The award-winning Vancouver women’s theatre company Leaping Thespians takes on Mary Harvey’s murder mystery comedy A Fateful Meeting of Les Femmes Fatales in its latest outing.
Telling the story of a group of friends gathered to play a murder mystery game, real-life ex-lovers, business embezzlement, and illicit entanglements soon collide with their role-playing fantasy world that include some of Hollywood’s biggest femme fatales. Like any good whodunit, the twists and turns in this light-hearted comedic romp will keep you guessing to the end.
In the middle of tech week at the Havana Theatre, we asked the show’s director, Jacqueline Becher, to tell us more about the show.
What attracted Leaping Thespians to taking on this particular show?
We were approached by the writer Mary Harvey from Ottawa, she had heard about Leaping thespians from some friends.
Your company is known for their original works – what made you decide on taking on the work of another playwright?
As I said, playwright Mary Harvey approached and asked us if we would read her play and if we would be interested in producing it. We read and loved it and the rest is history. Mary has very similar sensibilities as the Leaping Thespian in that she is highly creative and has an incredible “funny bone”. Its just a shame that she does not live here on the West Coast otherwise I’m sure she would be a very active Leaping Thespian.
During the murder mystery game the friends portray some Hollywood heavy weights like Marlene Dietrich, Bette Davis and Rita Hayworth – how do you prepare your actors for taking on such iconic real-life people?
At the beginning of the process we did have some table talk around each of these Hollywood femme fatales and they were give a number of photographs to work with and were encouraged to do some research on their own. I do have one actor who hadn’t even heard of these Hollywood heavyweights so its was lots of fun bringing these wonderful women to her.
You’re doing some gender-bending with the gay male couple in the play – is there an added challenge in having women play these roles?
It is challenging, especially when our actors are particularly feminine trying to play a flamboyant male. I had to work with one of the younger actors in particular to add male gestures as opposed to playing a flamboyant boy.
A Fateful Meeting of Les Femmes Fatales plays the Havana Theatre (1212 Commercial Dr, Vancouver) April 16-18 and April 22-25. Visit http://leapingthespians.ca for tickets and information.