OUT ON A LIMB: My acting career: taking it on the jaw and a torn rotator cuff

I like to think it was my tour de force acting performance. Probably more like tour de farce

Every time  I go into Rivercity Players “clubhouse,” as it used to be called, it’s like walking down memory lane.

It’s the posters on the wall and the accompanying photo displays that do it. I can’t help but peruse them and remember all the people involved and the fun we had. Some of our greatest friends were made through Rivercity Players. There’s the pics of No Sex Please, We’re British which I performed in the, oh, 1890s, I think. Okay, the 1990s but it seems like so long ago. Well, I guess I have to admit that it was a long time ago.

I have good cause to remember that play, besides being a box office smash and a whole lot of fun, it was the play in which I dislocated my shoulder for the first time. I had to hurl my body over a counter and through a styrofoam panel to land on a foam landing pad on the other side.

Trouble is, during one rehearsal, I didn’t quite land on it properly and my left shoulder bore the weight of my flying body as it stopped me cold on the concrete floor of the old “clubhouse.” Director Ron Hagerman had to stand in for me in that scene for the actual run of the play.

Don’t say, I never give my all to a performance.

I did seem to have a penchant for violent parts. There was the one character I played that would always get slugged in the face by her daughter. Yes, I said “her” daughter. I was playing Angeline, 90 years old and wheelchair-bound, in Michel Tremblay’s Les Belles Soeurs. I was cast in this all-woman play because the director felt the audience might be more comfortable with the elder abuse if the role was filled by a man. I was glad Carol Lang’s aim was always spot on.

I had about four lines but was onstage for the whole production. I like to think it was my tour de force acting performance. Probably more like tour de farce. Ba-dum!

Mostly, however, I’ve been behind the scenes directing productions. Not that there’s any correlation between the violence onstage I’ve participated in and the fading out of the limelight.

It’s just that I’m more in control of the violence backstage! Rim-shot! Just kidding.

Truth is I hate memorizing lines. But don’t tell my current director that. Oh, did I tell you, I’m going to be in the now-traditional Rivercity Players’ Christmas pantomime? This year we’re producing Aladdin. I play a villain. I’m back to the violence, it would appear. No I’m not! It’s a family show and it will play at the Tidemark Dec. 28-31.

The point of all this reminiscing is, after many years, Rivercity Players is now in control of its own destiny with the opening of its new performing studio. After years of dreaming of our own performance space, Rivercity Players was gifted a building and a group of dedicated volunteers have renovated into an excellent 80-seat performing space. The future looks bright for Campbell River’s oldest performing organization. Congratulations gang.

If you want to get involved onstage or backstage, e-mail rivercityp@gmail.com.

  • Next up for Rivercity is Sin, Sex and the CIA running Oct. 16-27 at the Rivercity Stage (1080 Hemlock Street).