We all know life has a beginning and an end. What matters is what happens between these two points. This is where the beauty lies.
Cow Patti Theatre’s spring production The Cemetery Club explores these elements, dealing with life after a death, in yet another comedic drama that will leave you in a state whether you are not sure you should laugh or cry.
The Cemetery Club, being presented at the Lacombe Golf and Country Club, will run until early March. The production features a cast of five and is penned by Ivan Menchell.
Director Donnie Bowes said The Cemetery Club is just like a really good sit-com.
“Most people’s favourite shows are usually sit-coms, whether it’s All in the Family or The Golden Girls,” he said. “The really good ones are really well written and their characters, you just feel within five minutes you know them.
“To me it’s the perfect art form. You can have a good time, then walk away and take something with you.”
Bowes currently serves as the artistic director of one of Canada’s most successful professional summer theatres, the Upper Canada Playhouse in Ontario.
“Any good play is like any good novel, it has a good story,” he added about the upcoming production.
Cow Patti Theatre’s Artistic Producing Director and one of the cast members AnnaMarie Lea said The Cemetery Club is a real story that deals with life from a humorous point of view.
“It’s kind of about cherishing the past and embracing the future,” she said.
Essentially, The Cemetery Club tells the tale of three widows who meet once a month for tea before vising their husbands’ graves. Their friendship bond gets turned upside down when a widower, a local butcher, comes on the scene, and the three friends vie for his attention.
The Cemetery Club features a well-seasoned cast including a first appearance for Rod Campbell, who has 40 years of experience including credits in Broadway productions Phantom of the Opera and Ragtime. Linda Goranson also makes her return to Cow Patti. Goranson was featured in The Painted Door, an Oscar-nominated short film, among other stunning credits.
The production also features the return of Cow Patti Theatre favourites Patti Kazmer, Susan Greenfield and Lea herself.
The stage proper has also expanded to accommodate a living room and a graveyard in the Lacombe Golf and Country Club space. Set designer Tom Lea and his team have worked hard to create an open and accessible set for both the actors and the audience.
The Cemetery Club is in essence a traditional Cow Patti show – a production that tugs on your heart strings and leaves you feeling up lifted when you exit the clubhouse.
“I like to choose a show where it is entertaining, there’s a variety of experiences, it’s funny and yet there is something to think about, something that audiences can hang onto, something about real life that appeals to them,” said Bowes. “And shows about characters that they either know or have seen before. I find if you can make them identify with those types of things you have a show that they are going to like.”
He added that The Cemetery Club is one of the those shows that accomplishes all of those things.
“That way the audiences leaves feeling they’ve had a real darn good time and the fact that it’s a really good story,” he said.
The Cemetery Club runs from Feb. 11th to Sunday, March 6th 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 community groups in the Central Alberta region including The Lending Cupboard, Gramma-Link Africa, Rocky Seniors, St. Luke’s Historical Restoration, Clive Resource Centre and Father Lacombe Knights of Columbus.
In the 2015-16 season, through the benefit performances of the production Ethan Claymore, over $22,000 was raised.
For more information about The Cemetery Club or Cow Patti Theatre, visit www.cowpatti.com. For tickets, contact the box office at 403-782-3956 or 403-304-6329.