Surrey Little Theatre role draws in Langley actor

Langley City’s Mike Busswood draws parallels between himself and a character he playing in the upcoming theatre production of Drawer Boy.

“I think his directness, his enjoyment of life, his childlike qualities” are all similar, said Busswood, a 57-year-old retired Telus electrician who’s passion for theatre has consumed he and his wife for some 30 years ago.

“I did musicals in high school in Vancouver, then 10 years later my wife Cathe got me involved in Arsenic and Old Lace in Abbotsford. Theatre then became our hobby,” he explained, noting their daughters Samantha and Kaitlyn have since become immersed in theatre, as well.

Despite taking on roles – both on and off stage – in upwards of 60 plays through the years throughout the Lower Mainland since then, Busswood said this is his first show with Surrey Little Theatre.

“I have known of SLT for many years and I’ve just never gotten around to doing a show there until now,” he said.

Busswood is playing one of the three characters in Canadian playwright Michael Healey’s production that opens April 17 at the Clayton Heights theatre.

Busswood and his wife had both worked with director June Ainsworth in past. When she asked Cathe to be stage manager for Drawer Boy, Busswood decided to tag along and audition.

“My role is Angus in Drawer Boy. He’s one of two older men, bachelor farmers in rural Ontario. Angus is damaged from shrapnel in the Second World War, he has no short-term memory… I had read the play and knew I wanted to play Angus.”

But admittedly, it’s been a little tougher role than most.

"The challenges for this role are both physical and mental for me. I’ve been dealing with some health issues which greatly reduce my strength and stamina, as well the dialogue demands great focus and concentration while appearing to be simple and uninvolved."

While Busswood has also done some acting for film and television in past, he’s not pursing that much currently, instead focusing most of his attention on theatre.

He’s participated in theatre productions and groups throughout the Lower Mainland, from Chilliwack to West Vancouver. But his primary focus now is closer to home, with the Langley and White Rock, and Vagabond (New Westminster) Players.

Chiefly he’s been involved as an actor – which is what he loves and has earned him multiple awards – but admittedly he’s also done most other jobs that come with community theatre, including stage manager and director.

In fact, he’s hopeful this already award winning drama will earn SLT some awards. It is the group’s “festival piece” meaning it will be entered into the regional theatre competitions in mid-May, and if successful will move onto the provincials in Kamloops this July.

"Drawer Boy is a Canadian play that is well recognized through out Canada as an award winning drama," Busswood said. "This role is a challenge because of the nature of the character Angus. I can make no assumptions as Angus because everything is constantly new. As  the play progresses, his memory of previous events is jogged by the presence of the young Miles character and he regains some of his old presence of mind."

Drawer Boy opens at Surrey Little Theatre, 7027 184th St., on April 17 and runs to May 17, Thursdays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $15 and available at 604-576-8451 or www.brownpapertickets.com.

A pair of tickets to the Surrey Little Theatre’s Drawer Boy

Two lucky readers will each win tickets to the production running to May 17.

How do you win?

• Click on the live link in the story about Drawer Boy at www.langleyadvance.com, and tell us why you want to see this community theatre production.

You will be entered into the draw.

Preference is given to Langley residents.

Postings must be received prior to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 15, and the winner will be announced on the on the Langley Advance website. No staff or family of the Langley Advance or Glacier Media are eligible. This giveaway is restricted to online participants, 19 years or older only.

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