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Herbour Theatre’s ‘Toast and Jam’ named Best Ensemble

Prince Rupert’s Harbour Theatre had audiences in stitches during its drama-dy performance of ‘Toast and Jam’ in late May, while hosting the 2017 Skeena Zone Theatre Festival.
Photo by Kevin Campbell/Northern View Roommates Betty (Heather MacRae), Bill (Chrystopher Thompson) and Jolie (Chelsea Stamp-Vincent) bicker in a heated debate over relationship values in the Rob Shearer-written performance, ‘Toast and Jam’ last Thursday night.

Prince Rupert’s Harbour Theatre had audiences in stitches during its drama-dy performance of ‘Toast and Jam’ in late May, while hosting the 2017 Skeena Zone Theatre Festival.

Kicking off the festival which featured three different performances by Harbour Theatre, Terrace Little Theatre and Kitimat’s On Cue Players, was ‘Toast and Jam’ on May 25.

Written by Rob Shearer, the performance centres around Betty (played by Heather MacRae) and her desire to become a little more than friends with her roommate and radio broadcast buff, Bill (Chrystopher Thompson).

Bill’s older age doesn’t deter the soft-spoken and proper Betty, but her other roommate, Jolie (Chelsea Stamp-Vincent), does everything she can to try and convince Betty that there are other fish in the sea beside boring ‘ol Bill.

The two roomies couldn’t be more different. While Betty enjoys making breakfast for Bill and staying in with a good movie, Jolie can often be found at the bar, pounding back a few and having a good night out.

Bill’s oblivious and self-absorbed nature enables him to only realize what’s going on halfway through the play, and by then the claws have come out between Betty and Jolie.

However, the two set aside their differences in time to hatch a scheme to nab Bill’s affections, and the roomies finish their toast and jam and move on with new friendships and new romances.

Adjudicator Joan MacLean, from Vancouver, appreciated the characters’ depth and the three-dimensional motivations, fears and desires that the roommates share as mid-twenties (and in the case of Bill), thirties characters.

She also applauded the short time and little direction that the players had to work with using Shearer’s script.

The Skeena Zone Theatre Festival Committee featured all three plays written by Canadian playwrights in honour of Canada 150, as Terrace Little Theatre performed Daniel MacIvor’s ‘Marion Bridge’ and On Cue Players put on Tom Ziegler’s ‘Grace and Glorie.’

On Cue Players gathered the most awards from the festival, garnering six adjudicator awards and three people’s choice awards. On Cue won two Outstanding Acting awards, Best Youth or Novice Performance, Best Set Design/Visual Presentation, Best Sound and Best Backstage Co-operation, as well as the people’s choice of Best Set, Best Production and Best Performance by a Woman.

Terrace Little Theatre came away with the big prize of Best Production, and also took home Best Director, two Outstanding Acting awards, Best Lighting and Best Costumes.

Harbour Theatre won the distinctions of Best Ensemble and people’s choice of Best Performance by a Man (Thompson).

“Harbour Theatre acknowledges the hard work and commitment of all participants in the festival as well as our festival committee, volunteers, audience members and our adjudicator, Joan MacLean. Harbour Theatre also thanks our sponsors Subway, the Prince Rupert Port Authority, City of Prince Rupert, MacCarthy GM, All-West Glass and Inn on the Harbour,” said Treena Decker, festival host.