Jocelyne Rioux, left, and Murray Lee perform during a recent play rehearsal at the Thorndale Lions Community Centre. Rioux plays the title character in the Thorndale Agricultural Society’s Community Dinner Theatre production of Mrs. Parliament’s Night Out.
By Dan Rankin
The four-show run of the Thorndale Agricultural Society’s production of Mrs. Parliament’s Night Out, a recent comedy by acclaimed Canadian playwright Norm Foster begins Feb. 20 at the Thorndale Lions Community Centre.
St. Marys residents who saw the spring 2013 St. Marys Community Players’ production of Old Love will be familiar with Foster’s work – however his plays have recently bowed everywhere from Edmonton to Poland to Italy.
“He’s so popular and so funny,” said producer for the upcoming Thorndale production Jackie Malleck. “People from London came out on the first ticket sale day in December because they said they want to see every one of his plays performed. They said this will be their 20th. I’ve seen quite a few of them myself and they’re all quite enjoyable.”
The Ontario-born playwright, who celebrates his 67th birthday on Sunday, has had his works professionally staged since 1983, with Mrs. Parliament’s Night Out one of his most recent. It was first produced by Halifax’s Neptune Theatre in 2012.
The two-act play centres around the character Teresa Parliament who, after her husband forgets their 32nd wedding anniversary, sets out to find a life for herself outside of the home, running into some very interesting characters along the way.
“We were looking for a play that could have a large cast, to incorporate a lot of local actors; a lot of his plays just have two or four people,” Malleck said of their choice. “It also had to be funny, of course, they’re all funny.”
Another factor that stood out for them was that the play has no distinct setting or era. “It’s timeless and placeless,” she said. “It could be anywhere, it could very easily be St. Marys.”
Malleck said most of the actors have played with the Thorndale Agriculture Society before, though some are back after one or two-year hiatuses. “Some others who were in the plays last year and the year before are working on the play, on the set and in the crew,” she said. “It’s a good group. They’re very collegial.”
The show, which benefits the Thorndale Agriculture Society, opens Feb. 20 with a dinner and a show performance. Doors open at 6:15 pm. Dinner-and-a-show performances are also planned for Feb. 26 and 27. A Feb. 21 brunch and show is also scheduled. Tickets for these shows are $35 each.
A Feb. 18 dress rehearsal performance without a meal is set for Feb. 18 with doors opening at noon. Tickets for that performance are $10.
Tickets are available for purchase by cash or check at Thorndale ACE Hardware (519-461-0280).