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When April Watson of Saskatoon landed a role in the Barn Playhouse production of “A Stranger for Christmas” last year, she didn’t have any inkling it would lead to a director’s gig with the Scared Scriptless Players, Warman’s community theatre group.
But she’s glad it worked out that way.
“I had a role as one of the daughters in the Barn Playhouse production,” said Watson. “And Gwenda MacPherson, who directed the Scared Scriptless Players’ show last spring, was also part of that Barn Playhouse cast. We got to know each other, and she invited me to become involved with the Scared Scriptless bunch.
“I agreed to direct their next play,” she added. “And so far, it’s been fun. I’m really looking forward to the rehearsals. They seem like a really great group of people.”
Watson gained theatre experience at the University of Saskatchewan, where she acted in and directed plays during her student days; as well as community theatre groups in the region following her graduation.
Her first task as director last fall involved poring through potential scripts. She chose “Bloody Murder” as the one that best suited the Warman community theatre group’s mandate.
“It’s a murder-mystery/comedy,” said Watson. “In some ways it has a typical ‘Clue’-like plot, but there’s a twist, or actually, a lot of twists, because it’s a parody of a British murder-mystery. In this one, the actors all know what’s going on.”
The plot incorporates a “play-within-a-play” where the blanks get filled in as the mystery unfolds.
Comedy, particularly a broad spoof like this, is fun for both the actors and the audience, but it’s also more challenging to pull off, she noted.
“Comedic timing is a big thing,” she said. “It has to be bang-on. And this play is complicated because so many of the actors have some pretty long monologues. It’s also a big cast, so they really have to work as a team to get it right.”
While Watson and some of the cast are new to the troupe, many of the actors and crew members are veterans, including Gwenda MacPherson, Jamie McCrae, Linsey Gatzke and Tom Nieman.
Rehearsals started Sunday, January 8, and the actors are going flat out to have the production in shape by mid-March.
Watson said she learned a lot from director Vicky Dyck during last year’s Barn Playhouse production, and is hoping to put those lessons to good use in this play.
“It’s a great script, we have a talented cast and crew, and I’m looking forward to the next few weeks,” she said. “It should be a lot of fun.”