If you love going to plays in the Okanagan you have likely seen Ray Mordan, a perennial favorite on the BC stages. You might remember him as Kris Kringle in Miracle on 34 St. or as Elwood P. Dowd in Harvey. I saw Ray in Noises Off, also for Kelowna Actors’ Studio, a physically demanding look at the behind the scenes world of theatre. Talk to Ray offstage and you will meet a kind-hearted, fun man who knows the real behind the scenes world of theatre in our community - after all he has been involved in it for over 25 years. I am thrilled to have the chance to direct him as Marley in New Vintage’s A Christmas Carol, Dec.17-21.
Ray started out as a self-professed “theatre geek” in high school and sometime after graduation was invited to be on the board of One Yellow Rabbit Theatre - an avant garde performance art company that has an international reputation. It was there that he truly got the theatre bug and when he was transferred to Terrace he got involved in an active theatre community and has just never stopped. Ray has worked with community and professional theatre companies in Fort St John, Victoria, Kelowna and Vernon. He has also played a role in Theatre BC’s Mainstage and has plans to bring back the provincial one act play festival, Actoberfest to the Okanagan next fall with a new company he has formed with Arlene Irwin called Erinara.
Inspired by his experience as a professional leadership coach and Arlene’s recent accreditation as a speech and drama teacher, Ray and Arlene formed Erinara this summer. The two theatre favorites have plans that involve classes and productions that are entertaining with a focus on Canadian playwrights like Norm Foster. Arlene has also developed an innovative new theatre program for seniors called “Never Too Late”.
Erinara kicks off its first season November 14-16 with a comedy called The Good Game. Ray directs the show and says this about the show, “It is a very funny play about four hockey heroes of 30 years ago who come back to play in a fundraiser for their former team. I just love the script. It has a little something for everyone and audiences really enjoy the locker room setting and dialogue as the characters prepare for the big game then we see them after each period of play. A surprise ending is another great feature of this show.” Performances will be held at the Sunplex Arena and tickets include burgers and a beverage as part of a pre-show tailgate party.
Ray says he is encouraged by the number of small companies that have been created recently. He believes that the Okanagan has always had a strong theatre presence and that we must continue to support each other. “We all love theatre, whether we perform or direct or stage manage or produce or crew. We need to create opportunities for anyone who wants to become involved to do so at whatever level is comfortable for them and I believe we do that. Overall, I believe theatre is alive and well in the Okanagan,” says Mordan.
Check out Erinara’s The Good Game, running Nov.14-16 at Sunplex Arena and then see him in action in New Vintage Theatre’s A Christmas Carol. Tickets for both plays are at www.selectyourtickets.com. Erinara has a Facebook page and a website-www.erinara.ca.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.