Walter Thunder has died unexpectedly, and left his floundering health food company to his ambitious daughter. Enter a mysterious Russian man who looks half dead. Mix in an evangelical health food maniac, a depressed widow, a writer who smells a rat, and an unexpected love affair. Sprinkle generously with Calypso Brightaria – an orchid that offers a seductive promise for health and happiness. Stir it all up with some pharmaceutical skulduggery and you have The Bright Side – Wishbone Theatre’s wild and zany new play, written by Sharon Stearns, in collaboration with the Robson Valley Theatre Collective.

This is Wishbone’s 4th original theatre production with music here in the valley. The theatre collective has a core group of actors, but also brings in new people with each production. The writing and creation process is led by playwright Sharon Stearns and usually takes about a year from conception to the stage. Stearns look for themes that will resonate with people in the local community. The Bright Side is a bit of a departure from the past three productions in that it explores ideas in a more global context. The play takes place in a small city; the characters are urban; there are no obvious historical allusions or local connections.

The play’s central theme is “What price happiness?” We live in a world where drugs are available for most things that go wrong with us. We can’t have a baby, go through menopause, puberty, get a headache, belly ache, tooth ache, or heart ache without thinking there is something out there to fix it and make us happy and healthy. But happiness at what cost?

Why do we insist on looking outside of ourselves for health and happiness? Is the answer to cancer on Goggle? The cure for depression in a pill or a self-help book?

Is happiness overrated?

All this angst goes on in the midst of a global consciousness that tracks natural disasters, economic collapse, terrorism, climate change and a growing worry that we are orchestrating our own demise by what we are doing to the planet.

The play opens in McBride at the Roundhouse Theatre November 29th & 30th @ 7:30 and at the Valemount Theatre December 4th & 5th @ 7:30. Tickets are $18 adults, $15 seniors and students. Available at Infinity Office in Valemount, Stedman’s in McBride and at the door.

The Players are Miwa Hiroe, Shara Gustafson, Seth McDonald, Sharon Stearns, Bob Thompson, Bridget Uhl & Monica Zieper and the Stage and Production Manager is Rashmi Narayan.

Sharon Stearns is a professional playwright and actor with over 30 years experience working with theatres across Canada. Her most recent play – Shout Sister, premiered at the Globe Theatre in Regina in March 2012. Her company – Wishbone Theatre is funded by the B.C. Arts Council, Canada Council and supported locally through Valemount Community Forests, Valemount Arts and Culture Society and the Robson Valley Arts and Culture Council.

Submitted by Sharon Stearns