Stampede queen targets the culture of small town B.C.
Photo By David Cooper
Zachary Stevenson steps away from his recent stint as Chemainus Theatre’s Buddy Holly to star in Never Shoot a Stampede Queen
An actor with roots in a small community taking his first run at a show based on a quirky small town shared on a stage in a community with that very same kind of feel.
It makes perfect sense to starring actor Zachary Stevenson.
Stevenson plays the lead role in his first performance in a three-night run of Never Shoot a Stampede Queen at the Duncan Garage Showroom starting May 3.
The former Parksville homeboy, Stevenson who now resides in Vancouver, is pretty pumped about leading this one-man show based on Mark Leiren-Young’s book and directed by TJ Dawe, and which follows rookie reporter (based on Leiren Young) tackling his first post at a small paper in Williams Lake.
Stevenson, who’s become quite accustomed to sporting cool, black-rimmed, coke-bottle glasses in his depiction of the great Buddy Holly for the Chemainus Theatre Festival Inn’s run, is now transitioning roles to a hick-town reporter.
“The crux of the story is it’s really a tale about growing up,” said Stevenson, 32. “He’s fresh out of university, in his early 20s, and he think he knows everything. He’s got it all figured out and he’s going to do some real damage in his first real job.
“It’s a comedy and it’s really quite funny actually,” said Stevenson, noting the name of the solo show is based on one of many debacles the reporter finds himself in, and that particular one him being assigned to shoot the town’s batch of Stampede Queen contestants, very much like Lake Cowichan’s Lady of the Lake contest.
“Williams Lake is known for their Stampede Queens,” explained Stevenson. “The girls there all aspire to be the queen. And it’s kind of like a joke on him when he’s assigned to shoot photos of all the girls and do profiles. It’s one of the many situations he finds himself in where he’s not quite understanding the culture.”
Stampede Queen may have its share of comical points, but the story also takes a more serious turn.
“It’s a comedy, but it does run deeper than that,” said Stevenson. “He sort of grows up a little. When he does eventually make his way back to Vancouver, he’s really become a bigger person.”
That rings bells for Stevenson.
I grew up in Parksville, so I’m a small-town kind of guy,” he said. “I live in Vancouver now and I’ve lived in Toronto as well. But I will always prefer living in a small town. That’s my eventual goal, to move back to the Island.”
The Duncan Garage Showroom couldn’t have been a better fit for Stampede Queen.
“Zachary is a rock star on Vancouver Island. I mean, he’s a rock star everywhere,” said Leiren-Young in an email. “He’s just coming off a sold out run of Buddy Holly in Chemainus, so when this came up it was pretty much perfect.
“This gives Zachary the chance to run the show before it arrives in Vancouver, but the goal of this show is to tour, a lot, especially in BC. So we’re hoping to bring the show back to Vancouver Island again soon. We’d love to bring it in for a run in Chemainus, Duncan, Victoria, one-nighters all over the island.
“This is a show about discovering rural B.C. and we all think it’s really going to hit a very special chord outside of the big cities.”
Stevenson, an accomplishes singer, song-writer, actor and multi-instrumentalist, has been skyping with with Vancouver-based writer/performer, film-maker Leiren-Young on sounding out Stampede’s script.
“It was different, that’s for sure,” Stevenson said of the preliminary phase Skype session with Leiren-Young. “Mark was really just listening to me read, and it was really about making sure the intentions, voices, meanings were right. The physical stuff comes a little bit later on.”
The Stevenson, Leiren-Young and Dawe, all Vancouver-based boys, make for a dream team, or “a force not to be reckoned with,” all having very different but at the same time similar backgrounds.
Stevenson has also starred in Urinetown, Assassins, Hair, Hanks Williams: The Show He Never Gave, and The Ballad of Phil Ochs.
Dawes is known on the scene for play Toothpaste & Cigars (co-written with Mike Rinaldi) which has recently wrapped shooting as a feature film titled The F Word, starring Harry Potter sensation Daniel Radcliffe.
He also directed and co-created The One Man Star Wars Trilogy and One Man Lord of the Rings with Charlie Ross, both of which have been touring the world since they debuted in 2002 and 2004.
Leiren-Young isn’t shy of credits either.
His resume includes plays Easy Money and The Year in Revue, as well as Shylock, which has been staged all over North America.
What: Never Shoot a Stampede Queen
Who: Starring Zachary Stevenson, Directed by TJ Dawe and written by Mark Leiren-Young
When: May 3,4, 5, nightly at 8 p.m.
Where: Duncan Garage Showroom
Why: The island premiere of what is sure to be a hit show across the country!
Tickets: $18 advance $15 door