CANMORE – The show must go on as thespians prepare to make an anticipated return to the valley's arts scene.
Conquest Theatre Canmore presents Theatre in the Forest, a live performance of short comedies, A Marriage Proposal and A Talk in the Park, at an outdoor venue at 101 Harvie Heights Road, near Palliser Trail.
Evening shows are from Aug. 5-7 and Aug. 12-14 at 7 p.m. and Aug. 8 and 15 at 2 p.m.
“I think it’s going to be great for tourism. I think people miss going to live theatre,” said Marjorie Sutton, Conquest Theatre Canmore’s artistic director.
“Because of the COVID-19, we couldn’t do anything inside, so we decided that we have the land here, so why not do it something outside? These two plays are perfect for outside.”
A Marriage Proposal, written by famous Russian author Anton Chekhov, examines the ridiculousness of what people argue about, often missing the bigger picture.
A Talk in the Park, written by prolific British playwright Alan Ayckbourn, is about five strangers, each open to discussing their personal problems with the group at a park.
Since 1985, Conquest Theatre Canmore has entertained the Bow Valley and Sutton said the arts and culture scene has become a big part of the mountain town during that time.
“I think people are going to appreciate Conquest Theatre trying to bring famous authors’ plays to town,” she said.
In the longstanding theatre company’s latest addition, roles in each short-story are being played by five actors: Sutton, Brian McDonald, Candice McMullin, Carolyn Teichroeb and Brian Teichroeb.
For Canmore's McDonald, it's going to be a bit surreal performing in front of a live crowd since the global pandemic. At first at rehearsals, he felt a bit uncomfortable, but has since eased back into the acting groove.
"There's something that happens when you finally perform a show that is kind of more than the sum of its parts," McDonald said. "There's the energy of the audience, there's all the lines you've been working and suddenly there's something about performing that transforms this kind of heightened level of reality ... once you get to the actual performance, it's just an amazing feeling."
The show will go on regardless of weather, so organizers ask guests to bring a facemask, warm jacket, rain jacket, and flat shoes. There will be refreshments available and prizes to be won at the venue.
To adhere with social distancing, guests will be seated two-metres apart unless they’re couples or a family. Guests are encouraged to roam the acreage property, formerly the Forest Rangers Station, at their leisure.