Upstage Productions putting on Lend Me a Tenor

Sean Overby and Tessa Hrynuik perform a scene from Lend Me a Tenor ahead of Wednesday’s opening show (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald).

Show opens at St. Mary auditorium on Nov. 21

Upstage Productions is opening doors for its young actors this week.

The St. Mary High School theatre company is putting on the Ken Ludwig award-winning play Lend Me a Tenor. Opening at the high school’s auditorium tonight, Lend Me a Tenor tells the story of mistaken identity as two people — a famous singer and his understudy — run around dressed as the same character without any of the other characters knowing who is who.

“Lend Me a Tenor is a doors comedy,” said drama teacher and director Jason Van Otterloo.

“You’ve got two rooms on set with six doors total, actors can come and go out of different rooms without characters knowing that they’ve come and gone. There is a lot of miscommunication,” he said.

Having two people play actors playing the same character was one of the challenges, Van Otterloo, as the two actors have to match each other’s accents, behaviours and mannerisms.

The other challenge is the timing. With characters coming and going in and out of six doors, without running into each other, timing is everything.

The eight cast members have been working on the show since just after labour day, while the crew of nine has been hard at work since the end of September.

Van Otterloo is pleased with all the work put in by the students.

“They’ve put in a lot of extra hours,” he said. ‘Seeing their characters develop over the last couple of months, I’m really pleased. I’m super happy with how this one has turned out.”

Sean Overby plays Max, one of the two characters playing the same part.

This is hiss third performance with Upstage. He appeared in the musicals the past two years, but this is his first play.

“The rehearsal process was a little different and the staging was a little different,” he said. He acknowledged that matching his mannerisms to another actor has been one of the challenges of putting the show together.

“We have to look the same, dress the same, same hair, same accent — that was a little tricky.”

But the work has been worth it.

“This last weekend, when we saw the set come together, it was amazing,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to getting to see how many people come to our show, just knowing that what we do makes people happy.”

Fellow cast member Tessa Hrynuik is also excited for opening night. She plays Maggie, Max’s fiancé.

“It’s been really fun. It’s a lot of new people and old people and learning new things.”

Like Overby, this is the third production Hrynuik has been a part of. She was in last year’s play, and on the tech team for last year’s musical.

She said the challenge is just about different characters, “figuring out how they think and trying to portray them true to their character.”

Hrynuik thinks Prince Albert audiences will enjoy the show.

“It’s got lots of hidden jokes in it,” she said.

“It’s really funny.”

Lend Me a Tenor runs from Nov. 21 until Nov. 24 at St. Mary High School. Tickets are $10 for adults or $5 for students and are available at the office or at the door on the evening of the production. The show starts at 7:30 p.m.