A swapping of souls complicates what could be the simplest thing we know.
“Love,” says director Clinton Walker, “it’s a simple concept.”
The play Prelude to a Kiss, running until Dec. 8, will be Walker’s fourth time directing a production for The Guild in Whitehorse.
The story is of a bride, played by Charlotte Courage, who is kissed by a persistent old man, played by Roy Ness, on her wedding day. And as the groom, played by Lee Malanchuk, eventually discovers, the locking of lips leads to the swapping of souls.
The show promises laughter in the ever-darkening Yukon winter. But as Walker admits, there are strong themes beneath the surface as well.
“It’s about that mid-thirties angst. You start to question the choices you’ve made. There’s the pressure to buy the house-; start the family. We tend to overcomplicate love.”
The cast unites some new faces with local veterans of theatre. In the company of Roy Ness and Mary Sloan, who are long-time actors, and Walker, a long-time director, there is great support for a newcomer like Lee Malanchuk, who will be on stage for the first time.
Walker, originally from Toronto, has been involved with many different productions through the years, both on stage and from the director’s chair. In the Yukon alone he has directed The Laramie Project, The Beauty Queen of Leenane and most recently The 39 Steps, working with The Guild each time.
“I like that The Guild challenges the local community, bringing in directors from outside Whitehorse,” he says. “The audience here is getting accustomed to a quality of production.”
He believes Whitehorse offers a unique opportunity.
“It’s a good environment for the creative process,” Walker says. “I love how my mind works up here.”
Some of his past projects being more on the dramatic side, he was excited by the prospect of getting involved with Prelude to a Kiss, which is a comedy. He does confess that it has been more challenging than he had first anticipated. But he also enjoys the extra variable a comedy provides.
“You really don’t know what’s going to be funny until it’s in front of the audience,” he says. “It’s all about timing.”
Walker is also working with the Music, Art, & Drama (MAD) students in Whitehorse. They are creating a short documentary about soul mates that will play in the lobby before the show and also during intermission.
The documentary aims to give another perspective on soul mates, which is one of the subjects of the play itself.
The first showing of Prelude to a Kiss will be in Whitehorse at The Guild on Friday, Nov. 23. Show starts at 8 p.m. and will continue to run Wednesday to Saturday until Dec. 8.