Sum Theatre set for Prince Albert return with Theatre in the Park

Performers Megan Zong (left) and Katie Moore (right) take centre stage during a Sum Theatre production of ‘The Reel Whirled’ at Theatre in the Park. The troupe will perform in Prince Albert on Wednesday and Thursday. -- Photo by Britainy Zapshalla.

Katie Moore isn’t much of a social media kingpin, but for two days in Prince Albert she will be.

Moore plays world-famous pop star and social media influencer Gigi 5G in ‘The Reel Whirled’, Sum Theatre’s newest Theatre in the Park production. The Saskatoon-based troupe will perform the play on Wednesday and Thursday in Prince Albert as part of a tour through rural and northern Saskatchewan.

Moore said she’s “the complete opposite” of Gigi 5G, but that’s part of the joy of acting.

“She is this viral mega-superstar, she’s this online influencer, has millions of followers, (and) I am so far away,” Moore said with a laugh.

“I don’t like posting stuff on social media. That is so not me, so it’s really fun to put on this persona of this influencer, this mega-pop star, and just be this big personality on stage. That’s really fun for me.”

‘The Reel Whirled’ focuses on three youths named Gladly, MeowMwoe, and BIM, who set out on a quest to win Gigi 5G’s attention. The performance features a ’90s-themed soundtrack composed by Saskatchewan artist Oli Guselle, and takes a long look at the role the internet plays in a young person’s life.

This is the first time Moore will be playing a character in a Sum Theatre production. She said it’s a pleasure to be a part of the troupe.

“When you do these tours, there’s always so much buzz and excitement from the community,” she said. “I feel like a lot of times, tours, they just hit the main cities and they forget about these rural places, and they deserve art. They deserve different experiences as well.”

‘The Reel Whirled’ focuses on both the positives and negatives of internet culture. John Reaney, who plays the role of BIM as well as a few other smaller parts, said the online world has become a “universal constant” in everyone’s life. While many people have strong opinions about how much time on the internet is too much time, Reaney said the play isn’t preaching one side over the other.

“I find that one of the really nice things about the show is that it really does find the nuance in it in that it really does find the nuance in it,” he said. “It can be really valuable to have time online and find friends online, but it’s still nice to experience those offline relationships as well.”

Like Moore, Reaney is acting is his first Sum Theatre performance, although he has helped the company by providing audio description for attendees who were fully or partially blind. He originally wanted to perform in the 2023 show, but couldn’t because of other commitments.

When artistic director Mackenzie Dawson asked him to join this year’s show, Reaney didn’t hesitate to say yes.

“I absolutely jumped on it,” he said.

“I feel like theatre in general is kind of gate kept behind really expensive ticket prices, or potentially prohibitive venues and stuff like that, which makes it kind of hard for most people to get out and see theatre.

“I think one of the really nice things about going out to really small communities that are outside of Saskatoon is that it brings the theatre to people who might not be able to see it otherwise, especially for the kids who may not have a genuine theatre experience before they’re 18 or go to university or whatever. This is like a really formative experience that they’ll be able to get that they might not be able to get otherwise.”

Sum Theatre will perform one show outside Westview Public School on Wednesday at 7 p.m., and outside King George Public School on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. The event is free.

The troupe performed outside Keethanow School in Stanley Mission on Monday, with a performance scheduled for 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Pre-Cam Community School in La Ronge.