A real-life couple is working together on the Bard in Valley production of ‘Much Ado about Nothing.’ Brady Moore from Chilliwack and Deanne Ratzlaff from Abbotsford are playing the leads, Benedick and Beatrice. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

Two for the show in Langley Shakespeare production

How two real-life couples ended up working together on stage

In theatre, the conventional wisdom has it that real-life couples should try to avoid working together.

The thinking is real-life relationships don’t necessarily translate well to the stage and real-life couple dynamics can interfere with the work.

And yet, this year’s Bard In The Valley (BIV) production of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing will see not one, but two couples working together on the show.

And, so far, it seems to be working just fine.

Brady Moore and Deanne Ratzlaff say they are nothing like Beatrice and Benedick, the bickering pair they are playing.

Unlike the Shakespearean characters who start out disliking each other, Brady, who is from Chilliwack, and Deanne, who is from Abbotsford, hit it off pretty quickly when they met during a production of Hello, Dolly.

“I thought, ‘this girl is impressive, she’s amazing,’” Brady says. “Everyone knew we liked each other.”

“I really liked him,” Deanne says.

But she insisted anything more serious than a friendship would have to wait until the show was finished.

“I had to pause,” he says.

Three months after Hello, Dolly ended, Brady and Deanne say there hasn’t been much friction in their off-stage relationship, and nothing to equal the razor-sharp verbal battles of their on-stage alter egos.

“That’s what makes it fun (playing different personalities),” Deanne says.

“Surprisingly, we work well together (on-stage),” Brady says.

“The chemistry is there.”

When Brady is asked if any part of the play reminds him of their real-life courtship, he says the closest it comes is the moment where Benedick and Beatrice realize they may be more than sparring partners.

“By my sword, Beatrice, thou lovest me,” Benedick declares.

Beatrice replies that Benedick has better not eat his words (go back on his pledge to love her).

“With no sauce that can be devised to it,” Benedick says.

“I protest I love thee.”

“You have stayed me in a happy hour,” Beatrice admits.

“I was about to protest I loved you.”

The pair have just been cast together in another production, the Chilliwack Players Guild production of “A Flea In Her Ear” that opens at the Chilliwack Culture Centre Nov. 16.

“We’re on a roll,” Deanne laughs.

Dylan and Dayna Coulter have been both a real-life and an on-stage couple, playing the parts of Brutus and Portia in the Bard in the Valley production of Julius Caesar.

“It was the first tragedy that either of us had done,” Dylan says.

This year, Dylan is directing the show while Dayna, who auditioned like everyone else, has been cast in the comic role of Dogberry.

They first met eight years ago at an audition.

“We got paired together for the roles,” Dayna says.

She played a school teacher and he played a “teenage ruffian,” Dylan says.

“This wasn’t a romantic part at all.”

They quickly grew to become friends, then more.

“He was very cute,” Dayna says. “After that, I cast him in a show.”

Having worked together on four productions, including this one, Dylan thinks Dayna often “gets typecast as sweet,” and he thinks she can do a lot more.

He praises her professionalism, noting that she has been stepping in to assist the stage manager on the current production.

“He likes to make me an angry housewife,” Dayna says, laughing.

She thinks Dylan is “extraordinarily talented.”

“He’s very kind (as a director) and he makes you feel like part of the team. You trust him.”

Every once in a while, though, the boundaries between their real and stage roles can blur, like when Dylan will start directing her while she is practicing her lines at home.

“(When that happens) I say, can you test me on my lines as my husband and not my director? Dayna says.

She is having a blast with the part of “Dogberry, ” the wondrously incoherent night constable who leads a group of bumbling police watchmen.

“Its a lot of fun, ” Dayna says.

As director, Dylan likes the play’s mix of flat-out comedy and near-tragedy

“It’s a really fun balance,” he says.

•••

Much Ado About Nothing will play on three outdoor stages in Langley this summer, offering 16 performances between June 29 and July 30.

This is Bard in the Valley’s eighth season and admission is still free at 11 of the 16 performances.

Chairs will be set up at all venues, and there is a concession, but audience members are welcome to come early, bring a blanket or lawn chairs and a picnic and spread out on the lawn in front of the stage. Donations are welcome to help cover production costs.

Summer 2017 Performance Dates:

1. On the lawn in front of Fort Langley’s historic community hall. Admission Free June 29 and 30 and July 1 (as part of the Canada Day Celebrations) – performances begin at 7 p.m.

2. At the Township 7 Winery – Tickets $20 call 604-532-1766 or email wine@township7.com July 7, 8, 9, 14 & 15 – The Sunday performance is a matinee and begins at 2 p.m. Evening performances begin at 7 p.m.

3. On the Spirit Square Stage in Douglas Park in Langley City. Admission Free July 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, 30 – The Sunday performances are matinees and begin at 2 p.m.

Evening performances begin at 7 p.m.

For more Information about The Bard in the Valley Theatre Company, visit www.bardinthevalley.com.

BIV Plot Summary

As Don Pedro’s ragtag army returns victorious from battle, they pass through the town of Messina and visit with old friends. The spirit of love is in the air. Claudio, a celebrated young soldier, falls in love with the Governor’s daughter, Hero.

Meanwhile the townsfolk and the soldiers observe an almost-love story between Beatrice and Benedick, and conspire to bring these two together as well.

But Don Pedro’s villainous sister has hatched a plot to ruin Claudio and Hero’s wedding, and only a foolish constable and her bumbling assistants stand in the way of a tragedy befalling the characters in this comic tale.

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It can be tricky working together as actor and director when you are a couple in real life. But Dayna Coulter, who is playing Dogberry in the Bard in the Valley production of Much Ado about Nothing, and director Dylan Coulter are managing just fine, thanks to a healthy sense of humor and genuine respect for each other’s skills. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

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