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Gallery 7 Theatre in Abbotsford presents A Tale of Two Cities

New adaptation, written by local playwright Adriel Brandt, opens Nov. 10
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Marcus Miller, Genevieve Dougan and Adriel Brandt perform in Gallery 7 Theatre’s production of A Tale of Two Cities. (Photo by Dianna Lewis)

Gallery 7 Theatre in Abbotsford stages the premier of a new adaptation of A Tale of Two Cities, written by Abbotsford playwright Adriel Brandt and based on the Charles Dickens’ classic novel.

The production features a cast of performers from around the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland and runs from Nov. 10 to 18 at the Abbotsford Arts Centre, 2329 Crescent Way.

Executive/artistic director Ken Hildebrandt said this is the first time in Gallery 7’s 30-plus history that they have “walked alongside” a playwright in the conception, development and production of a new play.

“This has been a five-year process of writing, workshopping, hosting readings and conducting rewrites to prepare the script for production,” he said.

“Adriel Brandt has done a stellar job of distilling this epic story to its essential elements, and has created a compelling, thought-provoking and entertaining script for modern audiences.”

Set in the late 1700s in the days leading up to and during the French Revolution, a family is caught in a web of legal challenges and social upheaval.

Charles Darnay, having shirked his inheritance and any association with his brutal family, heads to England following his acquittal for treason.

Having married Lucie Manette, who cares for her invalid mother, Darnay is soon called back to France, and with tensions and unrest at an all-time high, he is found to be an enemy of the state and imprisoned.

Sidney Carton, a close friend of Lucie’s and responsible for Darnay’s original acquittal, dedicates himself to returning the beleaguered Darnay to his family, but faces the prospect of great self-sacrifice in the process.

A story of family, justice and sacrifice, this new adaptation explores gluttony, tyranny, the excess of violent revolution and the power of love.

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“This story is endlessly translatable and intimately human,” Brandt says. “It tells of our struggles – individually, as a community, and as a global body. A Tale of Two Cities is a story of unfailing relevance.”

Performing the role of Charles Darnay is Marcus Miller, who last appeared in the 2022 production of The Magician’s Nephew, and the role of Lucie Manette is played by Genevieve Dougan.

The role of Sidney Carton is played by Adriel Brandt, while the role of the all-business Mr. Lorry is played by Andrew Abrahams.

Shannon Tauber takes on the role of Madame Defarge and James Lam of Chilliwack plays the role of Mr. Defarge.

Rounding out the cast, often playing multiple characters, are Tamara Charman, Rebecca Dougan, Sophie Heinrichs, Eldon Letkeman, Karis Miller, Peter Shaver and Liam Whatley.

Directing this talented cast is Gabe Kirkley, who last directed The Magician’s Nephew.

Set design is by Andrew Potts, costume design is by Dani Dejong, props design is by Beckie Cormier, lighting design is by Ken Hildebrandt, sound design is by Veda Maharaj, and hair and makeup design is by Shannon Tauber.

Co-stage managing the show are Nelly Fargeon and Michelle Potts, and production photography is by Dianna Lewis.

A Tale of Two Cities runs Nov. 10 and 11 and 15-18 at 7:30 p.m.,with matinees on Nov. 11, 14 and 18 at 2 p.m.

Visit gallery7theatre.com for tickets and more information or call 604-504-5940.