Gift of laughter: A Bench in the Sun opens April 10

April 2015 Posted in Arts, Culture & History
The cast and crew of "A Bench in the Sun".

The cast and crew of “A Bench in the Sun”.

By Brenna Wiegand

Though there’s a cast of only three in Brush Creek Theatre’s upcoming play A Bench in the Sun, together they bring 150 years of experience to the stage.

The play, written by Ron Clark, revolves around the musings and squabbles of two elderly gentlemen who spend their days on a garden bench at their retirement home. Shannon Copeland plays Burt, a cynical, crabby ex-accountant, to Norman Gouveia’s decidedly more optimistic, carefree Harold. Their friendship is tested when once-famous movie star Adrienne Bliss, played by Candace Pressnall, moves in.

A Bench in the Sun
April 10-12, 17-19, 24-26
7 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday
Tickets, $10; $8 seniors,
students kids under 12, at door or
Books-N-Time, 210 N Water St., Silverton
Brush Creek Theater
11535 Silverton Road, Silverton

The play is extra fun for Copeland and Gouveia, real life friends of 50 years. Copeland is a founding Brush Creek Player who enlisted his friend early on. The favorable ratio of girls to boys sweetened the deal.

The show marks 50 years of acting for Gouveia, who earned a theater degree at the former Mount Angel College.

“You get to a point where there are things that you need to do or your life doesn’t seem whole,” Gouveia said. “For me, this is that piece.”

Another theater major, Pressnall stepped on stage in 1976. Though she’s logged some 50 plays, within her passion is a seed of discontent.

A Bench in the Sun

A Bench in the Sun

“There’s a frustration – mostly because I can’t devote my whole life to it,” she said. “I really enjoy the community aspect.”

Bench is comedy actress Sonja Persey’s directorial debut. Since moving to Silverton two years ago, she’s been transitioning from Aumsville Community Theatre to Brush Creek.

“It’s a really sweet, lighthearted story about older people,” she said. “All three of our actors are 70 and older and they’re just having a blast at rehearsal.” She hopes the audience catches that enthusiasm.

“There’s just something about making people laugh that’s really powerful,” she said. “Life is hard sometimes; just to take two hours away to be entertained and laugh a little while is a precious, precious gift.”

Beverly Wilson is stage manager; her husband Moe is set designer. They hail from Aumsville Community Theatre where they met Sonja; who enlisted their help with A Bench in the Sun.

“I try to create a background for the actors that enhances what they’re doing,” Moe said. “It’s kind of a marriage between the set and the cast and they’ve got to come together and peak at the same time.”

“We’ve been wanting to network with the people from Brush Creek for a long time and I tell you, I am having a lot of fun,” Moe added.

Michael Wood directs BCT’s next play, Accidentally Yours. Auditions are April 11-13.

“We love to get new folks auditioning,” Wood said. “People surprise themselves with what they can do.”

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