Night Owl Theatre Company soars back into live performance with riveting retelling of Treasure Island


In January 2021, Night Owl Theatre Company performed the show “Winter Break” in the empty Kelowna Secondary School Theatre for an audience of three: one stage manager and two camera operators. Only two to four actors were on stage at one time, scenes were blocked so actors would never be within six feet of one another, and masks were worn in the few moments that several people were on stage at once. On the first take, the main camera malfunctioned and didn’t record anything and on the second take, one of the actor’s mics stopped working, so different scenes from different takes had to be spliced together to form the final product. 


It was an amazing show, but any of its magic was lost in translation to the camera. 


Covid restrictions worsened throughout the year and the spring show manifested itself in the form of a recorded Zoom meeting framed as a strata holding their Annual General Meeting, affectionately nicknamed Cats, because of the clowder (group) of cats that end the show by mauling the majority of residents of the strata.


It was a dark time. 


This year, things are different. While it’s not clear whether the cast will have to wear masks onstage and how many audience members will be allowed to watch at one time, the cast does get to return to the  stage and are already busy at work blocking scenes, singing sea shanties, developing characters, learning accents, and practising their sword fights for this winter’s show.  


Treasure Island, based on the renowned novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, will run from December 7th to 11th with performances at 7PM in the KSS theatre and the cast is ecstatic for the performance. 


Doryan Elliot, the director of Night Owl Theatre, remarks that this is a “whole new experience” for the cast.  “A lot of the performers have never performed in this theatre for a live audience, they’ve never performed in alleyway*; everything’s these firsts that I get to take [them] on and … it’s very joyous.” 


This enthused sentiment is also spreading amongst other members of the theatre in preparation for the show. 


The crew has been occupied designing pirate costumes, painting a beautiful treasure map on the floor of the theatre, filming publicity videos, and assembling the  numerous  other necessary components of the show. They are each and every one of them hard and dedicated workers and deserve the recognition so often forgotten when congratulating the cast. 


Both cast and crew have also been honing their theatrical abilities outside of school by taking a field trip to the Rotary Centre for the Arts on a company-wide retreat.  


The cast worked with Denise Kenney, Head of Creative and Critical Studies at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. They learned about energy levels in movement and movement based on the four elements, fire, water, earth, and air, and how they can incorporate these things into their Treasure Island characters. They also worked with Stephen Jefferys and Anita Reimer in a stage combat workshop for sword, knife, and unarmed combat. 


Mae Glerum, a Grade 10 actor new to Night Owl, is very excited about this self-development, reflecting on theatre as a “very therapeutic way to express emotions through other [characters] and experience lots of different people’s perspectives.” She plays Dungbee, a scheming, sneaky, thieving member of Long John Silver’s pirate crew, in Treasure Island. When asked about joining Night Owl Theatre and how she has been enjoying it so far, she had high praises: “It is a very accepting community, it’s very professional and playful at the same time, and it’s a blast to be working with everyone.” 


Theatre may not be your cup of tea, but Night Owl Theatre Company is about more than art. It’s about building community, working hard, telling stories, and forming a family. 


The cast and crew, even as you read this, are hurriedly and passionately working as one to put together the story of Treasure Island and urge you to gather your friends and family between  December 7th to 11th to see how their work has paid off.


You won’t regret it.