Picture This! SAMC zooms in on family quirks and ordinary heroes

A surprising adventure awaits the characters of Picture This!, featuring (from left) Jane Townsend, Daniele Neve, Eleanor Felton, and Bryan Sandberg.  - Jef Gibbons/submitted photo
A surprising adventure awaits the characters of Picture This!, featuring (from left) Jane Townsend, Daniele Neve, Eleanor Felton, and Bryan Sandberg.
— image credit: Jef Gibbons/submitted photo

Nine strangers, desperately trying to get home for Christmas, are trapped with nothing to do but exchange bizarre family stories and make up songs about them. It’s a brand new play called Picture This!, opening at Trinity Western University’s School of the Arts, Media + Culture (SAMC) today (Nov. 20).

The show brings together twists of fate, original music, embarrassing childhood stories, beloved family traditions, and tales of ordinary heroes.

Promising fun, whether you love or hate the holidays, the script was written by an ensemble of theatre students under the leadership of director Angela Konrad.

“We all wonder what other people’s families are like, especially around the holidays,” Konrad said.

“This show gives us an opportunity to be a fly on the wall in others’ homes, and also to see the power that telling our stories can have in the lives of others, often in ways we don’t expect.”

The show features two theatre students who are not only Langley natives but daughters of TWU professors. Jane Townsend’s father, Calvin, teaches political and religious studies, and Margaret Thorpe’s father, Allan, is chair of the music department.

Telling tales of home can be tricky, especially when your parents — and those who know them — will see the show. Yet both Jane and Margaret wrote stories about father-daughter relationships.

“My dad knows about my story and is really encouraging, even though my scene is about how different he is as professor and as my dad,” Townsend said.

“My dad understands me and he understands the creative process, so he’s really looking forward to seeing how it all comes together,” said Thorpe.

Through vivid flashbacks and original music, Picture This! explores funny adventures and touching moments that come out of the performers’ own experiences. Parent/child dynamics, sibling rivalry, lessons from family history, embarrassing encounters — maybe this is why our parents told us not to talk to strangers.

“The students have cooked up a show for all generations; one that promises to surprise, inspire, and entertain,” said Konrad.

So is it fact or fiction?

“This show may contain true stories or absurd fabrications. Or both,” she said.

Picture his! runs from Nov. 20 to Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, with 2 p.m. Saturday matinees. For tickets and information, visit www.twu.ca/theatre or email theatre@twu.ca.

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