Once upon a time there was a a group of theatre-loving friends who would get together every few weeks to drink tea and read plays.
“Let’s produce one of our own,” they decided. “A funny one.”
After much searching, they settled on “Bedtime Stories” — but not ones for children.
Playgroup Theatre is producing Canadian playwright Norm Foster’s series of six stories, all comedies, all off-the-wall and all centred around a bed, albeit a different bed in each scene.
There’s an eager, accident-prone stripper, whose boss is trying to fire her; two bumbling burglars who end up having an on-the-job bonding moment; and a middle-aged couple who agreed to have sex on the radio for $5,000.
Janet MacDonald plays the part of Susan, a woman who decides to visit a high school date on his death bed.
“They had one date in high school and it didn’t go very well, and she decides to come back and sort of try to make amends,” MacDonald said.
“She’s very blunt and she’s self-centred on the outside, but inside, she has a good heart. She has some funny lines, and it’s a challenge to play her, but it’s fun.”
It was group member Chris Panting who brought “Bedtime Stories” to the group, having found it online after Googling the words “Canadian playwright,” and after the first read-through, it was a unanimous decision to produce it, MacDonald said.
“We all thought it was hilarious,” she said.
Playgroup’s production of the comedy is one of seven being produced across the country this year, she said.
Six of the members of the theatre group — MacDonald, Janet Edmonds, Glenn Gaulton, Megan Jones, Janet O’Reilly and Wendy Rogers — take turns acting and directing, as a way to get some experience doing both. They might be in one scene and direct the next, MacDonald said.
Because they’re all featured in a bedroom, the sets are relatively minimal and easy to change between stories, she said.
“You just change the bedspread,” she said with a laugh. “Hopefully the audience will be able to stretch their imagination, as audiences are good at doing.”
Also featuring Jedediah Baker, Neil Butler, Robert Kean, Allison Moira Kelly, Jill Kennedy, Rod Lundrigan, Kyle McDavid, Mike Nolan and Dave Walsh, “Bedtime Stories” runs at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre’s Basement Theatre at 8 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, with a pay-what-you-can matinee on Saturday as well.
Tickets are $18 ($15 for seniors and students) and are available at the Arts and Culture Centre box office, or by calling 729-3900.
Because of adult themes and language, the show is not considered suitable for children younger than 14.