From left

From left

Original Chilliwack play has dreamlike quality

Awakenings is an original one-act play opening July 11 in the Rotary Hall at Cultural Centre.

Awakenings is an original one-act play opening on July 11 in the Rotary Hall at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.

This is “locally grown” theatre that takes the audience to the very “edge,” director Emily Hamel promises.

The piece has a distinct dreamlike quality, and the show’s transformative tagline is: “You change your heart by changing your life.”

Seven local writers have been workshopping Awakenings since January of this year, meeting weekly to bounce ideas off one another.

“It was a really interesting experience to see the story develop this way,” says Hamel who also edited the play. “Each writer initially took on a character and wrote a monologue. We then wrote small scenes to weave those stories


Here is Hamel’s description of the Awakenings’ plot: “The storyline follows Ainslin, an environmental lawyer who has let her work overshadow her personal life.

“She slips into a dream and must confront some personal demons in order to wake up.”

Writers who worked collaboratively on the piece include Dudley Cox, Ross Biondolillo, Nancy Guitar, Richard Ogilvie, Haley Smith, Ralph Jones, and Emily Hamel.

Players’ Guild members got in on the creative process as well.

“We had two read-throughs of the script open to Players’ Guild Members. It was great to get their feedback after each read-through.”

Once the show was cast and in rehearsals, the collaboration with Guild Members continued. Local photographer and videographer Sarah Sovereign and Matthew Hawkins were invited to work with the cast to create poster images and a video promo for the show.

Check out the mood-evoking video footage they shot. It’s dreamy, non-linear and has cool dry ice effects. Perfect ways to get a traditional audience ready to suspend disbelief.

“The play is really quirky,” says Hamel.

“Ainslin is stuck in a dream, and things get a little weird. I wanted the promotions to reflect the unique mood of the show, and I think the promos have really captured that mood.”

Hawkin’s promo can be seen on the Players Guild website, alongside Sarah Sovereign’s photographs at

While captured inside her dream state, Ainslin encounters a few faces from her real life, including her estranged sister, a nosy neighbor, her ex-husband, and a zany psychiatrist. Each person she meets brings her closer to the reality of what she’s there to learn.

Some language and mature content, so audience members should be 16+.

Awakenings, July 11-14, in the Rotary studio hall of the Cultural Centre, tickets $15 by calling 604.391.SHOW, or at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre’s website. Show times are 7:30 p.m. weeknights and 2 p.m. on July 14 and 15.