At the end of August I got started in an 8 week prep for the performance of Witness for the Prosecution. A play written by Agatha Christie and put on by the Chilliwack Player's Guild in the Chilliwack Cultural Centre. This is my first time doing a live performance as an actor, I've spoken in front of large crowds a number of times, but this is different. In Witness I get to play 3, yes THREE, characters. The first is a plain clothed policeman that doesn't have a line but escorts the prisoner off stage after giving a nod to the inspector... chilling I KNOW!

The second character is the one I had to spend time on, even though I only have 8 or 9 lines. I play Thomas Clegg, a forensic laboratory assistant, and I happen to be on the witness stand for the first time and struggle with a terrible stutter. In all of our rehearsals the cast and crew thought my character was hilarious, the live performances have proven differently. I'm of the opinion that people think I actually stutter and that they can't help but feel pity and pride that the Player's Guild reached out to someone like me and gave me a little part to tryout. The community help program is at work, they must think!

My last character is the foreman of the jury. I have two big lines, the first "WE ARE" and the last... well I yell out the verdict of the prisoner and I can't just give that away! I'm on stage for no more than 30 seconds with this one!

Aside from the acting I also got asked to make a lobby display and take 'fun' headshots of everyone on the cast and crew (you can see an example below). It's been a lot of fun, I've met some great people, discovered a part of me that's been missing for a while and just enjoyed the experience as a whole. I will most definitely try it again! Cheers, Matthew A. Hawkins

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