WCT presents The Cure for Death by Lightning

By Jill Sperling / Susan Edgell
April 7, 2017 - 10:45am Updated: April 7, 2017 - 6:28pm

KAMLOOPS — Western Canada Theatre is gearing up for another world premiere production. 

Former WCT Artistic Director Daryl Cloran adapted The Cure for Death by Lightning from a best selling book. The play will mark the end of his final season with WCT.

The production is likely to be a special one for Cloran, but also for area residents, as the play is set just a short distance from Kamloops.

The Cure for Death by Lightning follows 15-year-old Beth Weeks through a summer of mystery. It's all set in Turtle Valley, near Chase. 

"I think it's so important that these characters are from this region, and it's a story that while it's universal, it's very specific to this region," Cloran said. 

Cloran began adapting the play from the award winning novel by Gail Anderson-Dargatz five years ago.

"When I first got to Kamloops I was looking for a story set in our area that I could adapt from a novel," Cloran explained. "So, I read a number of novels and I found The Cure for Death by Lightning and was immediately struck by what great characters and the sort of theatrical imagery that Gail uses throughout the story."

Puppetry is used to represent the animals in the story. 

In addition to playing the character Crazy Jack, Braden Griffiths designed and operates the puppets. 

"We've moved into this aesthetic where the animals sort of emerge organically from the worlds that they come from," Griffiths said as he held a fawn puppet made to look "like a birch tree come alive."

Griffiths said it took hundreds of hours to craft the puppets. 

"There's not a lot of opportunity as an actor to use puppets in a piece unless you're kind of involved in the construction of them as well."

The Cure for Death by Lightning is being presented in recognition of Canada's 150th birthday. 

According to the play's actors, the story will be especially relevant for audiences from this region.

"I think they'll appreciate that it's their own story," said actress Joelle Peters, who plays the character Nora. "It's something that they can relate to. It's their home. It's so close."

Lucy Hill plays Beth. She also feels that the play's setting will be special for audiences. 

"The setting being here in Turtle Valley, and they talk about Kamloops, and it takes place during the second world war, but it's sort of a neat insight into the time and the place and how those two meet," Hill said.

The show runs from April 6-15 at Sagebrush Theatre. The story's author is expected to be in the audience opening night. 

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