Ashlyn Tegg (right) is Karin and Eli Funk plays Markus in the Chilliwack Players Guild’s production of The Romeo Initiative. (Submitted photo)

Chilliwack Players Guild presents romcom/spy thriller, The Romeo Initiative

The Romeo Initiative is a journey into the heart that leaves audiences gasping

The Chilliwack Players Guild’s next production, The Romeo Initiative, will leave the audience laughing and in suspense in this 1970s-based, match-making play.

The Romeo Initiative is based on a real East German program that targeted West German secretaries in order to provide them with their “perfect man.”

It is half romantic comedy and half spy thriller with a tantalizing twist. The play, by Canadian playwright Trina Davies, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama in 2012.

“I was drawn to this script because of the vibrant characters,” said director Ally Schuurman. “A lot of the time, in a three-hander, you have your main relationship and then a spare. The Romeo Initiative doesn’t fall into that trap, the characters are all uniquely compelling and important.”

The plot: Single men are hard to come by in 1970s West Germany. So when Karin Maynard, a government secretary, meets the handsome Markus Richter, a single man who pursues her, she can hardly believe her luck. But with Markus continually away on business, thoughts of infidelity begin to consume Karin. Is her insecurity unwarranted, or is she onto something?

The play stars Ashlyn Tegg as Karin, Eli Funk as Markus, and Bethany Caldwell as Lena. The three actors and Schuurman are all alumni of the University of the Fraser Valley Theatre Department, and have worked together in different combinations for years.

“It’s been fantastic having a group of actors who are already comfortable with each other, as it has allowed us to dive right into the script,” said Schuurman. “We sat down at the beginning of the rehearsal process, and agreed that we weren’t interested in doing this production if we weren’t committing to the characters’ emotional journeys heart-and-soul, and we’ve been doing that since day one.”

The Romeo Initiative is playing May 19 at 8 p.m., and May 20 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the UFV Performance Theatre.

The two-day, three-performance run will serve as an important warm up for the Fraser Valley Zone Festival, taking place in White Rock later this month.

All seats are $15. Tickets are available at the door. Cash only.

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Ashlyn Tegg (left) is Karin and Bethany Caldwell plays Lena in the Chilliwack Players Guild’s production of The Romeo Initiative. (Submitted photo)