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Theatre NorthWest stage filled with Glory - WITH VIDEO

Theatre NorthWest presents Glory, a play written by BC playwright Tracey Power, about a 1930s female hockey team's success.

She’s an actor who is reprising her role in Tracey Power’s play Glory and she’s a fight choreographer.

What does that have to do with anything?

On the stage at Theatre NorthWest from Feb. 3 to 23, Morgan Yamada will play a hockey goalie.

Glory is about four female friends setting out in 1933 to prove that Canadian girls can play hockey too.

Setting the scene as the four actors reinact some ‘on ice' heavy hitting hockey action, knowing how to take body checks and bone-jarring falls comes in kind of handy for Yamada, who plays Nellie Ranscombe.

The play by BC's Tracey Power is about the Ontario team, the Preston Rivulettes, who between 1930 and 1940 played an estimated 350 games. They only lost two games and tied three. The team established a winning record so strong 80 years later it remains unmatched in the history of women’s hockey.

Yamada was part of the original cast when the play made its debut in 2018 in Kamloops at the Sagebrush Theatre. 

“I think being able to revisit a role is a true gift because you get to explore the role with different people,” Yamada said. “Having been able to do this show with a collection of wonderful folks over the years every person you get to play with impacts your character development and impacts you. So I think that’s something really beautiful, being able to see different colours that come out over the course of the past years. I also think how the show reflects the current world we live in is very reflective of Nellie, too.”

The pandemic has changed everyone and Yamada said it’s all had an impact on her and she’s really had to grow up in the last couple of years.

“I’ve had the gift of growing up with the show in my adult life and I think being able to dig into something in a different way with a different life experience is super helpful and super useful,” she said.

Within the play there are seven dance numbers that represent the seven games the team plays as the story unfolds on stage.

Yamada described the dance style as swing skating, a phrase coined by playwright Tracey Power, that encompasses swing dancing with skating movements and hockey action set to jazz-tempo tunes.

“It’s a beautiful way to explore body dynamics and for me - I’m a fight choreographer and that allows me to feel comfortable doing all the dives that I do and move the way a goalie moves - you gotta fall all the time and not be afraid - and that’s my approach to things - having fun and being joyful - and the whole show is just like revisiting an old friend.”

This show is an exploration of what it means to be a woman in sport, Yamada said.

“That was what initially drew me to the show,” she added. “I grew up in sports - not in hockey but I grew up playing sports and just being able to see yourself on the stage in some capacity is so important for young women who don’t see themselves represented like that. We are always striving for more equity and through this play you can see that it’s happened before and it’s still happening now and how do we make it so that inequity starts to dissipate in the future.”

Local actor and voice actor for a Lego movie, William Kuklis, takes on the role of Coach Fach.

“It’s really exciting to be part of this play,” he said. “It’s been such a challenging show, especially for the women dancing - it’s not just acting - it’s very physical and I don’t know how they do it - but it’s sure fun to watch.”

The story is so moving and inspirational, Kuklis added.

“I have a little daughter myself (she’s eight years old) and to be part of telling this inspirational story - that is little known - to be able to bring it to life and be part of that is really important. It’s exciting and I can’t wait for my daughter to see it,” Kuklis said.

The Glory cast includes:

Hilda – Emma Rendell

Nellie – Morgan Yamada

Helen – Hailey Gardiner

Marm – Becky Frohlinger

Fach – William Kuklis

Playwright Tracy Power is on set at Theatre Northwest and is the choreographer, while James MacDonald is the director.

For more information and to get tickets visit Theatre NorthWest