., before bringing their performance to Rossland Secondary School at 7:30 p.m. March 2.
Tickets are $19 for adults and $14 for those under 12 years old. Tickets can be purchased from the Charles Bailey Theatre box office from noon until 4 p.m. Friday or one hour before each show time.