Live performances seem like a distant memory, but as the province re-opens Studio Theatre, Perth is delighted to get back on the boards with Educating Rita by Willy Russell. A comedy/dramas about relationships and connection it is the perfect post COVID offering in more ways than one.
“The electricity between these two characters and actors completely enthralls and as the play progresses the two characters switch roles; the teacher becoming the student and the student becoming the teacher,” said Jane Stott, director and Studio Theatre Perth’s artistic director.
The play is about a mouthy hairdresser who crashes into a university professor’s office on a quest to become ‘a different type of girl’ to the one she was.
Rita (played by Kiara Côté) has joined a literature course in an open university to be tutored by Frank (played by Patrick Bugby), an alcoholic, debauched professor from the upper classes. Rita’s hunger and determination to improve herself is contagious, while Frank’s flailing attempts to gain control of his job, his love life and his drinking threaten to derail them both. Both actors are newcomers to Perth. Côté is a Canterbury high school student who drives in from Kanata, and Bugby just moved to Perth, last august.
“I love working with new people. It’s a bit of a gamble, but it’s working out. Kiara is brash and vulnerable at the same time. Patrick is a wonderful young actor and very self-assured,” said Stott.
Meanwhile, Bugby and Côté are enjoying the character work and Stott’s style.
“What I like about Jane’s directing is she focuses on the characters, and that’s really important to me because I like to build the character all the way back to childhood; and Jane really knows the play, she knows the characters but is open to hearing how we see the characters,” said Côté.
“She’s really good at taking out visions and merging them with hers,” agrees Bugby.
While the entire play takes place in Frank’s tired office, it’s a high-energy performance that promises to delight and entertain.
Without losing sight of COVID Studio Theatre, Perth invites the public to take their seats on November 18, 19, 20, 26, and 27 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov 21 and 28 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $24 and can be purchased through ticketsplease.ca or at the door prior to performance. For your post Covid comfort, Studio Theatre Perth will only be welcoming 100 patrons per night or 50 percent of capacity. Please be advised that masks and proof of double vaccination are mandatory as you enter the theatre.