Theatre festival to kick off in Oliver

The Okanagan Zone Theatre Festival is coming to Oliver from May 21 to 27 with local production Sleeping Indoors.

Director Jen Jensen didn’t even finish reading the script for her next play before she knew it was the right fit.

“I am absolutely in love with this script,” Jensen said. She searched for months for the perfect play to perform not only locally, but for the judges of the Okanagan Zone Theatre Festival.

She had to consider restrictions like having the set off the stage within one hour after the performance, making way for the next play.

“I was looking for a small cast, looking for a set that’s easy to disassemble and something that had some humour, but also some more depth to it than just a silly farce,” Jensen said.

Relatively new playwright Jim Holt caught her eye with his work, Sleeping Indoors.

“I actually hadn’t even finished the ending, I hadn’t even read the end of the play, and I told my theatre group I found it, I have it, this is the one,” Jensen said.

The comedic, yet poignant, play touches on themes of what personal wealth means — is it cars, houses and clothes, or personal character and how we live our lives.

Nora, a philanthropist housewife, is often bringing home homeless cats, much to her husband’s chagrin. His advice is for her to help her fellow man, and she does. He discovers a homeless man has been brought home when he arrives home from work.

The man turns out to be a writer, his personal journal is revealed to be a literary masterpiece.

“As the play progresses it’s about who’s helping who? They think they are going to change his life and make it so much better, but maybe his life is the better way and he’ll end up changing their lives for the better,” Jensen said. “It’s a good show, I love my cast.”

The play had three performances in Osoyoos, drawing a standing ovation one night. Jensen was approached by a local teacher after one of the performances who is now trying to get the play into schools. Another man, who had previously been homeless approached Jensen after the play as well.

“He said this struck such a chord for me, it was like you guys are talking about my life. The character on the stage, the man said I can relate to that and it was just so moving and so touching,” Jensen said. “It was really gratifying and quite a feel-good moment.”

Sleeping Indoors is making another appearance at the Okanagan Zone (OZone) Theatre Festival on May 23.

The festival kicks off May 21 concluding May 27 with a new play at the Frank Venables Theatre in Oliver each night.

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