The Red Deer Players are gearing up to showcase their first production of the season, Indoor/Outdoor, which opens Oct. 14th on the Centennial stage at the Scott Block.
Penned by Kenny Finkle and directed by Ashley Mercia, the story focuses on a quirky feline by the name of Samantha and her owner Shuman. The play first hit the theatre scene back in 2006.
Meanwhile, additional shows run through to Oct. 29th with curtain at 8 p.m.
According to the synopsis, “At first everything seems to be going great. Samantha can’t get enough of Shuman, and he can’t get enough of her. But soon Samantha realizes that Shuman doesn’t always seem to understand her.
“Worse yet, Shuman doesn’t always seem all that interested in trying to understand her. Things become truly problematic when one night Oscar, a sexy alley cat, shows up at the door.”
As Mercia points out, it’s then that Samantha starts feeling rather conflicted. Is she an indoor cat or an outdoor cat?
Then along comes aspiring cat therapist Mathilda who wants to help sort everything out. And that’s where we shall leave things for now – readers will simply have to take in a show to see how things ultimately turn out.
“Eventually Samantha finds herself on a journey, both physical and emotional, that leads her to discover what having a home and being loved really mean to her.”
Indeed. Indoor/Outdoor is described as an, “Allegory about the difficulties and joys of all manner of relationships.”
For Mercia, bringing the play to fruition has been a joy.
The show features Roxzane Armstrong, Dan Vasquez, Arick Yasinski and Emily Cupples – three of who have worked with Mercia in other theatrical ventures including the popular Red Deer troupe that stages Bull Skit.
Mercia, who just graduated from the Red Deer College Theatre program this past April, said she discovered the play while taking a directing class. Later, she received a group email from Red Deer Players requesting ideas for scripts for this season. Mercia suggested Indoor/Outdoor, and was eventually asked if she would like to direct it.
From the start, it’s been a creatively rich experience.
“It’s been fun,” she said of the rehearsal process. And not overly stressful largely due to the strengths of her cast and the familiarity that exists amongst them.
“I know them well, and they, like me, know improv well,” she explains of the comedic gifts of the group.
These are handy skills for a production with plenty of wit. But there is heart and a poignancy there as well bubbling up throughout the play as well. “It was more of a discovery process really, because I came in with all of my research and kind of knew what I was looking for,” explains Mercia of approaching the production.
“But I also said that we were just going to go through this, and that the cast could also do what came naturally.”
She describes the playwright’s style as very modern, but what really attracted her to the story was that every single time she read it, the ending would bring her to tears. That’s not to downplay the funny and consistently engaging nature of it, but to point out that there are touching parts, too.
Meanwhile, directing offers a wonderful chance to express her creativity, as does acting. The goal – through both – is largely the same.
“I like making people feel things,” she said. “Or when people come up to you and say, ‘I really connected with that’ and you are thinking, ‘That’s what I really wanted’.”
Tickets ($20) are available at www.reddeerplayers.com and at Sunworks (4924 50th St.)