When: March 28 to 30
Where: McPherson Playhouse
Tickets: $45.25, $54.75 250-386-6121
Although he’s travelling here for a rare stage role, Canadian Bruce Greenwood is best known as a respected film actor.
He’s played Capt. Christopher Pike in Star Trek flicks, appeared in Flight with Denzel Washington and starred in a string of Atom Egoyan films.
Back in the early ’80s, Greenwood was an eager young stage actor performing at Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre with actors such as Janet Wright. Next week in Victoria, the pair — who are old friends — have their first professional reunion since those early days.
Greenwood and Wright are starring in Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre’s production of Love Letters. The Pulitzer Prize-winning play by A.R. Gurney is about a man and woman who, although fond of one another, kept in touch over the years mostly through letters.
Greenwood, 56, recalls acting with Wright — today best known for TV’s Corner Gas — decades ago in Noel Coward’s Hay Fever. They also collaborated for a tour of Ken Mitchell’s Cruel Tears, directed by Brian Richmond (who will also direct Love Letters).
“Doing this play with Janet, she’s such a great, inventive pro. I’m really looking forward to it. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun,” Greenwood said this week from Los Angeles, where he lives.
It wasn’t easy snagging Greenwood for the role. The Vancouver native’s participation in Love Letters was almost scuttled due to his busy movie schedule, which had him shooting in Toronto just a few days ago.
As it is, Greenwood was compelled to opt out of two performances of Love Letters (the abbreviated run is now March 28 to 30 at the McPherson Playhouse). Fortunately, he and Wright managed to squeeze in rehearsal time in Vancouver before Christmas.
“It’s been hard to juggle my schedule,” he said. “Stuff always comes up. You have to commit to a play months in advance and then, inevitably, something comes charging across the horizon that gets in the way.”
He recently reprised the role of Christopher Pike for Star Trek Into the Darkness (due out in May). Other new film projects include The Place Beyond the Pines with Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling (set for April release) and the indie flick Wildlike, shot in Alaska.
Egoyan recently enlisted him for his new Queen of the Night movie, starring Ryan Reynolds. It’s his fifth collaboration with the Victoria-raised director — Greenwood has also had critically acclaimed roles in Egoyan films The Sweet Hereafter and Exotica.
Greenwood says Queen of the Night is a psychological thriller about an underground network of pedophiles who use the Internet to find victims. “The plot is so brutal. … I play a guy who’s a very wealthy, oblivious character,” he said.
The son of a University of B.C. geology professor, Greenwood originally studied economics and philosophy before taking a drama course, hoping for an easy credit. Roles at the Arts Club followed, although he initially had to supplement his income by moonlighting at a chemical plant.
In Love Letters, a two-hander, the actors read letters to the audience, rarely interacting with one another. It’s an unusual structure for a play. Greenwood says he looks forward to making it come alive with Wright.
“Part of the challenge — because you’re reading these letters — is to bring a sense of the extemporaneous to it,” he said. “And it goes through an entire lifetime — it spans 25 years.”
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