It’s a tale as old as time – the classic he-said, she-said story.
Elmira Theatre Company’s latest production, Buying the Moose, explores the hilarious interactions between two brothers and their wives, who are best friends.
Written by Canadian playwright Michael G. Wilmot, this is just the first of ETC’s completely Canadian 2016-17 season. It’s also the subject of their fall dinner theatre.
Director Deb Deckert says Theatre Ontario encouraged all community theatre groups to do Canadian plays in honour of Canada’s 150th anniversary next year.
“It’s a relatively new play, which we’re happy about because in this area we have such a glut of theatre, community theatre and then professional theatres as well.”
Wilmot actually sent the play to Deckert for her to consider. As the chair of the script reading committee, she says this happens all the time. She read it and thought it was hilarious, as did the rest of the committee. At least three people from the committee read each play to decide if it’s good and if it will work for Elmira audiences.
“Everybody loved this one. You laugh out loud when you read it,” Deckert said, adding it will transition well on stage.
The four actors are no stranger to the Elmira stage. Steve Whetstone plays Rob and was last seen in Ned Durango Comes to Big Oak. Deckert says he brings his droll sense of humour to the part.
Andy Wasylycia plays Rob’s brother Greg and was in ETC’s production of Murder at the Howard Johnson’s.
“He has a great laugh on stage which is very natural, so that makes it funny too. And they’re playing brothers. They’ve got a nice rapport the two of them, like brothers do, you know razzing each other and the punch in the shoulder kind of thing,” Deckert said.
Their female counterparts are equal in wit. Tracy Biggar plays Betty and performed in the theatre company’s run of Menopositive! The Musical. Michelle Kreitzer, last seen directing Murder at the Howard Johnson’s, fills out the foursome as Cheryl.
“[Biggar’s] character’s a little more hysterical. She gets wound up so easily and she does it very well too. And of course Michelle Kreitzer, she’s got impeccable timing and energy. When she hits the stage she just glows. She’s wonderful to watch on stage,” Deckert said.
Paul Dietrich designed the set which is two small houses, one on either side of the stage. She says they’re so well built they could be used as backyard sheds after the show.
The lighting crew will have their hands full though. As one of the men finishes their line, it will instantly switch to the women.
“There’s the overlap of lines, so the lighting has to be it’s on the guys, flip to the girls. There’ll be no sleeping in the booth,” Deckert said with a laugh.
She expects audiences will identify with the characters. The men are always saying something that gets interpreted differently by the women and vice-versa.
“You see the guys talking on the back deck drinking beer and you see the girls talking on the back deck of another house, they’re drinking wine. There’s mirror images of scenes and it’s very funny. The guys will say ‘well this is what happened’ and you hear their side of the story. Then you hear the girls say ‘no, no this is what he did,’” Deckert said.
As for where the moose in the play title comes from, Deckert explains it’s part of a conversation between the women. One of the men wanted to buy a stuffed moose and his wife is telling her friend about how he wanted to put the moose head on one wall and the rest of the moose on a wall in another room.
“She said ‘why do they do stupid things like that?’ And she said ‘the only reason he didn’t do it is because I was there to stop him or he would have bought the moose.’ So they laugh about that and they say ‘how many times has your husband bought the moose?’ And she says ‘I think we have a sizable herd by now,’” Deckert recalls.
As it’s their dinner theatre, Stone Crock will be catering the meal. Friday, Saturday and Sunday shows will include dinner and the show, while the Thursday performances are just the show.
Elmira Theatre Company’s production of Buying the Moose runs Nov. 4-19 at their 76 Howard Ave. venue. Tickets are available at the Centre in the Square box office in Kitchener by calling 519-578-1570 or 1-800-265-8977, online at www.centre-square.com or www.elmiratheatre.com.