Something’s cooking at the Upper Canada Playhouse and artistic director Donnie Bowes and director Walter Learning are keeping a lid on the ‘brewing’ excitement.
At a press conference for the Playhouse’s upcoming production of Caroline Smith’s The Kitchen Witches, Bowes and Learning and the cast, which includes Linda Goranson, Jocelyne Zucco and Parris Greaves, were a tight-lipped about what’s on the menu for the Playhouse’s final run of the summer season.
“It’s a different show. It’s going to be fun for the audience,” said Bowes.
“It is a different show,” agreed Learning chuckling as he added,“It’s not one of your farces where doors are slamming everywhere…but there are doors that do slam.”
“It’s about two ladies and a cooking show…it’s a love story, it’s about friendships and there are a lot of laughs. There are also some very touching and insightful moments,” said Learning.
The Kitchen Witches stars two talented veterans of the Canadian stage, Linda Goranson and Jocelyne Zucco, who performed in the play twice before and once together.
Goranson is playing Dolly Biddle whose gimmick in her television show is playing an eccentric Ukranian cook with a love of vodka.
Her final show (it’s been cancelled) is interrupted by long-time friend and rival Isobel Lomax, played by Zucco. Upon her arrival, the cooking show begins to heat up as the two cooking divas go at each other.
The cooking show’s director is Dolly’s son Stephen, played by Greaves, who attempts to referee the on-camera battle.
“My character (Dolly) lives to be on a cooking show,” says Goranson. “Her whole world has been Stephen and the cooking show. Dolly loves life but her heart gets hurt by other people.”
“My character (Isobel) returns to stir things up in the stable Biddle world,” says Zucco.
Both Goranson and Zucco are delighted to be back on the Playhouse stage. They are enjoying the opportunity to perform in The Kitchen Witches again and enjoying the new discoveries they are making.
“We have a new Stephen, a new actor who is going to create different reactions, a new set and a director with new and wonderful ideas,” says Zucco. “All of that allows you to discover new things.”
“It’s like a long rehearsal period,” says Goranson. “You get to go deeper and deeper. It just gets richer and richer and richer every time you get to do a play again.”
Although not a problem, stage manager Jackie McCormick says The Kitchen Witches has been a challenge.
“This is probably the prop heaviest show I have ever done,” says McCormick of the over 24 containers of difference sizes, numerous kitchen utensils, wooden spoons and on and on. “On top of that is all the food. It’s been a challenge, but a good challenge.”
McCormick explains it is all about where everything is, in the right place at the right time.
Bowes admits to becoming somewhat of a shopping guru….He claims that when you are in a local store, filling your shopping cart with 90 containers of whip cream, 90 tart shells, 60 taco shells and more, people tend to take notice.
And how that food is used in the play remains a mystery that Upper Canada Playhouse audiences are going to enjoy.
“Tomorrow we get the actual whip cream and yogurt,” said Goranson as Thursday’s press conference wrapped up.
“And we won’t be wearing costumes the first time,” said Learning with a chuckle.
The Kitchen Witches runs September 8 through October 2 with shows on Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and matinees on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.
Tickets can be booked at uppercanadaplayhouse.com or by calling the box office at 613-543-3713.