Back on stage
It has been almost a decade since I performed as Ebenezer Scrooge in the Keyano Theatre Company production of A Christmas Carol. I directed a production of The Odd Couple after that and then focused on my art career. As we settled into community life in Okotoks, I knew that I would eventually try out for a Dewdney Players show. When I saw that they were doing Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, it was a sign - to me - that the time had come. We had just returned from our vacation in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and I was in no shape to attend the in-person auditions, so I asked director Katie Fournell if she would accept a video auction. She graciously obliged and a few days later offered me the role of Maria in a gender reversed casting of the Bard’s classic comedy.
We started rehearsals in the dead of winter out at Dewdney’s rehearsal hall in Aldersyde, just a few minutes south of Okotoks. I was a stranger among many who clearly had connections to each other. We were still a few weeks into the process and I was still learning names. Fast forward to the end of the second week of performances and I feel like I am a new member of a large family.
I heard one of my cast members comment that they love the rehearsal process. I completely concur. Being in rehearsal the past few months has been my respite from the incredible stress that comes with making a major life decision. Heather and I made the move to downsize, sell our property, and figure out next steps right around the time we began rehearsals for this show. As an experienced theatre artist, I’ve always had the discipline and practice to put the outside world on pause when in rehearsal or production. That focus on the play provided enormous relief during this time of transition.
Photos by Brent Calver, Okotoks Western Wheel