Many Hats Theatre Co. cast for the comedy Buying The Moose (from left to right) Jason Lane, Shannon French, Christa Phillips and Tony Collins. Submitted photo

Many Hats newest performer right on (comedic) time

Many Hats newest production in Penticton is the comedy, Buying the Moose

From starting with a Monday night improv group six months ago to starring in the Many Hats newest production Buying the Moose, it’s been a roller coaster ride to the stage for Jason Lane.

Lane, the newest member to tread the boards for the Many Hats Theatre Co., is in his first role in a play since high school. He plays Rob, a simple man with a big heart who finds himself in hot water with his wife after being found in an odd situation with a blow up doll.

“I like to explain this play, that it’s about the differences between how men and women would react to a situation. It’s about the differences, but also how similar they are.”

Buying the Moose is a four member cast including Shannon French, (Rob’s wife, Betty), Tony Collins, (Rob’s brother, Greg), Christa Phillips (Rob’s, sister-in-law). The play is directed by Jane Pilkey. The comedy is akin to an I Love Lucy episode as it follows characters through something everyone can relate — miscommunication in relationships.

Lane said he was encouraged to audition for Many Hats from a fellow improv performer in the fall.

“I actually thought I might get a smaller role but in a four person play there isn’t really smaller roles,” he said with a laugh. “It’s a different animal doing an actual play because I know what I’m going to say every night, but at the same time there’s a lot of lines to remember.”

Lane said he’s been interested in performing for many years and got his chance with an invitation from the same friend to drop-in to an improv group called Peach Gravy held Mondays at Cowork Penticton.

“It was like ‘hey, you look funny. Let’s hangout.’ I kind of took to it and thought I had what it took.”

In addition to the weekly drop ins, Peach Gravy has held a number of dinner improv nights at Craft Corner Kitchen.

“It’s about an hour show. We do a little skit about a half an hour then we break for supper and carry for another half hour. People are loving it. It’s kind of Who’s Line is it Anyway? We play a couple games, audience members throw us ideas. It’s a lot of fun,” he said.

The next dinner improv is being held April 29.

Although his short roots in performing are in improv, Lane said he’s had no problem staying on script.

“It’s definitely helped when I forget a line or something and I can manage my way back to the script but we keep it pretty on script. The play is very tight and witty jokes so you can’t go off too much or you’re going to ruin the joke down the line.”

Lane said he’s enjoyed learning and performing with Many Hats and hopes to be in future in productions.

“It’s different every night. The lines are the same but the way the audience reacts is different. They laugh in some places one night and others the next,” he said. “The group has really accepted me with open arms and given me a lot of positive feedback and pointers.”

The show runs till March 3 on the Cannery Stage. Adult tickets are $25 (including GST), seniors and students are $22. Shows are Thursday, Friday, Saturday starting at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees are 2 p.m. Tickets can be bought at the box office at the Nest and Nectar.

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