Langham Court Theatre’s production of Over the River & Through the Woods runs Sept. 25 to Oct. 12. Photo by Andrea Cross Photography

Langham Court Theatre: fun with family dynamics

Over the River and Through the Woods will resonate with many, says director Jason Vikse

By Joseph Blake

Monday Magazine contributor

Over the River and Through the Woods was originally an old American Thanksgiving song drawn from an earlier 1844 poem by Lydia Marie Child.

Broadway star Joe DiPietro (writer of Tony Award-winner Memphis and off-Broadway hit I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change), took the traditional folk song as ironic inspiration for his 1998 comedy of family, faith and food.

Local writer, director and actor Jason Vikse is staging the Broadway hit at Langham Court Theatre Sept. 25-Oct. 12. Vikse is playwright in residence this year at Langham Court, and Over the River and Through the Woods is very different from the last play the 35-year old directed at the intimate Rockland neighborhood venue, the fantasy-charged comedic drama, The Clean House.

“DiPietro’s play is warm, funny and anyone of any age can enjoy it. His writing has a tone that is light and intimate with a surprisingly emotional resonance. We’ve probably all experienced family gatherings like the one portrayed by my fantastic, six-member cast. I’m so excited to work with this group of actors,” Vikse says. “They’ve put a great amount of effort and research into their work to make sure their characters reflect the play’s 1990s time period.”

The play’s 29-year-old, single male narrator shares Sunday dinner every week with his Italian-American grandparents. Family is at the heart of their lives, and the news the grandson brings to the play’s dinner conversation of a dream job far from his extended family doesn’t go over well. It interrupts the sweet play’s rollicking portrayal of a richly nostalgic family life, as does a surprise guest at the table. Talk of Italian food, Chinese food, aging drivers and great old cars bring the characters to life, enriching the family saga.

Vikse is a prolific writer who is currently finishing another play for Langham Court that will be workshopped, then performed as a public reading before this year’s playwright in residence position ends. He’s also working on Leitzig, a play about memory, heritage and the Holocaust for Bēma Productions in Congregation Emanu-El, Victoria’s downtown synagogue, to be produced in mid-2020.

In the last few years Vikse has also published a half-dozen books of genre fiction and White Out: A Comedy in Three Acts. He lived in Switzerland and Australia before returning to Victoria four years ago. The prolific writer, director and actor (“My favourite role as an actor was Petruchio in a production of The Taming of the Shrew.”), describes his busy working life simply.

“I tell stories for a living.”

Vikse and his team at Langham Court Theatre will bring a wonderful story to life Sept. 25-Oct. 12. Don’t miss it. For tickets and more information visit langhamtheatre.ca or call the box office at 250-384-2142.



editor@mondaymag.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Live theatre

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ocie Elliott: Facing the Music

Victoria duo describes effects of COVID crisis

YOUR AUGUST HOROSCOPE: It’s Leo Season!

Georgia Nicols giving us insight on what lies ahead this summer

30 years later, Sue Medley’s hit ‘Dangerous Times’ more relevant than ever

Vancouver Island singer/songwriter reflects on her ’90s national hit

Psychological thriller filmed on northern Vancouver Island debuts on AppleTV

‘Woodland’ is set in Haida Gwaii, but was filmed around Port McNeill

Symphony Splash goes virtual, revisits 2018 performance

Organizers postpone live event until Aug. 1, 2021

Island pub wants people to ‘drop five’ to keep music alive

Royston’s Charlie Aiken thinks his plan can help artists and venues alike

First Arts Alive sculptures of 2020 now installed

Oak Bay’s annual public art exhibition starts anew

Nanaimo fantasy writer co-authoring Old Norse phrase book

Joshua Gillingham partnering with author and professor on ‘Old Norse for Modern Times’

Cowichan’s 39 Days of July deemed a success, despite COVID-19

Musical productions live streamed from the Duncan Showroom this year

Gabriola’s Isle of the Arts Festival goes ‘mini’ on 10th anniversary

Gabriola Arts Council presents scaled-down, workshop-only IOTA Mini festival

Sooke Fine Arts Show reaches new audiences with virtual showcase

Voting for People’s Choice Award open until Aug. 3

Mural artists announced for Nanaimo’s inaugural Hub City Walls festival

Local artists Kara Dee Harrison, Russell Morland and Austin Weflen to paint downtown walls

Nanaimo musician Glen Foster releases new music video

‘Brains Brawn and Beauty’ is the latest single from Foster’s album ‘Not Far Away’

Most Read