- Standing: Brian Rothwell, Jim Peltier, Tom Szalay, Ritchie Kendrick, Donna Macbeth, Craig Bjornson, Donna Gordan, Garry Doll
- Sitting: Christine Rothwell, Curtis Boomhower, Jenn MacNeil, Nathan Linders
SOAP Theatre’s winter production of Born Yesterday by Garson Kanin is looking great for opening night, Friday, February 7.
Born Yesterday is set in a posh Washington DC hotel suite in 1946 (beautifully designed and built by Craig Bjornson), complete with a full staff complement of maid, bellhops, manicurist, shoeshine man, waiter, barber and assistant manager (Donna Macbeth, Garry Doll, Brian Rothwell, Donna Gordan and a cameo appearance by show director, Tom Szalay)
This story features Harry Brock (Nathan Linders), a shady and somewhat vulgar junk dealer who has driven to Washington from New Jersey to get (buy) some business-friendly legislative amendments with the help of his personal lawyer, Jim Devery (Ritchie Kendrick) and Senator Norval Hedges (Jim Peltier). Brock’s entourage includes his henchman, Cousin Eddie (Craig Bjornson) and his beautiful but naïve, ex-chorus-girl, lady-friend Billie Dawn (Jenn MacNeil).
Plans soon move sideways at Brock’s first meeting with the Senator and his wife, Anna Hedges (Christine Rothwell), where Billie’s sass and ignorance make everyone more than a little uncomfortable, especially Brock. “Every time she opened her kisser tonight, sump’n wrong come out.” Desperate to salvage his shady scheme, Brock decides to hire local investigative reporter, Paul Verrall (Curtis Boomhower) to show Billie the ropes, teach her some class and allow her to better fit into the Washington social scene.
Although Paul is investigating Brock for his past corruption, he has managed to charm Brock at their first interview and Brock is convinced of the wisdom and fool-proof nature of his plan, despite strong contrary advice from his personal lawyer.
While at first skeptical of Brock’s half-baked education plan, Billie gets a yen for Paul right off and agrees to give it a try. “I don’t mind. I got nothin’ much to do.”
But a little education can go a long way. Little does Brock realize that beneath her ignorance and apathy, Billie is an intelligent woman with a strong sense of right and wrong, who just needed a kind and patient teacher to blossom into an empowered and informed person. As Billie and Paul tiptoe towards a romance, and Billie absorbs Paul’s knowledge and ideals, she begins to question the ways Brock has been using her.
In this pointed and hilarious story, personal and political oppression is exposed and outwitted in the intellectual rebirth of the iconic ‘dumb blonde’, who ultimately stands up to Brock’s corruption and violent intimidation.
Born Yesterday opened on Broadway in 1946 and ran for over 1,600 performances. It has been re-mounted many times on stage and twice made into a motion picture of the same name (1950 and 1993). Although written almost 75 years ago, its social and political commentary are as topical today as when the show first opened. Born Yesterday is suitable for ages 13 and over.
“It has been an absolute joy and privilege to direct Born Yesterday,” says director, Tom Szalay. “The cast and I all love the script. We’re just so pumped to be staging this great story for you!”
Born Yesterday plays five performances at the Venables Theatre in Oliver: Friday and Saturday evenings February 7 through 15, plus a matinee on Sunday, February 9. For full show details, ticket links and to view pre-show dinner specials offered by Pappa’s Firehall Bistro, visit SOAP Theatre’s website show page, www.soplayers.ca/born
Tickets are also available at the Venables Box Office (6100 Gala Street) or by phone (250-498-1626). Selected tickets are also available at Your Dollar Store With More in Osoyoos. Buy tickets early for best seat selection and for discounts off the regular, day-of-show prices. Further discounts for groups of 10 or more are also available online or through the box office.
Photo by Jen Jensen