They say laughter is the best medicine. It can mend a broken heart or release the tension in a room.
This is an element Cow Patti Theatre explores well in their latest spring production, The Cemetery Club, continuing on its run until March 6th.
Like veteran director Donnie Bowes said, The Cemetery Club is presented very much like a sitcom, complete with quippy one-liners, meet-cutes and characters entering and exiting the scene on a whim, much to the audience’s delight.
Essentially, The Cemetery Club tells the tale of three widows who meet once a month for tea before visiting their deceased husbands’ graves.
Their friendship bond becomes tested after meeting a widower, a local butcher, by chance at the cemetery. As you can imagine, drama and plenty of laughs ensue.
It features a cast of five with Linda Goranson playing the part of Ida, AnnaMarie Lea as Lucille, Patti Kazmer as Doris, Rod Campbell as Sam and Susan Greenfield as Mildred.
Throughout the production, Doris remains fiercely devoted to her deceased husband and at one point wants to lay down on his grave. Kazmer plays Doris as a stern realist who attempts to be the voice of reason for the group.
It’s the opposite for Lucille.
She wants to ‘get back in the game’ and date any man, really, as revenge against her deceased who husband who often cheated on her. Lea plays Lucille as a saucy, confident spitfire, with energy and emotion that is unparalleled to anything else.
Then there’s Ida.
She also seems lonely without her husband, but she’s unsure if she should begin dating again or stay loyal to her deceased husband. Goranson plays Ida as sugary sweet, like a grandmother who loves to bake her grandchildren pies and cookies and wouldn’t do anything ill towards anyone. It’s Ida’s good-natured manner that really balances out Doris’s sternness and Lucille’s flamboyancy.
By the second half, it appears Doris is jealous that Sam is taking Ida away from their friendship group. Lucille also seems jealous but for a different reason, mainly the fact that Ida is dating an eligible man she couldn’t get to first.
By the final scene, most in the audience had laughed, cried or both at the same time.
It was a bittersweet moment to say goodbye to the characters that had become so familiar through the production.
The play truly embraces what life is all about – experiencing life’s ups and downs with a close group of friends by your side. It doesn’t matter how old you are, the best times are still ahead.
For Bowes and the Cow Patti team, it’s obvious a lot of hard work has been funneled into every aspect of the production, with a deep commitment to humour.
The Cemetery Club runs from now until 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 6:30 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, more than $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 403-782-3965 or 403-304-6329.