Skip to content

Original drama at the Playhouse

Bruised Apples, a one-act play by Gibsons author Marilyn Browning, has already won an award.

Bruised Apples, a one-act play by Gibsons author Marilyn Browning, has already won an award. Last year, it received honourable mention in a competition sponsored by a Vancouver company, Theatre in the Raw, and will likely be produced there in the future.

And Coast audiences can have a preview on July 10 during this year's Showcase of the Performing Arts (SOPA) held at the Heritage Playhouse in Gibsons. Browning and a cast of five, Karen Webb, Sue Carson, Gloria Boyd, Derek Browning and Dorothy Fraser, will perform a staged dramatic reading under the direction of John Keates.

The play's theme is abuse in a care home, but it's not grim.

"It's full of dark, sardonic humour," says Browning. "It also has a scene that can bring you tears."

She has based her lead character, Myrna, on a true-life person, a Coast care home resident, who lived in the home from the age of 42 as a result of a stroke and brain aneurysm. As one of the few mentally alert residents, the cynical Myrna takes on the role of advocate when residents become violent and abusive to each other.

Browning is currently appearing in the role of Grandmother in Vancouver's longest running production, Tony and Tina's Wedding. She recently appeared on Coast stages during Peninsula Players' production of Black Deeds in Whitehorse and was in a lead role in Seascape with Scott Harris.

To balance out the bill for the Two Short Plays in One Short Evening event on July 10, SOPA will also bring back, by popular demand, a one-act play, Seasick, by Sandy Hook author Louise Phillips that was a crowd pleaser at last year's SOPA.

Phillips is gratified to return in this full performance staging of her one-woman play, even though she recalls that her performance at last year's SOPA was "truly terrifying." She was still rehearsing only the first scene then, she says, but the full play, 45 minutes long, has since appeared at Vancouver's Fringe Festival.

Phillips is an aspiring playwright who was a professional actor in the Vancouver and White Rock theatre scene. These days, she makes her living from her other love, writing, and works on a visitor's magazine in the city. She confesses she has had a hard time staying away from the stage.

Seasick is darkly funny, the story of a woman facing 50 who risks all on a "make or break" trip to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia to find a new life or love. A concern about the reef creatures that face extinction has been parlayed into every baby boomer's concern about extinction of the human race.

Two Short Plays will appear on Saturday, July 10, at 8 p.m. at the Heritage Playhouse. Tickets cost $12.50 and are available at Coast Books, Talewind Books and Hallmark Cards.

In addition to these original dramas, SOPA will also showcase a comedy and drama show featuring les grandes dames de Gibsons, Nest Lewis and Colleen Elson. The Driftwood Players duo will appear in Talking Heads on Thursday, July 8, also at their theatre of choice, the Heritage Playhouse.