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Sir Backbite? Lady Sneerwell? Coquitlam troupe stages updated 18th century comedy

Stage 43 mounts the updated version of "The School of Scandal" at the Evergreen Cultural Centre in Coquitlam in January 2024.

An 18th century comedy about manners that was brought up to date in 2015 will be mounted in Coquitlam next month.

William Harwell Wilson’s School for Scandal, a New Adaptation, is the second show of the season by the Stage 43 Theatrical Society.

Tickets are now on sale for the performances that run at the Evergreen Cultural Centre (1205 Pinetree Way) from Jan. 11 to 20, 2024.

A refresh of the play The School of Scandal by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, which premiered in 1777 at the Drury Lane Theatre in London, England, the new stage version launches the presentation into the 21st century with current language and representation, as well as more action and a smaller cast; the adaptation was first performed in 2015 in Portland, Ore., by the Scuttlemagoon Players.

For the Stage 43 show that’s produced by Claire Pinkett, four Tri-City actors are cast:

  • Cai Sun (as Maria)
  • Sean Mawhinney (as Charles Surface)
  • Michelle Stanley (as Lady Sneerwell)
  • Paige Conzatti (as Mrs. Candour)

Both Sun and Stanley are marking their Stage 43 debuts.

And it’s the first Stage 43 production to be directed by Sue Davey, who is best known for her work with the Dogwood Drama Club at Coquitlam’s Dogwood Pavilion and with the IOCO Players in Port Moody (Davey stage managed STAGES: Sondheim & Schwartz, Lullaby To Broadway and appeared as Juror No. 9 in 12 Angry Jurors).

“'School for Scandal' has long been a favourite of mine and I couldn’t resist directing a modern version of the English classic,” Davey said in a news release.

Meanwhile, also appearing in the show, from outside the Tri-Cities, are:

  • Kelsey Robertson (as Lady Teazle)
  • Chris Gursche (as Sir Peter Teazle)
  • Alex Ross (as Joseph Surface)
  • Halia Hirniak (as Lady Olive)
  • Connor Hogg (as Sir Benjamin Backbite)
  • Diane Tzingounakis (as Mrs. Crabtree)

Tickets at $28/$24 for School for Scandal are available via the Evergreen’s website or by calling the box office at 604-927-6555. The show is suitable for ages 18 and up.

Meanwhile, Stage 43’s final production of the season is a play that was supposed to run in the spring of 2020 but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic: The Elephant Man.

The show by Bernard Pomerance based on the life of John Merrick is on at the Evergreen from April 25 to May 4, 2024.