Nov 2 to 10 in the Studio Theatre
By Josh Martin, Sports Editor
This past week I had the opportunity to get a sneak peak of Douglas College’s Dangerous Corner by J.B. Priestley, which comes out this Friday November 2 and runs until November 10 in the Studio Theatre at the New West campus on the fourth floor. The show, which is directed by Thrasso Petras, stars second-year theatre students Michael Kurliak as Gordon Whitehouse, Katie Doyle as Olwen Peel, Alex Chan as Charles Stanton, Shanelle Horobec as Betty Whitehouse, Aaron Holt as Robert Caplan, Maddy Osborne-Wood as Freda Caplan, and Larissa Sampson as Maud Mockridge.
Dangerous Corner, which was first premiered in May of 1932 in London, takes place in the 1930s at Freda and Robert Caplan’s dinner party. They are entertaining guests when a chance remark about a cigarette from a musical box fuels a series of devastating revelations and dark secrets within the group, which leads to undeniable consequences. The dark secrets between all of the dinner guests seem to coincide with the character Martin Caplan, who committed suicide a year earlier. This play is the unraveling of the secrets and truths behind the relationships of each of the characters and the mystery of Martin Caplan’s death.
The biggest things that stood out for me when I got to sit in on a rehearsal was the character work that these actors have done and the amazing set work by the Stagecraft students. As soon as I walked in—even though the set was unfinished—I could immediately feel the nostalgic, proper, 1930s vibe through the Tim Burton-like windows and fireplace, with the tall sharp corners giving off that edgy, intense demeanour which is set throughout the play.
As I watched from the audience, completely thrown into the nearing end of Act II, I was forced to figure out the relationships between all of the characters and what was actually going on before my eyes. The tension that built between siblings Freda and Gordon towards the end of the first Act reminded me why I am so fond of theatre. The fact that these two actors immersed themselves into their characters and organically created this heated tension on stage before an audience is exactly why people need to come and watch. Being a part of the situation and feeling the emotions throughout the intimate parlour room journey that these characters have taken us on in Dangerous Corner leaves you on the edge of your seat, waiting to see what sort of revelation will happen next.
I respect the fact that even in-between scenes, the actors continued their English accents when speaking to the director and their cast mates. And it showed through as they’ve been doing this from day one of rehearsal and each character is well developed in terms of the way they speak. I managed to get a few words from each of them on what we can expect from the show.
Actors Doyle and Kurliak are getting ready for their first of two productions this year in the theatre program and can’t wait to get the show in front of an audience.
“My name is Olwen Peel,” Doyle spoke while still in character, “I am an upper class, sophisticated woman. I’m very calm, cool, and collected and always thinking and always have a smart remark or some deep intellectual thought to put out to the room, which gets interrupted, always, by [Gordon].
“[I’m looking forward to] finally having an audience and having someone to play off of. Seeing what people actually think is funny and not just what Thrasso or we think is funny.
“[I want the audience to see] how we treat one another and how truthful we really are and how much we really lie and how those lies can really blow up in your face,” says Doyle.
“I’m Gordon Whitehouse,” Kurliak adds, also in character, “I’m a very energetic young guy, fairly recently married and a lot of my friends seem to get a good kick out of telling me to shut up, quite regularly.
“I think the biggest thing will be the response of [the audience] to witnessing the reveal of secrets that are quite life changing for people and whether or not they think we [as actors] do that well.”
Image of Maddy Osborne-Wood and Shanelle Horobec Shawnali Ogle.