TWO young North Vancouver actresses who are roommates and fast friends are now looking at each other across the class divide in Theatre Under the Star's production of Titanic: A New Musical.
"I play Kate McGowan," said Michelle Bardach. "She is a 17-year-old feisty Irish immigrant. She has gotten herself pregnant and she wants to find herself a man."
"My character's name is Charlotte Cardoza," says Steffanie Davis. "She lost her husband before she got on the ship, so she's an heiress, and she's a first-class passenger . .
. She also likes to gamble and drink and hang out with the boys."
Theatre-goers should expect a much different experience than the 1997 James Cameron-directed movie, which popularized the true story of the nautical disaster as well as the fictional love story of Jack and Rose.
"It's totally different," says Davis. "There's a bunch of different facts and history behind each of the characters that we get to find out, and they're all based on real characters who lived and died on the Titanic."
Director Max Reimer has staged the musical on a mostly bare stage, but huge projections against the back wall of the Malkin Bowl help to transport the audience back in time.
"We actually found photos of the real Titanic, from inside and outside the ship, and it's incredible . . . it looks like the characters are on the ship," says Bardach.
The outdoor setting also helps set the mood.
"You're outside and the sun is setting just as the Titanic is setting sail," says Bardach.
"As it gets colder and the stars come out, you really feel like you're right there with them in the middle of the night when everyone's been woken up in their pajamas."
Bardach, 23, and Davis, 21, went through Capilano University's theatre program together. Working on Titanic has been a great learning experience for the young actors.
"There was learning the music, and then there was the staging," said Bardach. "That took a while, because we've got such a large cast if you figure out where to put everybody, and why people are where they are."
Unlike most musicals, which have a few central characters supported by a singing, dancing chorus, all but a few of the characters in Titanic have a name, back story and dialogue.
"You come to care about all these individuals," said Davis.
Titanic: A New Musical runs until Aug. 18 at the Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park. For more information, visit www.tuts.ca.