Play tells story of Boris Karloff and Regina Cyclone
Acting troupes from a century ago are being brought to life by actors with Regina Summer Stage next week.
'Swept Off Our Feet: Boris Karloff and the Regina Cyclone' written by Regina playwrigth BD Miller, premieres next week at the Regina Performing Arts Centre.
The day before the tornado an acting troupe called the Gene Russel Players went bankrupt in Regina. One of those younger actors was the yet unknown Boris Karloff who became famous for his role in Frankenstein in the 1930s. He also played the voice of the Grinch in the Dr. Seuss classic original cartoon.
Celebrities in this day and age often rally support for disaster zones. A century ago and some of the other travelling entertainers in Regina at the time did the same holding benefit concerts for the people of the city 2,500 of which were left homeless.
As Miller explained, Karloff was in a very different situation.
"So he was stranded and broke and then the cyclone hit," Miller explained. "Actually it provided work for Karloff because he got work with a lot of the other crews at that time earning 20 cents an hour clearing debris."
Miller says in December he originally offered to write sketches for the Summer Stage actors to commemorate the centennial of the cyclone along with many other cultural activities but he was inspired to go further.
"Once I dug into the wealth of historical information I just realized that there's much more here, there's a full fledged, full-length play here with Karloff as the main character," Miller explained.
The play is also peppered with other characters inspired by real people who were in Regina during the disaster.
People will get the chance to see those scenes come to life when the play premieres next week. It runs at 7:30 p.m. July 10 to 14 at the Regina Performing Arts Centre on Angus Street and you can get tickets by calling their box office.