Above: Jared Loseth (left) and Leith Hutton (right) are directors of Suite Surrender performing for one night only at the cultural centre May 11. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

by Stephen Dafoe
stephen@morinvillenews.com

Morinville Community High School’s annual spring play hits the stage May 11 for one show only. This year’s production is Michael McKeever’s 2011 play Suite Surrender, directed by MCHS Grade 12 students Leith Hutton and Jared Loseth.
Though a modern play, the production is a period piece set during Wold War II.

“The play is about two Hollywood divas in 1942, and these two divas totally despise each other, but they are doing a banquet together for a war benefit,” said codirector Jared Loseth. “They go to the Hollywood Palm Beach Royale Hotel and with mixed identities and stuff, they wind up in the same suite somehow. The entire plot of this thing is just a comedy about dealing with each other.”

Codirector Leith Hutton said the play is reminiscent of the farces of the late 1940s and 1950s.

“I selected this because I thought it would work well for more of a broad audience,” Hutton said. “I thought our talent pool was well suited for it. When push comes to shove, you’ve got to go with your gut, and that’s what we did.”

Directors Hutton and Loseth selected the play in February and began auditioning in March. The cast of nine has been in rehearsals ever since. Those rehearsals started with Wednesdays and Thursdays but have ramped up to daily, including weekends, as the cast put the finishing touches on the show.

Those interested in seeing MCHS’ latest production will have but one opportunity to do so. Unlike the school’s multi-night annual production, the spring play is for one night only.

“When it’s one single performance, your actors really get into it,” Loseth said. “When you are acting on stage, you always get from the audience; you always feel from the audience. So when it’s one performance, you want to give it your all.”

Hutton agrees with the one show format. “When it’s one performance you get into the leave-it-all-on-the-stage mentality because this is your one shot. It’s one and done,” he said. “With bigger productions like [the school’s last poduction] Mary Poppins where the cast had multiple days, if one day went poorly, they could make it up the next day. This is a one and done. It gives your cast the ultimatum: you do this and it’s yours.”

Both directors feel their cast of seasoned MCHS actors and theatrical newcomers will be great in the upcoming comedy farce.

“We’re blessed because we have a nice mix,” Hutton said. “It’s such a blessing because the veterans help the newcomers, and the newcomers give such a fresh perspective so we don’t get caught up in the old mill of this is how we have to do this.”

Loseth said the mixed cast was feeding off one another and giving each other good advice and criticism throughout the rehearsal process.

Both Hutton and Loseth are in Grade 12, making Suite Surrender their final production at the school. As such, both are looking to make the shift from acting to directing memorable for their audience and themselves.

“It’s our final curtain call. We want to put as much into it as we can while we still have the time,” Hutton said.
Suite Surrender takes place at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre May 11, at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 and are available at the school’s office during school hours or at the door the night of the show.

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