BINGO! A play about your first time

This week’s column is about a play I am doing called BINGO!. This BC premiere by acclaimed, Governor-General Award winner Daniel MacIvor, is the first thrilling time I have had the opportunity to direct his work. I graduated from The University of Calgary way back in the 1990’s and even back then all theatre students knew MacIvor (along with Judith Thompson and Brad Fraser) was a force to be reckoned with and therefore on our list of plays that we really, really want to do. Since then I have had the opportunity to be an actor in Thompson’s iconic play Lion In The Streets, but still have MacIvor and Brad Fraser plays on my theatre bucket list, though I have been a patron and fan of all three playwrights for over 25 years.

Other notable Daniel MacIvor plays include: Never Swim Alone, Cul-de-sac, Monster and most famously Marion Bridge-which was adapted into a very popular movie, also directed by MacIvor, who often also performs in his work. You also have likely seen his wry comedy Whilby Wonderful, based on the small Cape Breton city he grew up in, Sydney, also the home of Sydney Crosby. This is where our play BINGO! is also set.

So you can understand just how thrilling it is to be able to work on BINGO! and also to have the great gift to be able to have the rights to do the BC premiere right here in Kelowna. First produced by Nova Scotia’s Mulgrave Theatre in 2011, BINGO! is the story of three former best friends, their 30th high school reunion and their encounter with two of the “it” girls from school in one very memorable evening. A major theme of the play is firsts. One character truly believes that by the age of 48 you have tried all you will ever try - there can be no more firsts - life for him is now simply dealing with the life you have created or not created for yourself. Another character though tells how she once met a man who tried hang gliding for the first time at age 78. Her opinion is that maybe at 48 she is just starting to really experience life and that is exciting for her.

Writing this play was a first as well for playwright MacIvor. Though he was no stranger to the theatre or to writing, Daniel often writes heavy and sometimes profoundly sad dramas, but after one particularly grueling summer of tackling a work at The Banff Centre, he decided to challenge himself to write a pure, lovely and charming comedy. The hallmarks of his masterful writer’s style are still there-the poignant and bittersweet moments that resound with audiences of all ages - but yes-there is so much laughter and celebration - but it is truly a terrific comedy.

I also get to work for the very first time with five esteemed local actors - Troy Berg, Kim Fournier, Kendra Hesketh, Brad Hull and Colm O’Reilly - and what a great pleasure it is to go to rehearsal with this uber-talented bunch. The discoveries they have made, risks they have taken and one of a kind characters they are creating really should be seen by everyone who loves theatre and those who want to take it in for the first time.

Mark your calendars for this hilarious, sweet comedy about The Sydney Academy High School Class of 1980. There will be a fun 1980’s BINGO game for prizes, great music from the time and dancing to The Stairway To Heaven.

Bring your friends and/or current crush to BINGO! at The Black Box Theatre, July 10-12, 7:30pm at The Black Box Theatre. Tickets are $20 in advance from www.selectyourtickets.com or $25 at the door, cash only. For more information about New Vintage Theatre check out our website at www.newvintage.ca

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Bonnie Gratz is an actor, director, and playwright. She is the Artistic Director of Kelowna's New Vintage Theatre, and a member of the Playwright's Guild of Canada and The Literary and Dramaturges of North America. 

For more on Bonnie, check out www.bonnie-gratz.com or check out www.newvintage.ca

Contact Bonnie at:  [email protected]


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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