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A Comedy of Tenors, the farcical fundraiser presented by Miracle Theatre

Miracle Theatre presents A Comedy of Tenors until April 3, but don’t let the title fool you. Just because the hilarious play is about four tenors, doesn’t mean it’s a musical.

Miracle Theatre presents A Comedy of Tenors by Ken Ludwig until April 3, but don’t let the title fool you.

Just because the hilarious play is about four tenors, doesn’t mean it’s a musical.

This farcical comedy is set in 1930s Paris where four tenors are preparing to perform the concert of the century at a stadium filled with screaming fans. The fun starts in the hotel suite that sees the tenors, two wives and three girlfriends coming together and that’s where things start to unravel.

Miracle Theatre creates professional theatre productions for the enjoyment of the community while donating proceeds to a good cause. This year Ted Price, director and designer, and Anne Laughlin, producer, will gift the City of Prince George with a Structural Protection Unit for wildfire mitigation, which is a container filled with pumps, hoses, sprinklers and water delivery attachments and tools. 

Price said he wanted people to know that this fundraising effort is for equipment that can potentially save people’s homes in Prince George.

“We had to put our proposal forward to city council because they had to agree to accept this gift and one of the city councillor’s said ‘we are a city in a forest’ and that stuck with us as we realized we are really very vulnerable,” Price said. “We have the second biggest municipal footprint in the province, Abbotsford being the biggest. Mile after mile of the Prince George boundary is up against a forest.”

Price pointed out that on the west side of Foothills Boulevard there are no fire hydrants but a lot of homes.

“This equipment is designed to cope with that very situation,” Price said. “The equipment can also be used beyond city limits to squelch a fire before it actually gets into the city because that’s the terrible, terrible fear that once it gets into the city and starts burning up all the structures, including homes, that’s where you get a Fort McMurray.”

A Structural Protection Unit is part of the plan for City of Prince George but it was to have one in the next five years and Price and Laughlin wanted that expedited.

“We want it here by the spring so it’s on stand-by for the wildfire season,” Price said.

The equipment has been lined up by City staff and is on order so that once the funding is in place the purchase will be completed, he added.

“We have to raise $180,000, which is a scary number to raise putting on a play but we are determined to do it,” Price said. “We will make that happen and we will have the equipment here in time for fire season.”

A Structural Protection Unit has the means to protect as many as 75 homes at once.

It is a water line that goes down the middle of the street and then branches off to each house and drenches the property as the fire approaches so that the combustion level becomes very low, Price explained.

“A fire official explained to me that it is 90 per cent effective,” Price said. “And the homes that usually don’t get saved are those who have highly combustible materials on the property. We are hoping as people become aware of what we are raising funds for, they will get behind the idea. We want people to know that we’re trying to keep ticket prices down, they are $37.50, so people of ordinary means can come out and have a helluva good time while contributing to a great cause.”

Ian Farthing, actor/director, who takes on the role of Max in A Comedy of Tenors, said having that philanthropic piece as part of the production is really something special.

“I direct more than I act but every so often a project comes up and I think ‘oh, that might be fun’ and I have worked with Ted (Price) before and I consider him a friend and I know the good work they do here and the fact that it’s for the community is a really big sell for wanting to come to Prince George to do this project,” Farthing said.

“It gets you right in the heart.”

Canadian actor director Ian Farthing who took his professional training in the UK and now lives in Vancouver, said his character, Max, is the son-in-law of the producer of the concert who used to be his assistant and has now progressed to professional opera singer.

“The play is set in 1936 and it’s a stadium concert for 30,000 people – bigger than anything that’s ever happened before in the opera world, so it’s a really big deal, especially for an up-and-coming singer like my character, who gets to sing with the Pavarotti character, Tito Merelli,” Farthing said. “But of course, this is a farce and as soon as we get there and get all excited about the concert things start to go a little wrong – or a lot wrong - and that’s where the fun comes in. People quitting, presumed affairs, wannabe affairs, everything you want in a farce.”

Ted Price wanted to make it clear that the play is not a musical.

“If people love musicals and come for that they will be disappointed,” Price said.

“There’s one song in the whole thing. It’s really a comedy.”

“And you don’t need to know anything about opera to enjoy the play,” Farthing added. “It’s not about opera. And as an actor, there’s nothing better than being in a play where you are making people laugh - and laugh a lot. It’s so rewarding and we all need a laugh right now.”

Miracle Theatre’s A Comedy of Tenors by Ken Ludwig goes until April 3 at ArtSpace above Books & Co., 1685 Third Ave. All proceeds go to purchase Structural Protection units to keep Prince George safe in the event of wildfire. Tickets are $37.50. Purchase in person at Books & Co., 1685 Third Ave., or by phone at 250-563-6637.