For Nelson artist Carol Reynolds, filling the 16 x 24-foot backdrop for this year’s annual pantomime will take approximately seven days of non-stop work. She will climb up and down ladders with her paint cans, mix giant pails of bright colours in preparation, and painstakingly bring to life an epic backdrop that includes Kootenay landmarks such as the big orange bridge, Elephant Mountain and Kokanee Glacier. Right in the middle is the queen of hearts’ castle, which fits this year’s theme.
“The castle is intended to be the main focus. I designed my own castle and put some hearts in it,” said Reynolds, who said tackling the large-scale project is significantly different from the regular work she does. She said she’s not used to mixing her paint in giant pails.
“It’s actually quite a challenge for me. It’s something new and different,” she said.
This year’s pantomime will feature approximately 50 cast members from the community. Pantomime writer Lisel Forst said she was floored by Reynold’s involvement.
“We are so lucky! Carol is Nelson-famous and we’re so lucky to have her it’s crazy. This is a big, big, big deal. I came in to help one day just so I could say I painted with Carol Reynolds,” said Forst.
Reynold retired from her career as a school teacher in 1999 to pursue art. She’s pleased that the last 15 years have proved successful.
“I’ve done a lot of back alleyways, I’ve painted some old houses, the trees. I just finished a series on Saskatchewan, because I go there a lot. There will be show in Regina next summer. But I’ve never done anything like this before.”
Reynolds said when she was approached by executive director Stephanie Fischer to contribute, she was pleased to help.
Volunteers Lisa Lowther, June Spearman, Jenna Lazier and Mary Defeo have helped with the painting.
She has yet to see the performers rehearsing, and has no idea what’s in store for the show. She will be in the audience on opening night, where she will see for the first time how her set complements the performance.
“People work really, really hard to present us with high quality performances. It’s an integral part of the community. It creates entertainment galore in this little teeny town,” said Reynolds.
“You realize how many people volunteer and work there, putting this together? I’m only one of many, many volunteers.”
And though she’s not interested in the recognition, plenty of people in the community and the pantomime production are thrilled about her contribution. And she’s happy to help.
“I really appreciate everything the Capitol does for this community, so I thought I’d give my support,” she said.
The pantomime runs from December 4 to 6 at 7:30 p.m., with matinees on December 6 and 7 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students or $45 for a family of four.
All proceeds will go towards the Capitol Theatre. You can buy tickets at capitoltheatre.bc.ca or phone 250-352-6363.
To learn more about Reynolds’ art visit carolreynoldsart.com.