An estuary is a body of water where a river’s current meets and mixes with the sea. For acclaimed playwright and drama professor, Ron Chamber’s latest work, Estuary, a troupe of colourful characters’ lives mixes, turns upside down, and ultimately joins beneath the roof of a fantastic frat house. Playing March 19 – 23 at 8 pm on the University Theatre, Estuary bends the rules of reality and, at the same time, captures the imaginations of its audiences.
Within the walls of an old Victorian house, a series of individual stories stretch the boundaries between reality and the dream world. “This play is about defining reality,” says Chambers. “The characters interact in a setting where there is no fixed reality, where there are questions about what is real or what is imaginary.”
Set designer and U of L alumnus Roger Schultz (BFA Dramatic Arts ’89) created an immense set to capture the essence of the play’s themes. “Estuary deals with a big idea, and the size of the set supports that,” says Schultz. A fully-fashioned two-story Victorian house has been constructed for the production where the complex relationships of the characters play out. “I took my cues from the premise of the script, blending reality and dreams, containing elements that are fragmented or odd,” he says.
For 20 years, Chambers has taught play writing in the Department of Theatre and Dramatic Arts. Seven of his plays have been professionally produced across Canada, into the U.S., and in Hong Kong. He has won the Alberta Culture Playwriting Award, the Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award (Writer's Guild of Alberta) and has been nominated for both the Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award and Betty Mitchell Award for best new play.
As both playwright and director for Estuary, Chambers has appreciated the flexibilities of bringing the script to life onstage. “I wrote Estuary as a big play, with a big cast and a big set,” Chambers explains. “Often, the plays I write must be restricted to a limited cast size and to accommodate small sets, but this play is an exception. I also wrote this for students, to allow them to be themselves and play characters that are their ages, dealing with subject matter relevant to their own lives.”
Tickets for this final production of the Drama Mainstage 2012-2013 season are available at the University Box Office, Monday – Friday 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm, or by calling (403) 329-2616. Individual tickets are $15 regular, $10 seniors and students. Regular tickets are also available online, www.uleth.ca/tickets.