Seven-year-old Thomas (played by Michael Standley) serves Sister Mary Ignatius (played by Andrea Markiewicz) in the Portal Players’ production of Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Portal Players premiere pair of comedies

Two one-act plays will open on Oct. 6 in Port Alberni

The Portal Players Dramatic Society will kick off their 2017-18 theatre season will the presentation of a comedy double-header, “The Actor’s Nightmare” and “Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You,” written by Christopher Durang.

Christopher Durang is well known for his thought-provoking and sometimes controversial creations. “The Actor’s Nightmare” tells the story of an accountant who is mistaken for an actor and forced to perform in a play for which he does not know any lines. The play shifts between scenes from from different plays, to make things more confusing.

“Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You” introduces a nun named Sister Mary Ignatius who explains to the audience the basic tenets of Catholicism, until she is interrupted by a group of her former students. The play contains satiric religious themes that some may find offensive.

Opening on Friday, Oct. 6, both plays will be performed each evening at the Capitol Theatre, with following performances on October 7, 13, 14, 21 and 27. The show starts at 7:30 p.m.

Director Belinda Williams is new the world of directing, after performing on stage with the Portal Players several times. She has put together a cast and crew of diverse local talent to bring both plays to life.

“I thought I would try a one act play to get my feet wet,” said Williams. Her searches turned up “The Actor’s Nightmare,” and she found its companion piece, “Sister Mary Ignatius.” It uses exactly the same cast and crew, so the Capitol Theatre would be able to have a run of shows with both pieces.

Williams admitted that she knew nothing about the second play before she put in her proposal, and discovered that it was much more difficult than she had imagined.

“There are several pages of monologue and a child actor,” she said. “But it’s gone well so far. It’s hilarious if you have a dark sense of humour. It should make for a really fun evening of comedy.”

The Portal Players happily welcome long-time local actors Cindy Solda and Elliot Drew back to the stage, as well as two brand new actors.

“I was really pleased with the people who came out,” said Williams. “As directing experiences go, it’s been really good.”

Portal Players will be entering both of these plays into the Vancouver Island One Act Play Festival in Qualicum in November.

Tickets for the shows in Port Alberni are available at the Capitol Theatre box office, the Rollin Art Centre and online at



Amanda (played by Cindy Solda) and Elyot/George (played by Elliot Drew) argue during the Portal Players’ production of The Actor’s Nightmare. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Sister Mary Ignatius (played by Andrea Markiewicz) addresses the audience in the Portal Players’ production of Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You. ELENA RARDON PHOTO