There's something about the holidays that just brings out family issues, which is why it's perfect fodder for the theatre stage.
Nine strangers, desperately trying to get home for Christmas, are trapped with nothing to do but exchange bizarre family stories and make up songs about them.
It's the brand new play called Picture This!, premiering at Trinity Western University's School of the Arts, Media + Culture.
Running Nov. 20 through Dec. 1, this show brings together twists of fate, original music, embarrassing childhood stories, beloved family traditions, and tales of ordinary heroes.
Promising fun whether you love or hate the holidays, the script was written by an ensemble of theatre students under the leadership of award-winning director Angela Konrad.
"We all wonder what other people's families are like, especially around the holidays," Konrad said. "This show gives us an opportunity to be a fly on the wall in others' homes, and also to see the power that telling our stories can have in the lives of others, often in ways we don't expect."
The show features two theatre students who are not only Langley natives but daughters of TWU professors.
Jane Townsend's father, Calvin, teaches political and religious studies, and Margaret Thorpe's father Allan is chair of the music department.
Telling tales of home can be tricky, especially when the parents - and those who know them - will see the show. Yet both Jane and Margaret wrote stories about father-daughter relationships.
"My dad knows about my story and is really encouraging," Townsend said, "even though my scene is about how different he is as professor and as my dad."
Thorpe agrees. There does have to be come creative licence.
"My dad understands me and he understands the creative process, so he's really looking forward to seeing how it all comes together," she said.
Through vivid flashbacks and original music, Picture This! explores funny adventures and touching moments that come out of the performers' own experiences.
Parent/child dynamics, sibling rivalry, lessons from family history, embarrassing encounters. maybe this is why parents told kids not to talk to strangers.
"The students have cooked up a show for all generations; one that promises to surprise, inspire, and entertain," said Konrad.
So is it fact or fiction? Konrad won't admit to anything: "This show may contain true stories or absurd fabrications. Or both."
Picture This! is created by an ensemble that includes director Konrad, and stage manager Sharra Ganzeveld. The performers are Brandon Bate, Tiffany Choi, Megan Couch, Eleanor Felton, Daniele Neve, Bryan Sandberg, Margaret Thorpe, Jane Townsend, and Shelby Wyminga.
The shows are at at 7: 30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays with 2 p.m. Saturday matinees. There are special discounts on Tuesday shows.
For tickets and information, visit www.twu.ca/theatre or email email@example.com.