Good eating with New West’s Luke’s Lunchbox


 New West Theatre’s new theatre for young people show “Luke’s Lunchbox”  has grown right out of the imagination of New West Theatre artistic director Sharon Peat who workshopped it with cast members Camille Pavlenko, Ryan Reese and Kelly Malcom, not to mention Camille Pavlenko rehearses a scene from New West Theatre’s production of Luke’s Lunchbox, running in the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, Dec. 26- Jan. 7. Photo by Richard Ameryconsulted with her students to ensure it had a modern flavour.  

 It comes fresh out of the box and onto the stage of the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, Dec. 26-Jan. 7.

Drama teacher Sharon Peat was thinking about the idea of students trading lunches when New West started putting together this season’s schedule, but actively started writing it in September.
“I wanted to write a play about eating healthy and well being but in a fun, non-preachy, storytelling kind of way,” Peat said.

“I workshopped it with the cast to decide what parts go where and read it to a number of students who are a lot closer to trading lunches than I am,” she said.
“So it comes out fresher than a play that has been done hundreds of times,” Pavlenko added.
“And you can only see Rogue One so many times, so come out and be part of the story. TV and movies are passive entertainment, but live theatre is active,” Pavlenko continued.

 The show is colourful and full of energy and has plenty of audience participation. The cast each play multiple characters. And, of course the audience is part of the show.
“The children help save us,” Pavlenko said.

Kelly Malcom and Ryan Reese rehearse for New West Theatre’s production of Luke’s Lukebox. Photo by Richard Amery
“We’re ready. We just need the last component – the audience,” Peat said.

Luke‘s Lunchbox tips the hat to Star Wars as Luke, in the midst of trading lunch with the other kids, ends up traveling to the planet “Carbohydro 9” and meets “a very familiar villain” according to Peat.
“Basically it’s about kids who trade lunches with the other kids. But hopefully kids will come out of it willing to try anything and become better eaters,” Peat said.
 Pavlenko plays a variety of characters including the familiar super-villain.

“Each of the kids are very familiar characters, you will know kids like these kids. I also play Luke’s mom and know what she’s going through because I am a very fussy eater. So my mom will definitely appreciate it when she comes to see the show,” Pavlenko said.

“Sharon has been really cool to work with. And some of the design elements I get to put together when they go to Carbohydro 9 are my favourites. I play a variety of characters, so get your tickets sooner rather than ‘Vader,’” Pavlenko quipped.
Luke’s Lunchbox runs at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 26-31 and Jan. 2-7 as well as  3:30 p.m., Dec. 26,30 and 31 as well as Jan2,6 and 7.

 A version of this story appears in the  Dec. 28, 2016 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times/ Shopper
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor