Comedy, as defined by popular journalist-resource centre Wikipedia: "Any humorous discourse generally intended to amuse."
After the critical success / legal mishap of The Princess Bride , people have been wondering what hilarious manner of discourse Between Shifts would tackle next.
That question, dear readers, has been answered. It will be not one discourse but several . Oh yes, A Night of Comedy will feature six one-act plays in one night (of comedy) at the Brackendale Art Gallery.
The plays include Anton Chekhov's only two comedies, The Proposal , about a marriage proposal gone awry, and The Boor, a tale of unlikely romance; The Harpy, a six-minute piece from the view of a prostitute; Time Flies, directed by Kathy Daniels, about two mayflies who discover they have only one day to live; Flambé , about two volatile chefs finding friendship in the kitchen; and The Loneliest Vampire in New York (synopsis obvious).
"It's really worth seeing," says Lisa Schaer, who is directing The Boor .
Instead of following up The Princess Bride with another three-or-four act play, the powers that be decided to do another round of single-act performances, which have been rather popular in the past. Schaer, who is making her directorial debut with The Boor , says the group held a round-table play reading to pick the six plays. They've secured all the appropriate performing rights for A Night of Comedy to avoid any unpleasant surprises. The promotional poster includes the words "Copyright Approved" stamped over the play's title in an assertive typewriter font, a cheeky reference the Princess Bride debacle.
For those who don't know: Between Shifts never acquired the necessary rights to perform their hilarious and wildly impressive take of the classic cult film, taken word for word. It was cancelled three performances early after 20 th Century Fox's lawyers issued a cease and desist order.
"As quickly as we got the letter was as quickly as we closed the show," Schaer says. "It was quite clear in the letter that we had to close right away."
No one is completely sure how a small production company in a small B.C. town had caught the attention of a giant Hollywood studio but Schaer says it was probably Google's fault. During its run, a search for the phrase "Princess Bride" revealed their production as the fourth link on the results page, directly underneath the Internet Movie Database link.
But those first five shows were a critical success and it earned Between Shifts a boost in popularity throughout Sea to Sky and, Schaer says, everyone involved is eager to see how this pays off for Between Shifts.
"We've always had a really loyal following. People tend to come out, you know," she says. "We sell out our pantomimes, we sold out Princess Bride. There have been shows that don't sell out as well but we did Fawlty Towers and that sold out. There's a really good chance that we'll end up selling out at least one or two of our nights," she says, adding, "depending on hockey."
The zany approach to theatre is typical for a group that has tackled Black Adder and Fawlty Towers in the past. Schaer says everyone involved with the theatre company shares that sense of humour. It's light-hearted, heart-driven programming time after time that has struck a chord with the community.
The whole operation has been done, literally, between shifts and on a volunteer basis since inception in 1993. One person will do promotions while another will handle poster distribution. Someone's always available for lighting, for stage management and make up, making every consecutive production more professional than the last.
"It shows me a group of dedicated people who love theatre, who just absolutely have a love of performance art and working together," she says.