Telling the Tale of a Town

Prince George's tale is about to be told in a unique and theatrical way.

This telling of Prince George's tale will be done through the eyes of actors, directors, musicians and other stage pros who came to town and studied it. They did scores of interviews with local residents, they went on tours of local points of interest, they met with business leaders in their places of work, they examined archives and museums. From that garden of stories and artifacts they crafted a narrative they will act out on stage this week.

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This tale is more than just a play, however. Live music, recorded music, the use of radio technology, a hallway called Memory Lane, an exhibit of historic photos, a projection of a miniature scene blown up onto a big screen, a couple of areas replicating old local rooms, and much more production value is going into this overall theatrical experience.

The cast and crew are working on all these parts simultaneously, as well as building their theatre inside the former restaurant space at the Ramada Hotel where their eight performances will occur this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

"We will have stories from back in the day, the latest things going on now, and we will look at the vision people have for the future of Prince George," said Katie Swift, one of the main creators from Fixt Point Theatre Company, the drama group that's done this in towns and cities all across Canada, with more already signed up to be next.

Swift said the interview process had some dominant themes emerge. Two of the most overarching sentiments was how transformative the 2015 Canada Winter Games was for the city, and how enthusiastic people were to see the downtown reach its full potential.

Although there are formulas to the process, now that Fixt Point has done this a number of times, Swift said each one has many points that are unique unto that one town. Even each production's physical space plays a role in how they set up the multidimensional event.

"Having access to that huge photo collection Prince George has (at Exploration Place) was really unique and helpful for us," she said. "We often get to use historic photographs, but for such a huge collection to be available in one easy-access way like that, and from such a talented and dedicated photographer (Wally West, who also gathered the works of Jacob Simonson into his personal archive before donating them to Exploration Place). It's a bonus we don't often get to work with."

Working with miniatures to create a sort of high-tech puppet show is also new to the Fixt Point crew. A small streetscape replicating the early years of Prince George has been created, and a small play will be projected onto a large screen.

The music of Naomi Kavka (one-half of popular band Power Duo, principal cellist for the Prince George Symphony Orchestra) has been brought in to provide original music.

Tickets to attend are available only via the website. Tickets have been selling briskly to all shows, and some are already about halfway sold out. Those interested are urged to book your spots as early as possible to avoid missing out.

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