What happens when you discover that your beloved farm house that you rented out has been turned into a pot growing operation?
Simple, the husband and wife owners fall back in love among the ruins.
The tale is the latest production taking to the stage at Studio B at Gateway Theatre and running March 7-16. It also marks the local directorial debut for Gateway’s new artistic director, Jovanni Sy.
Harvest was written by Albertan playwright Ken Cameron and is based loosely on an experience he had with his parents who at retirement age rented out their farmhouse.
“Only, they didn’t realize they rented it out to a marijuana grow-op,” Sy said.
The cast includes seasoned performers David Mann and Eileen Barrett who play a series of roles — about a dozen in total — in addition to the central characters of husband and wife. But they also interchange roles, making for demanding performances from both actors and director.
“Sometimes, they play the same character,” Sy said, explaining that occurs when Mann and Barrett share playing the third person in a scene.
“It’s a real actor’s piece,” Sy said. “The theatrical magic is driven by the actors. It requires two, seasoned, senior actors, and that’s exactly what we’ve got.”
On the directorial side of things, Sy said the challenge is to be clear in the story-telling. “Ultimately, it’s this wonderful love story, ultimately of a couple who after 42 years of marriage through a crisis discover their love for one another. I think it’s so charmingly written. It’s inventive and theatrical.”
Since taking up the position of artistic director last spring Sy said there has been plenty to become acquainted with at the theatre and in the community.
“For me, coming from Toronto, I needed time to get to know all the actors, directors and designers in the Greater Vancouver area. And it’s been a real pleasure because it’s a very welcoming community,” Sy said.
The Gateway’s reputation as a prominent regional theatre is what attracted Sy to the west coast. And as a director, playwright and actor, he said he brings “those sensibilities to the position as well.”