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Battlefords Community Players opens 2024 with British drama

Rehearsals are currently underway for the seven-person cast of An Inspector Calls, which runs from Feb. 29 to March 9.
Rehearsals are underway for BCP's first play of 2024, An Inspector Calls.

THE BATTLEFORDS - The Battlefords Community Players (BCP) is hard at work preparing for their first play of 2024, a British drama written by English dramatist J. B. Priestley that runs Feb. 29, and March 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, and 9.

The action of the play occurs in an English industrial city, where a young girl commits suicide and an eminently respectable British family is subject to a routine inquiry in connection with the death.

An inspector calls on the family to interrogate them, and during his questioning, all members of the group are implicated lightly or deeply in the girl’s undoing.

"Priestley ... felt that if people were more considerate of one another, it would improve quality of life for all. This is why social responsibility is a key theme of the play," Donna Challis said in a press release from BCP. 

"Priestley wanted his audience to be responsible for their own behaviour and responsible for the welfare of others," she added.

The cast includes: 

  • Fraser Glen,
  • Kali Weber,
  • Holly Briant,
  • Tom Claxton,
  • Miguel Fenrich,
  • and newcomers Marie Taylor,
  • and Lewis Eckerman.

An Inspector Calls is directed by Jim Walls, stage managed by Cindy Coupal, with technical expert Darren Olson and others working behind the scenes. 

Walls himself, told the News-Optimist that he hopes people attending this play will discuss it for days and days after it ends.

"I think it's a very wordy play, it's a very character-driven play, there's not a lot huge physical action to it ... so it's a different kind of a play to rehearse," he said, adding that he thinks rehearsals are coming along and that the cast is working hard.

"I'm pretty happy. You know, right now, because of the people I've cast, I'm less concerned about some of the interpretation of the characters as I am about the sort of nuts and bolts of the play ... I'm pretty confident about how the characters and the actors will bring the characters to life."

The play, Walls says, which has been billed as a thriller or as a who-done-it in the style of Agatha Christie, is deeper than that because Priestly had a lot to say about the state of the western world.

Walls notes that the play — set a week before the Titanic sails and two years before Britain is plunged into the First World War — was willing to ask questions about society that are still relevant today. 

"There's the whole question of are we individuals in a society or are we a group? Do we look after each other? All those questions, about social responsibility," he said.

"So it's more than a mystery, but it is a mystery, and it's more than a who-done-it, but it is a who-done-it, and it sort of peels open society and the family that represents that society in a very interesting way, a suspenseful way," he added.

Tickets for An Inspector Calls can be purchased by phoning 306-441-3630, though there are no tickets available for March 7 or 8 as those nights are currently at capacity.

"If you already have tickets invite a friend, introduce someone new to live theatre and enjoy a wonderful evening at the theatre," Challis said.

"See you at the theatre and keep watching for other exciting theatre events presented by Battlefords Community Players – for the love of theatre," she added. 

The final show of the year, The Clean House, runs from May 16 to May 25, and is a theatrical, wildly funny, and whimsical look at class, comedy and the nature of love.