Lord Arthur Savile, the protagonist of Oscar Wilde's short story Lord Arthur Savile's Crime, has it all: he's wealthy, well-liked, and engaged to be married to the love of his life. That is, until an encounter with a palm reader turns the naive young aristocrat's world upside down. Thus he is forced to put his life on-hold in order to complete a certain "task," much to the chagrin of his friends and family. Fending off nosey relatives, self-important friends, and of course the increasing anxiety of his fiancé, Miss Sybil Merton, Arthur must accomplish his mission before his upcoming marriage is called off for good.
This story is the basis for American playwright Rob Urbinati's play “West Moon Street”, which is The Performers' Company summer theatre offering. Urbinati's adaptation, described as "a wilde new comedy," captures the wit and satire for which Wilde was known, and features a diverse cast of characters including the excitable Jane Percy, the mysterious Miss Podgers and the cantankerous Lady Clem! Director Stephen Puddle says that the show is a "fun-filled frolic that should appeal to a wide range of audience members." Stage manager Rick Walker agrees, also noting that although the show is set in the years after World War I, the themes are timeless, as the play centres around a bored cultural elite trying to control the world around them.
Rehearsals for West Moon Street have been underway since the beginning of June. Many cast members are veteran actors and Performers' Company regulars, but there is also at least one actor who will take to the stage for the first time when the show opens in late July. The cast has just completed the "off-book" day; the day by which all lines must be memorized, and they are looking forward to perfecting each scene and tightening the show over the next few weeks. "This is my favourite moment in the rehearsal process," reports David White, who plays the role of Lord Arthur. "Once you get the scripts out of your hands, it frees you up to really jump into the role, physically and mentally. It's definitely an exciting milestone to reach."
The Performers' Company has been presenting shows in Sackville since their 2007 inaugural production of “The Importance of Being Earnest”, and has consistently brought a high calibre of modern classic productions to eager audiences. These have included, among others, Noel Coward's “Hay Fever” (2008), Joseph Kesselring's “Arsenic and Old Lace” (2010), and A.A. Milne's “Toad of Toad Hall” (2012). Most recently, the company presented “Shakespeare's Will”, by Canadian playwright Vern Thiessen, a one-woman tour de force featuring Alison Hart in the role of Anne Hathaway. Shakespeare’s wife. West Moon Street will complete the company’s 2013-2014 season of plays, and plans for the coming 2014-2015 season are already taking shape.
West Moon Street is presented in collaboration with Sackville’s Festival by the Marsh, and will run from July 23 to 27 at the Maritime Conference Centre on 21 Wright Street in Sackville. Tickets will be available from the company’s usual source - Rob Lyon Graphics (10 Weldon Street – ph: 536-1904) after July 3.