An Abbotsford teacher is among the cast of a play that has been entered into Theatre B.C.’s Fraser Valley Zone Festival later this month and which opens this weekend in Mission.
Brian Billo, W. J. Mouat Secondary’s senior theatre and film teacher, takes to the stage in Opening Nite Theatre’s (ONT) production of How it Works by playwright Daniel MacIvor.
The play is a compassionately funny and heartbreaking story about a family struggling through crisis and re-definition.
Billo plays Al, a Halifax cop, who, along with his stylish ex-wife Donna (played by Camille Atebe), is both lost and helpless when it comes to dealing with his drug-addicted teenage daughter, Brooke (Petra Atebe).
Enter Al’s new girlfriend, Christine (Catherine Dawn), a down-to-earth, exuberant, beer-swilling ex-nun who offers to “take Brooke on” and uncover the real reason for her five-year spiral out of control.
The production is Opening Nite Theatre’s entry into the zone festival May 21 to 27 in White Rock.
Each participating group has four hours to get their set, lighting, sound, and cast and crew ready for adjudication by University of Victoria theatre professor Fran Gebhard.
Billo has directed many students in the Upper Fraser Valley High School Drama Festival – Mouat has won four of the last eight years – but this will be his first time competing in a show outside of school.
“Acting is so much different than directing. The actors are part of the machine that the director puts together, along with all the technical aspects. With adjudication, it’s ultimately on the director’s shoulders to justify the choices made,” he said.
Meanwhile, How it Works will be staged at ONT theatre at 33223 Railway Ave. in Mission. Showtimes are 8 p.m. from May 5 to 20 (Thursday to Saturday), with 2 p.m. matinees on May 7, 14 and 20.
Tickets are $15 (two for one on May 11 and 18) and are available online at openingnitetheatre.com, by phone at 604-826-ONTS or at the door.