Electric Company Theatre presents world premiere of Daniel Brooks’ The Full Light of Day, Jan. 7-12 at the Vancouver Playhouse. For more information visit electriccompanytheatre.com.
The redemption of one family in a new play will coincide with the redemption of large-scale theatre at Vancouver Playhouse.
In The Full Light of Day, written by Daniel Brooks and directed by Kim Collier, a suspenseful hybrid of theatre and film will illuminate the story of a terminally ill woman who confronts the choices involving real estate development – and real estate corruption – that brought her family privilege.
“The story follows a family that’s basically made all of its wealth in real estate. It’s a great love story between a husband and wife and the implications of our behaviour and the impact they have on the generations to follow,” explains actor and former North Vancouver resident Jillian Fargey, who portrays the character Sherry, the no-nonsense wife of David – the eldest son of Mary and Harold who’s slated to take over the family real estate business. “It’s a big show, it’s an ambitious show.”
The production, besides featuring a large ensemble cast, also includes 14 live-streaming cameras showing projections and film, immersing the audience with views of cityscapes and close-ups that animate the intimate inner lives of the characters.
“There’s a lot of live-camera feed so that the audience has an opportunity to get into the inner subtle workings of a character’s inner life,” says Fargey. “There’s a lot of projections going on to create time shifts, movement. It’s a stunning production, it’s beautiful and hopefully the camera work is going to create intimacy.”
And while the technical elements that complement the stage work help facilitate a sense of intimacy, the production itself is large-scale and open – a welcome return to form at Vancouver Playhouse, which saw the closure of the venue’s titular company in 2012 after 50 years of operation.
“I don’t think the scale of this show could be done on any other stage in the city. It’s big,” says Fargey.
While Fargey’s hesitant to reveal too much about The Full Light of Day’s plot, she does admit the play explores the kind of “bribery, wheeling and dealing” and “backdoor deals” that too often come up as buzz words when discussing housing or real estate these days.
Although the story isn’t specifically related to Vancouver, anyone who has been paying attention during the last many years will recognize the sketchy real estate call signs present in the production, or, as Fargey puts it, the things that we all know go on “but we’ve decided is just business and we’ve normalized it all.”
At one point in the show “a deal does go sideways and the wrong person gets crossed and there’s ramifications to that,” which fatefully cause the family to unravel, to start examining the ramifications of their own actions, she says.
For Fargey, who attended Canyon Heights Elementary and Handsworth Secondary, it was a fascinating challenge to play a character so far removed from her own sensibilities.
“She’s taking care of business, she’s taking care of her family, and she’s aware that there could be some ethical and moralistically dodgy things going on but is deciding to embrace it,” she says. “It’s been an interesting journey for me because politically and ethically I’m faraway from this character, I’m very far away from this character.”
Fargey has a long list of TV and film credits to her name, including appearances on The Beachcombers and The X-Files, and more recently on shows like The Man in the High Castle and Bates Motel. She was nominated for a Genie Award for the 2000 film Protection, which examines the world of social services based in Canada.
In The Full Light of Day, Fargey says being part of the production has got her thinking more about the importance of looking outside of our own little microcosms.
“What’s good for me isn’t necessarily good for the whole, and so in taking care of self we can be harming other people. To bring it to Vancouver – this isn’t necessarily the real estate issue of our play – but it’s really good for me if my house costs $3 million but it’s not good for the people who are trying to get into the market.”
Fargey recalls being bitten by the acting bug in Grade 10, after an acting opportunity involving the topic of youth suicide and the Crisis Line allowed her to pursue her then-interest of social work/service.
Through acting, Fargey eventually came to feel like she could “reach a lot of people at once,” prompting her to study performance at Langara College’s Studio 58.
With regards to the near constant spectre of real estate and Metro Vancouver, Fargey says The Full Light of Day made her “stop and take a look at the ramifications of behaviour globally. … Every choice I make has an effect on something somewhere,” she says. “We’ve been trying to get back to the North Shore but can’t afford it. There’s your real estate tie-in!”