There’s more to the holiday season than singing carols, drinking hot chocolate and decorating the Christmas tree.
In Cow Patti Theatre’s latest production Ethan Claymore, kicking off the 19th season, we learn that miracles still do happen, even in the simple life of a Central Alberta farmer. We will get to see a true reflection of life in the ’70s and of course, in true Cow Patti fashion, enjoy plenty of laughs as well.
Ethan Claymore, premiering at the Lacombe Golf and Country Club, will run until mid December. The production features a cast of eight and is penned by Canadian playwright Norm Foster.
Cow Patti’s Artistic Producing Director AnnaMarie Lea said usually for the first show of the season, the company produces a farce, which is not the essence of Ethan Claymore.
“No matter what farce you do, they all kind of work the same way, and I thought it was time to give our audience a bit of a toss up,” she said.
Lea was led towards selecting Foster’s Ethan Claymore last season, after the renewed suggestion from a former actor and the search for a holiday-themed play.
“I wanted to stay with comedy because I really truly believe we all need to be able to laugh,” she said. “But in this play, because it’s written by Norm Foster, there is some wit in it. There is some heart.”
Ethan Claymore deals with the very heart of the holiday season – family, friendship, love and yes, miracles. Lea said the miracles are, “Very heartwarming,” and at times, unrealistic, but that’s the charm of the production.
Essentially, Ethan Claymore tells the tale of a struggling egg farmer who has given up looking for love and laughter just four days before Christmas. Much to his surprise, Ethan is visited by the spirit, or ‘shadow being’ of his late brother, and along with the assistance of a meddlesome neighbour and another, will bring back the zest in his life.
Set in the ’70s, the play flashed back to when Ethan and his brother were children in the ’40s.
“It’s really important to get the audience there with us,” said Lea.
In order to seamlessly cross between the two decades, Lea has paid close attention to the details on the set right down to the soundtrack. From vintage glasses and props sourced directly from a shop in Lacombe and an authentic ’70s era fridge, the community has contributed pieces to assist in Lea’s vision.
Two Lacombe Composite High School art students, Sofia Capettini and Thomas Waddell, have also been commissioned to create two paintings that are critical to the plot of the play.
Lea added this production is the professional debut of four young actors from the Lacombe area – a first for the theatre company.
“Another interesting aspect to this play is because it flashes back, I’ve had to hire some very young actors for this play,” she said.
Red Deer College student and former theatre camp attendee Ryan Scheltus will be playing the role of young Martin.
Twelve-year-old Levi Derowin, Tristan Hanrahan and 1o-year old Corbin Pearson will be sharing the role of young Ethan.
The production also features Brian Young playing the lead Ethan Claymore, Edward Chaplin as Douglas McClaren, Susan Greenfield as Teresa Pike and new to the Cow Patti stage, Allan Cooke as Ethan’s brother Martin.
Lea said the main mandate of Cow Patti Theatre is to make people laugh.
“This season I’m just trying to give people a really good laugh,” she said. “I want everyone to walk out of here feeling really good, like life is good.”
Ethan Claymore runs from Nov. 19th to Saturday, Dec. 19th at the Lacombe Golf and Country Club. Performances are on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday evenings. Doors open at 6 p.m. with dinner served at 6:45 p.m. Saturday and Sunday afternoons are brunch shows.
The theatre is also hosting six benefit shows for various local community groups including Kasota East Camp, the Caroline Seniors’ Drop In Centre, Medical Mercy Canada, All the Jazz Dance Studio, A Better World Canada, The Lacombe Masons and the Lacombe Performing Arts Centre Foundation. Last season, through the benefit performances of the two productions Who’s Under Where? and The Ladies Foursome, $42,945 was raised.
For more information about Ethan Claymore or Cow Patti Theatre visit www.cowpatti.com. For tickets, contact the box office at 403-782-3956 or 403-304-6329.