Some kind of Wonderful: Ioco players set to tackle Christmas classic

Cast members Natasha Fairweather, Garth Hodgson, Steph Wood, Mark LeBourdais and Jesse Peachment get set to step into Bedford Falls. photo supplied

Just in time for Halloween: Christmas.

Port Moody’s Ioco Players are set to pay tribute to one of the greatest films about sacrifice, the bonds of community and the importance of affordable housing with their production of It’s A Wonderful Life, A Live Radio Play by Joe Landry.

“Coming through the election . . . the universal themes of this piece are about family, community, forgiveness, kindness. All those things that I think all the world can really use more of these days,” said Mike Arseneault, artistic director of the Ioco Players.

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The production is set to open Oct. 27 at Inlet United Church on Spring Street.

“This will be the first big event for them,” he said, explaining the church will likely need to rely on rental income from future events.

“We’ll definitely be coming back to it,” Arseneault added. “There’s such a shortage of facilities here for performance spaces in Port Moody.”

The story is about a good man – no longer quite so young – and about family and faith and our darkest impulses.

Having never managed to shake off the small-town dust of Bedford Falls, George Bailey finds that a life of self-sacrifice has led him to ruin. On Christmas Eve, he stands on a bridge and asks a simple, existential question: would things be better if I had never been?

Beloved by audiences (although reviled by right wing philosopher Ayn Rand), the film became a classic long after its 1946 release. PBS stations started airing the film in the 1970s, leading to its eventual status as a touchstone of the season.

“The best thing that ever happened to It’s a Wonderful Life is that it fell out of copyright protection and into the shadowy no-man’s land of the public domain,” writes Roger Ebert in his essay on the film.

The upcoming show features images from the film as well as original radio station stings, Arseneault explains.

“When people come into the space I want them to feel like they’re walking into a classic black-and-white movie,” he says.

The play is about George Bailey, Arseneault says. But more than that, it’s about the people who make his life worth living.

“[Bailey] is the quintessential American dreamer,” Arseneault says. “The charm in this piece is actually all the interesting characters that come into his life.”

The show is approximately two hours with an intermission. The production is slated to run for four performances including one matinee. For more information or for tickets, click here.

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