Fofonoff takes dramatic roles on stage

If you are hiking up Giants Head Mountain and come across a fellow orating to the natural world around him, don’t be alarmed.

Since 2008

If you are hiking up Giants Head Mountain and come across a fellow orating to the natural world around him, don’t be alarmed. In all probability it will be James Fofonoff practising his lines for an upcoming play.

Born in 1963, Fofonoff took most of his schooling in Victoria. It wasn’t until the age of 26 after meeting his wife Leigh that he decided to become a registered massage therapist.

The couple moved to Summerland in 1993, where they bought their first home and started a business.

Even though he had never been exposed to theatre while growing up, Fofonoff enjoyed attending live plays. He thought it looked like fun and was sure that he wanted to try it someday.

That day came in 2008. Fofonoff responded to an ad in the paper, asking for young children and families to be in the Summerland Singers and Players production of Jack in the Beanstalk.

He, along with his son and daughter, were accepted as villagers.

“We were the ensemble so we were singing songs,” explained Fofonoff. “I remember feeling fairly nervous about that because I had never really been on stage before.”

During a rehearsal, Fofonoff was offered a few lines in the play and he accepted.

At the dress rehearsal, Ed Schneider offered Fofonoff a role in a new play he was directing. Fofonoff objected, saying he was not really an actor, but agreed to take the script anyhow.

Later, while having dinner at a Chinese restaurant he discussed the proposition with his family. Still feeling very unsure of himself, he opened his fortune cookie. It read, “Your audience is waiting and the stage is before you.”

Less than two months later, Fofonoff starred in the first play the Many Hats Theatre Co. ever did, called Maggie’s Getting Married.

It sold out each night and was so successful they decided to do three additional shows.

“I took on this role and it was a totally life changing experience,” said Fofonoff. “What I did for learning my lines is I would take my script with me and go up Giant’s Head Mountain and I would belt out my lines. You have to repeat them and you have to feel the vibration in your body. You have to feel the words coming out of your mouth.”

Fofonoff learned that acting was about listening, about being in the moment and about actually trying to become the character he was portraying.

“We create an illusion,” he explained. “We are making the audience believe. The trick for the actors as well as all the technicians…is to hold the illusion as much as we can.”

This illusion is lost in theatre if someone forgets their lines or “blanks.” Actors are taught to keep talking and in so doing look to the other actors for help, known in the industry as a “save.”

“We are a team, a group of people that participate as equally as we can,” said Fofonoff. “I am very devoted and dedicated, because I see how important it is.”

Fofonoff explained that it is the actors who receive the applause, yet the creative process involves the directors, producers, stage managers, set design, costumes, props, lighting and sound.

Although Fofonoff finds the “fun factor” of theatre to be huge, he also said it involves sacrifice. He credited his wife for her understanding in this regard when he often came home, gulped his supper and was off to rehearsal.

Fofonoff is now busy rehearsing for a play that he feels will have brought him full circle. In order to commemorate their 10th season, Many Hats Theatre Co. is once again presenting Maggie’s Getting Married. This time Fofonoff, one of only two of the original cast members, will be playing the role of the father instead of the groom.

The play runs from Feb. 2 to 25, 2017 at the Cannery Stage in Penticton. For ticket information call 250-493-7275.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penticton Indian Band stands in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en

“We’ve lived in this area for 10,000 years, and our knowledge is being disregarded…” - Chad Eneas.

Techstars Penticton took start-ups from ideas to pitches in 54 hours over the weekend

Local businesspeople worked their ideas to present before a panel of judges.

Summerland native leads bobsled teams to silver and bronze

Kripps makes podium twice in Konigssee

South Okanagan resident Henry Kriwokon celebrates 100th birthday

Family, friends, police officer and bagpiper gathered at restaurant on Sunday to celebrate milestone

South Okanagan ski hill reports ex-employee to RCMP, closes lift amid investigation

‘We are actively investigating and dealing with the actions of a former employee,’ said the resort

VIDEO: Canada’s first presumptive case of coronavirus officially confirmed

Both patient and wife arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

Swapping grape varieties can help winemakers adapt to climate change: UBC study

Report says 56% of wine-grape-growing regions would be lost if global climate warms by 2 C

Alberta premier wants feds to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

Kenney: ‘Surely [reconciliation] means saying yes to economic development for First Nations people’

Quintet jazzes it up with Okanagan-wide talents

Justin Glibbery group brings twist of jazz and pop

Trans-Canada closed east of Golden due to avalanche hazard

The highway is estimated to reopen around 7 p.m.

Former Hells Angels associate in Kelowna court on gun, drug charges

Former Angels associate Dale Habib appears in Kelowna court

NDP suggests easing secondary housing rules for B.C. farmland

Lana Popham proposes guest homes not just for relatives

After four sexual assaults in the same B.C. park, RCMP ask women not to walk alone

Four sexual assaults took place in Glen Park over two months

BC Place lights up in purple and yellow to honour Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash

Most Read