Comedy is an elusive beast to some and like wearing a hat to others; it's either non-existent or as natural as choosing to do it.
For almost 30 years veteran actor and Coquitlamite Donna Thompson donned the cap of a dramatic actress. But currently, she's one of two lead female roles in the Vagabond Players' production of Let's Murder Marsha, a comedy and thriller parodying a variety of mystery novels.
"You know what's funny? I'm usually cast in dramatic roles," Thompson told the Tri-Cities NOW. "I'm usually the woman that gets murdered, or is being murdered, but lately I've been stepping into comedy."
Acting has been Thompson's passion ever since she was little, and as she grew up in Coquitlam and later Burnaby, before moving back again, she fueled her natural curiosity with drama classes and school plays.
Her desire, work ethic and intense role preparation kept her landing gigs over the years, working in theatre productions in and out of the Tri-Cities.
It wasn't until recently she decided to dip her acting pen into the comedic ink.
"I really did not find it easy at first," she said. "I didn't understand comedic timing. And it's quite different preparing for a comedic role."
Years of being used to underplaying her characters was flipped on its side, making way for the opposite tendency in comedy to put it all on the line.
"I personally believe in dramatic roles, that you don't want to overplay them," she said. "But with comedy, I tend to want to put myself out there. Just let it all out."
Arriving on a comedy set has a different feel altogether than walking into a dramatic production, she added.
"You definitely have to walk into the theatre with a light-hearted attitude," she said. "You can't be afraid to push the envelope."
Her character in Let's Murder Marsha is named Persis Devore, a glamorous interior designer who inadvertently causes chaos in the home of friends Marsha and Tobias Gilmore.
Her friend Marsha, a mystery novel addict, overhears Persis speaking with her husband Tobias about Marsha's birthday present, but due to bad timing and a little more than a bit of paranoia, she hears bits and pieces of the conversation and starts to believe they are planning to murder her.
Then the chaos begins. After a long career in drama and a recent successful foray into comedy, Thompson couldn't be happier with the outcome.
Let's Murder Marsha runs until Oct. 26 at The Bernie Legge Theatre in New Westminster.
The play runs from Thursday to Saturday at 8 p.m. with a Sunday matinée at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, and $13 for seniors and students. For reservations or to book online, email reservations@vagabondplayers. ca.
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