Better than real life?

When the real world sucks, you can deal with it — or you can pull a Gary.

When the real world sucks, you can deal with it — or you can pull a Gary.

The lead 20-something character in Central Alberta Theatre’s season-closing play Asylum chooses to live in a fantasy dreamscape.

By shutting his eyes and drifting into slumberland for up to 20 hours at a time, Gary finds he has a measure of control over what happens in this unreal, nocturnal plane. He can date the girl of his dreams, and hopefully find the answer to why he’s unhappy in his waking life.

Director Tara Rorke wanted to direct this surreal black comedy by U.S. playwright Keith Aisner for several years, but didn’t feel it was suitable for the dinner theatres that used to run at the Black Knight Inn.

“When I found out CAT was moving to City Centre Stage, I was so happy, because I thought I can do this play outside of the (dinner theatre) season,” said Rorke, who previously directed the more standard Norm Foster comedy, Outlaw.

CAT patrons are being cautioned that when Asylum opens on Friday, April 27, at the downtown Red Deer venue, it will have strong language and deal with adult themes.

But Rorke hopes many regular CAT theatregoers will still opt to see a production that’s less linear and a little deeper than the usual comedy/farces.

She also hopes Asylum will attract some new, younger theatregoers, expanding CAT’s audience.

“It’s a wonderful, fun play that makes you think.”

One thing viewers could ponder is whether they are happy in their own lives. “If you could sit down and figure out why you aren’t happy, would that make you happy?” asked Rorke.

Gary considers this question in a roundabout way when consulting with God and Satan in his dreams and realizes the answer might not be one he wants to hear.

Rorke added that Asylum goes from being insightful to sharply funny, and even touching.

For instance, when Gary is visited by his mother in his dreams, she’s no longer a schizophrenic who’s been institutionalized since he was six.

Sometimes she acts more like the kind of mother Gary wishes he had, said Rorke.

“In the parts where she sings to Gary, I almost cry — and I don’t cry easily.”

The cast of nine is made up mostly of CAT veterans and RDC students or graduates. Rorke said rehearsals have gone well since she found a replacement for the previous lead actor who had to bow out of the production.

“I have a curse on my shows because I always have a hard time casting the main part,” she said, with a laugh.

While the narcoleptic plot of Asylum might sound like a stretch, Rorke thinks fantasy existences might be on the rise — especially among introverts, who have a hard time meeting real people.

There are chronic gamers, people who spend hours in online chat rooms, or who live vicariously through computer-simulated avatars.

“If your life is very ordinary, fantasy can be so drawing.”

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Rebels drop home opener to Oil Kings

The Edmonton Oil Kings were simply better than the Red Deer Rebels… Continue reading

Diesel spilled in Penhold neighbourhood

Penhold Fire Department responded

House fire in Penhold

Damage estimated at $30,000

Red Deer Players host play reading for public

Audience feedback for playwright

Sylvan Lake cleanup cancelled

Weather prompts cancellation

RDC Kings topple Medicine Hat College Rattlers

Kings Matheus Alves scores twice in the win

Nurse leads Canada over South Korea 82-63 at FIBA Women’s World Cup

TENERIFE, Spain — Kia Nurse poured in 29 points to lift Canada… Continue reading

Aretha Franklin exhibit debuts with eye toward her legacy

DETROIT — The Detroit museum that hosted Aretha Franklin’s public visitations after… Continue reading

‘Anaana’s Tent’ passes Inuit songs, legends, language to a new generation

In Pangnirtung, Nunavut, on the eastern tip of Baffin Island, Rita Claire… Continue reading

Housing data decision opens door to real estate innovation, say realtors

TORONTO — Realtor Daniel Steinfeld has wanted to post home sales data… Continue reading

Ty Long kicks winning field goal, Lions come back to beat Ticats in OT

VANCOUVER — Ty Long was eager for a special moment, and he… Continue reading

Indigenous eateries take centre stage in Canada thanks to increasing awareness

VANCOUVER — Since Paul Natrall started serving Indigenous cuisine from his Mr.… Continue reading

Canada’s capital region reeling after intense tornado rips through communities

OTTAWA — Parts of Canada’s national capital were still reeling Saturday after… Continue reading

Coaches, players on Alberta university rugby team buckle up for the Broncos

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — The head coach of the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns… Continue reading

Most Read