Hope is a precious thing and it can be found in the strangest of places. This is one of the themes in Dreary and Izzy, a new play coming this March to the Gateway Theatre in Richmond.
The story follows the lives of the Monoghan sisters, Deirdre and Isabelle. Just before Deirdre is about to go off to university, fate intervenes as the two sisters’ parents die in a tragic car accident.
As a result, Deirdre is left with the sole responsibility of looking after her adopted First Nations sister Izzy (which she’s more commonly known as) who has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
Deirdre, or Dreary as she’s nicknamed by Izzy, forgoes her future to take care of her challenging sister.
While Dreary and Izzy may appear to be a heavy drama filled with tragic realities, “it is a very funny play full of life and warmth and heart,” said Jovanni Sy, the artistic director of the Gateway Theatre.
That style of storytelling is what drew Sy to the piece.
Audiences can expect to see “a very pertinent serious social issue dealt with in a way that doesn’t feel heavy-handed, but instead is entertaining and thought-provoking,” Sy Said.
It is “a play that refers to several serious issues but that never feels like an issue play.” At Dreary and Izzy’s heart, it’s “about what we are willing to sacrifice for those we love,” added Sy.
Dreary and Izzy is written and directed by Canadian playwright Tara Beagan.
In 2004, her first play, Thy Neighbour’s Wife, debuted in Toronto and won a Dora Award for Outstanding New Play.
Since then, Beagan has written 12 plays and was most recently artistic director of Native Earth Performing Arts in Toronto. As Sy remarked, coming to see the show is “a chance to see one of Canada’s most exciting and original Aboriginal voices.”
The play stars Dakota Hebert as Dreary and Roseanne Supernault as Izzy.
Rounding out the cast is Sharon Bakker as Mrs. Harper, the opinionated family friend/nurse, and Garret C. Smith as Freddie Seven Horses, the vacuum salesman who takes a liking to Deirdre.
Dreary and Izzy is a co-production with Persephone Theatre, Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company and Western Canada Theatre.
Sy said the reason for the partnership was “because of a mutual admiration for Tara as one of the countries leading new voices.”
Sy went on to say, “the best collaborations between theatre companies are ones where we share a common passion for the art.”
Dreary and Izzy runs from March 6 to 15 at Gateway’s Studio B. Tickets for adults and seniors are priced $39. Students are $30, with valid identification and groups of 10+ cost $34 each.
Prior to the 1 p.m. show on Tuesday March 11, complementary tea is provided to ticket holders.
Prior to the 8 p.m. show, patrons are welcome to attend a pre-show chat between Sy and the artistic team behind Dreary and Izzy.
For tickets, got to www.tickets.gatewaytheatre.com/ or on 604-270-1812.