Kanata Theatre Kicks Off
Its 37th Season With a Bang

by Clare Flockton
(note: this appeared in local newspapers about September 1, 2005)

Kanata Theatre is up and ready to kick off another fantastic season. The Ron Maslin playhouse may have sat in darkness over these hot summer months but KT members have been working incredibly hard to make sure that this 37th season will be one of its greatest yet.

The first play of the season is called Drinking Alone, written by Canada’s most produced playwright Norm Foster. Gerry Thompson will be directing a small cast of five in this romantic and witty comedy.

The play is set in one location over a very short period of time. The characters are quickly thrown into an outlandish situation and they must adapt to the chaos very quickly. An estranged father played by Ben Tolley, suddenly decides to visit his two adult children after having no contact with them whatsoever for the past fifteen years. To make matters worse, he will be bringing along his “new” wife (played by Halia Osadca) whom he married after abandoning his children and leaving them in the care of their alcoholic mother.

The son, Joe Todd (played by Robert Fairbairn) is eager to impress his father at any cost. He comes up with the lavish idea to hire an escort and have her pose as his fiancée. Renee Duchene )played by Anne-Marie Frigon) comes from an agency to pose as his bride-to-be in order to make Joe’s life seem put together and enviable. Renee is given strict orders to be vague about their past; however, she feels compelled to make up elaborate tales of their make-believe romance. Joe did not foresee the calamity when he thought out his harebrained scam.

Joe’s sister Carrie O’Neill (played by Cheryl Zimmer) is struggling with her own demons. On the surface she appears to be a successful newsreader for a local television station, although we quickly see that her life is in tatters and she is hanging on by a thread as she battles alcoholism and a pending divorce.

As the dysfunctional family is reunited, past misunderstandings must be addressed and resolved. On the way to resolution there will be many laughs and a few tears. In the end this play will leave you with a smile on your face.

This page generated on 2005/09/03



Start the new season by DRINKING ALONE with Kanata Theatre

by Jim Holmes
(note: this appeared in local newspapers about September 9th, 2005)

Sex, death and friendship!

Those are the usual themes of Norm Foster’s plays according to one critic, and they are all to be found in Drinking Alone, the popular comedy that opens Kanata Theatre’s 37th season on September 20 at the Ron Maslin Playhouse.

Out of these themes playwright Foster mixes up a theatrical concoction filled with wit, warmth, romance, surprise and, above all, comedy. Joe Todd hires Renee Duchene to pose as his fiancee so that he can impress his father, Ivan, who is coming for a rare visit, accompanied by his new wife. Joe and his sister Carrie both suspect his motives. And Renee turns out to be more than Joe had bargained for.

Norm Foster is unquestionably Canada’s most prolific and widely produced playwright. His extraordinary output of more than 30 plays written over a space of just over 20 years is only part of the story. These plays have clearly struck a chord with Canadian audiences. They have become an indispensable ingredient in the programs of professional and community theatres across the country.

What makes the plays work so well? To begin with there is Foster’s keen ear for the way real people speak. The conversation always seems new-minted and fresh. Nothing seems contrived. He has a genius for tapping into ordinary human experience. You can recognize yourself up there on the stage, or at least you can recognize your neighbour. There are no villains in a Foster play, but there are no heroes either.

Above all he has an unerring instinct for the rich comic vein that underlies even the most serious of human situations. Foster’s plays are very funny. And Drinking Alone is no exception.

With this production Norm Foster becomes Kanata Theatre’s most produced playwright. Drinking Alone joins last year’s Ethan Claymore, as well as previous seasons’ mountings of Sinners, The Affections of May and Foster’s classic The Melville Boys.

Drinking Alone runs in the Ron Maslin Playhouse, 1 Ron Maslin Way, Kanata, Tuesday to Saturday September 20 to October 1. Opening night features a champagne reception. Curtain is at 8 pm sharp. Tickets are $15. Five-Play Season Ticket packages are now on sale at $60. Call Kanata Theatre Box Office at 831 4435 or check out the user friendly website at kanatatheatre.com

The article is accompanied by a photo: the caption reads "Cheryl Zimmer, Halia Osadca and Annmarie Frigon star in KT's first play of the 37th season, a comedy by Norm Foster." Photo credit: Ann Williams



The Show Must Go On

by Clare Flockton
(note: this appeared in local newspapers about September 16th, 2005)

As you get comfy in your seat, while the music starts and the house lights fade, take a minute to think of all the hard work and energy that goes into bringing a production to life on the stage of the Ron Maslin Playhouse. There are usually upwards of twenty to thirty members of Kanata Theatre working diligently on stage and behind the scenes to make sure that each and every production comes off without a hitch.

Now since this is live theatre, the likelihood of not having any mishaps during a run of a show and its lead up time are highly improbable. Kanata Theatre has seen dedicated actors perform a ten-day run with broken bones and other ailments. There was one show where an actor had a terrible bout of the flu and a bucket had to placed off stage in case a wave of nausea overcame the actor while on stage.

Drinking Alone is no different. During the summer rehearsal schedule, Ben Tolley who will be playing the role of Ivan Todd, suffered a moderate to major heart attack which left him in hospital for two weeks. Two weeks may not seem like a long time to recover from a heart attack; however, when you put it into a nine-week rehearsal schedule the effects can be considerable. Kanata Theatre prides itself on its professionalism and rose to the challenge, considering that the show must go on.

In Tolley’s absence, the cast and crew had to rally together and keep the show moving. The cast and crew were concerned for Tolley’s convalescence and many went to visit him in the hospital wishing him a speedy recovery. A hard choice had to be made. Since Kanata Theatre does not have understudies, it needed to be decided whether to wait for Tolley to recover or to replace him halfway into the rehearsal period. The wise choice was made to keep him in the role and Tolley has had to make up for lost time.

He has meticulously been going over his lines and working particularly hard to ensure that his performance is nothing but excellent.

All Tolley’s hard work is going to pay off as he breathes life into the character of Joe Todd’s estranged father Ivan Todd. It becomes yet another tale of excitement that often occurs in live theatre.

Drinking Alone opens Tuesday September 20th and runs until Saturday September 24th 2005, then again from Tuesday September 27th until Saturday October 1st. A champagne reception will be hosted on the opening night of the show, so make sure you pick up your tickets at the Ron Maslin playhouse at 1 Ron Maslin Way (right off Terry Fox Drive).

The Box Office is now open Monday to Friday 5pm until 8pm and Saturdays 10am to noon. Tickets are $15 each or a 5-play season subscription is $60. Call the Box Office at 831-4435 or view the website at www.kanatatheatre.com.

The article is accompanied by a photo: the caption reads "Ben Tolley is now feeling much better and is rehearsing hard for Kanata Theatre's season opener, Drinking Alone, a comedy by Norm Foster". Photo credit: Ann Williams