Penticton theatre group cruise into new comedy

Many Hats Theatre Company's latest production Separate Beds opens in Penticton next week.

Rudy Nemechek (left) and Jane Saunders  will be performing as two distinct couples in Many Hats Theatre Company production of Separate Beds opening next week and running until May 5.

Rudy Nemechek (left) and Jane Saunders will be performing as two distinct couples in Many Hats Theatre Company production of Separate Beds opening next week and running until May 5.

Just as there is an unusual twist in Many Hats Theatre Company’s latest production Separate Beds, how they came across the play is also unique.

“We discovered this one quite by accident,” said Ed Schneider, Many Hats Theatre Company spokesperson. “It was suggested by one of our audience members on the flyers we hand out for comments and suggestions on how we did at the show. You have theatre junkies out there in the audience and they often have seen things that none of us have seen or been exposed to. There are a million plays and we try to find ones that are a good fit, this was.”

Many Hats Theatre Company takes to the high seas for Separate Beds which opens on the Cannery Stage on April 12. Audiences meet two couples, Ernie and Twink and Beth and Blake, who are navigating through their relationships while cruising the Caribbean. One couple seems perfect while the other seems stormy.

“It is kind of an unusual show. It is a romantic comedy that takes place on a cruise ship and it is a different twist on the old saying the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. It is basically two couples looking at their relationships and looking at the relationships of another couple on board and saying they are doing better than we are. The punchline to the whole thing is both couples are played by the same pair of actors,” said Schneider.

Separate Beds is directed by Jamie Eberle, produced by Eric Hanston and the couples are played by Rudy Nemechek and Jane Saunders. Their challenge was to show the characters Ernie and Twink attempting to put the sizzle back in their marriage while Beth and Blake are attempting to save theirs. Saunders has already had an opportunity at a similar challenge where she played three different characters in Many Hats Theatre Company’s production of Sylvia last year.

“It’s fun and a big stretch for the actors,” said Schneider. “Actors always talk about their colour, their movement, their energy and how they make it different. If you look at people, they all have different energies and different movement and styles. To make it realistic in a play like this, the actor has to create two separate characters that have different energy, movement and voices. So it’s a challenge.”

Separate Beds is written by Canadian playwright Maryjane Cruise, who also penned In My Life, Dried Flowers, On Albert Street and A Stranger In Our House. Her plays have been performed across Canada, the United States and abroad.

Many Hats Theatre Company opens Separate Beds on April 12 and it will run until May 5. Shows are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $22 for adults and $19 for students and seniors. They are available at the Wine Country Visitors Centre or by phone at 250-493-4055.