Local emerges from behind the scenes

Rancier studies his script backstage.

Rancier studies his script backstage.

Building sets and producing shows may be Edward Rancier’s specialty, but once in a while he gets to show off his acting skills.

The Malvern resident takes to the stage on Jan. 31 in one of the darker roles of musical theatre – the warden who tortures prisoners in Kiss of the Spider Woman at the Scarborough Village Theatre.

Rancier, 63, has been in the theatre business for more than 17 years, and has held a number of different jobs.

“I’ve been on the board of directors, I’ve been the treasurer for seven years, I produce shows and I’ve built sets. I don’t go on stage very often,” Rancier says. “Until you go on stage, you don’t experience what the actors go through.”

“Unless you do it, you can’t experience it.”

Rancier, who has lived in Malvern for over 35 years with his family, says his love for musicals began at a very young age.

“My aunt had taken me to a music theatre once in Toronto and that’s what’s gotten me into big musical shows,” Rancier says .

A gay window dresser and a Marxist revolutionary in an Argentine prison cell set the scene for Kiss of the Spider Woman. It will be staged by an experienced cast in the community.

In their rehearsal space at the Scarborough Music Theatre, the entire cast and crew share a little kitchen where they sit and talk amongst each other. They are like a family and are completely at ease . Besides this close relationship within the cast members themselves, there also exists a close relationship with the audience.

“The theatre is quite unique, you perform right in the middle of the audience, and they’re sitting on three sides,” Rancier says. “It’s hard to concentrate because they’re so close to us.”

Kiss of the Spider Woman has a very dark plot when compared to other musicals. Michael Harvey, playing the role of the gay window dresser , calls ‘cutting edge’.

“Life is complicated [and] I think that our entertainment should reflect our complicated lives,” Harvey says. “People look [to] theatre for escapism and sometimes so do I.”

“Just like I would with a movie you know, I don’t want to be challenged either. I want to see pretty colors, lovely scenery and beautiful costumes.”

Rancier knew right away what grabbed him.

“What blew me away was the music, the music in the show is very beautiful, sort of contrasts the dark side of it,” he says. “That’s what makes it such a beautiful show.”

Kiss of the Spider Woman is set to open 11 shows at the Scarborough Village Theatre beginning Jan. 31 – Feb. 16. Tickets can be purchased at 3600 Kingston Rd. or by phone at 416-396-4049. Tickets are $24 per person with discounts available for seniors and students.