Yorkton's community theatre group is just days away from its biggest week of the year.
Starting Sunday, the Paper Bag Players will play host to TheatreFest 2012 and open the festival with their own production of Dream World by Fred Carmichael.
TheatreFest is an annual weeklong festival that brings the province's most active amateur drama clubs together for an adjudicated competition. As this year's hosts, the Paper Bag Players will open seven nights of performances by clubs from such communities as Regina, Kamsack, and the Battlefords.
"We're getting pretty excited. Everything's coming together, and the committee is working hard for opening day," says festival chair Teresa Weber.
Dream World, the Players' entry into the festival, is directed by Weber. The two-act comedy will be performed at 8 pm on Sunday, April 8 at the Sacred Heart High School Theatre.
"It's a play that kind of went to my quirky humor side," says Weber. "It's set in the early '60s, and when I read it I envisioned a Carol Burnett-type skit. It's about two aging actors that tend to go into their own little dream world."
The show's small cast is made up of Paper Bag Players veterans Ray and Sandra Stokes, Carter Lockhart, Roxanne Maduck, and Caleb Campbell. Backstage duties are handled by Marilyn Kuntz and Pamela Milani.
Real-life husband and wife Ray and Sandra Stokes star as married couple Gary and Schuyler Winters. The pair have been in many stage productions over the years, but this will be their first time playing a couple.
The experience has been fun, they say.
"I think we bring the energy that we have together as husband and wife to the stage," says Sandra Stokes. "It's easy to play off one another because we are married."
Carter Lockhart plays Rodney Stoner, an Australian blackmailer who attempts to extract money from both Gary and Schuyler without the other finding out about it.
Lockhart, a regular of Shakespeare in the Park and some of the Paper Bag Players' stage productions, was eager to try playing a villain for the first time.
"It sounded interesting. And it's a good period piece — we don't often get to act in the 60s, so we've got lots of different costumes and a lot of different references that we got to look up as part of this, as well."
As the opening performance of the week, Dream World will set the bar for the festival and be the first to fall under the scrutiny of the professional adjudicator brought in by Theatre Saskatchewan.
"So yeah, there's a little pressure," says Weber, "but I believe we will rise to the occasion."
The TheatreFest committee is still seeking volunteers for various duties on the performance nights and at the green room socials that follow. Contact information can be found online at www.paperbagplayers.com/volunteers.
Performances are scheduled each night from April 8 to 14. Tickets are available at Colette's Sewing Machine Plus on Smith Street or at the RBC Royal Bank on Broadway.
"We hope everyone comes out and supports live theatre," says Weber.