Emily Hamel is the director of the Chilliwack Players Guild's production of Sabrina Fair. Behind her are two of the main character's love interests

Emily Hamel is the director of the Chilliwack Players Guild's production of Sabrina Fair. Behind her are two of the main character's love interests

Sabrina Fair with flair at the Cultch

Chilliwack Players' Guild presents the ever-charming and clever Sabrina Fair this weekend as its final production of the season in the Rotary Hall of the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.

It’s the theatrical equivalent of a chick flick.

Chilliwack Players’ Guild presents the ever-charming and clever Sabrina Fair this weekend as its final production of the season in the Rotary Hall of the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.

“Sabrina Fair can be seen as light and fluffy and entertaining,” says director Emily Hamel. “But if you take the time to really listen to what the characters are saying, it also has layers. There’s so much underneath and that’s part of why I chose it.”

It’s the perfect way to impress a date, she says. The play was written by Samuel A. Taylor and runs July 7-10.

The founder of Bootstrap Theatre, Hamel submitted the idea, was delighted when it was approved. She’s been enjoying her first chance to direct a main-stage production for the Guild.

Hamel stumbled across the idea while working on another production.

“The script was being used as a prop. I was reading it to stay awake and I thought, this sounds familiar. The 1954 movie version was one of my favourites.”

The lead role of Sabrina Fairchild, played by Geneva Perkins of Langley, is bursting with wit and heart.

“Geneva also has an easy, charming way about her,” says Hamel.

“It was a no-brainer casting her. I couldn’t think of anyone else who would do as well in the part of Sabrina.

“She also has real chemistry with the cast.”

The story of Sabrina has her growing up on the Larrabees’ grand estate on the north shore of Long Island in the 1950s, as the daughter of the family chauffeur. She goes off to college and then lives in Paris for five years. Upon her triumphant return stateside, her beauty, vivacity and sophistication dazzle the two handsome brothers, jovial David and brooding businessman Linus. Questions of class and status arise, and then the story gets good, with Sabrina positioned as the bewitching heroine, with her suitors in tow, and soon-to-be uncovered family secrets.

The Guild production is being presented in the 160-seat Rotary Hall.

“There is real intimacy created with the audience in this space. If you’re in the front row, you’re sitting two feet away from the actors. There’s just not a bad seat in the house.”

The set of the Long Island mansion is recreated beautifully.

“There was a lot of detail work done, from faux rock to wall paper to recreate the setting.”

Sabrina Fair at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre in the Rotary Hall July 7, 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. Matinees performances are on July 9 and 10 at 2 p.m.  Tickets $20/$15 by phone at 604-391-SHOW or www.chilliwackculturalcentre.ca.

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