Four strong women. One 18-hole golf course. The wit of Norm Foster. The directing talents of Jesse Collins.
It’s a mixture made in theatrical heaven.
The Ladies Foursome, which had its world premiere at Upper Canada Playhouse July 3, is a fun-filled, fast-paced, thoroughly joyful celebration of the special bonds of friendship which link together four utterly unique women.
Playwright Norm Foster was asked for years to do a female version of his enormously popular play, The Foursome. However, it was not until about a year ago that he finally sat down and created Connie, Margot, Tate and Dory, telling their story against a setting that Foster loves: a golf course.
“I wanted the characters of the women in this play to ring true,” said Foster, during an earlier press conference. In the course of re-writes and rehearsals, while the play took its final shape at Upper Canada Playhouse, the writer was able to “step into (the characters’) shoes, to ask the actresses, would a woman really say something like this? And each woman does have a darker, an edgier side.”
Director Jesse Collins and his cast, with the playwright himself on site for the final rehearsals, were able to really explore the essential nature of the four lead characters. “We could gather our clues from the script…discover new things as we went. This play was not a sequel to the Foursome, but a fresh piece which shares some of the original’s inspiration.”
Foster’s ear for actual conversations, for capturing on stage the way people really speak to each other, allows Margot, Connie, Tate and Dory to draw audiences fully into their lives. It is a delight to follow them in the course of their ‘regular’ golf game.
We have the pleasure of getting to know them well.
These four unforgettable women can make us roar with laughter one moment, then heave a sigh of understanding the next.
Margot, Connie and Tate (splendidly played by Sharon Heldt, Melanie Janzen and Leah Oster) are on the golf course the day after the funeral of their fourth, for some 14 years, the late Catherine. They have decided to play this game in her honour, although Tate hilariously fusses that playing golf so soon may not be completely “appropriate”, and shouldn’t someone say a few words before they tee off, and if they are going to be religious words should she remove her visor?
Invited to join them during this pivotal game is Dory, (a wonderful Jane Spence) who says she knew Catherine from the two weeks a year their late friend used to spend at Dory’s Lake Arrowhead Inn, deep in the wilderness.
From the opening tee off to the touching events at the final hole, audiences enjoy some of the funniest, most outrageous, and deeply involving “golf” exchanges in the history of the game.
Absolutely no topic is off limits with this foursome as they take on the course challenges…and each other. Nothing.
Not television broadcaster Connie’s endless pursuit of men. (“I don’t worry about getting a reputation. I worry about keeping one.”). Not business woman Margot’s drinking. (She hates golf, “but where else can you drink this early in the morning and people think it’s normal?”) Not Arizona born Dory’s ultimate admission that she loathes running an Inn in the Canadian wilderness. (“I should be grateful we have indoor plumbing or I’d be down at the river beating my kids against rocks to get them clean!”) Not fastidious, conventional stay-at-home Tate’s desperate belief that she may have “frittered away my life. I want more.”
Why, not even God escapes the foursome.
“God’s a man,” Connie flatly states, ending an impassioned debate in theology. “The Bible says he rested on the seventh day. A woman wouldn’t rest on the seventh day. She’d say ‘I need to reorganize that closet’.”
Hilarious, confrontational, opinionated, fascinating, these four friends take life apart during their ‘memorial game’, then find a way to put it all back together again. Secrets are revealed, friendships tested, new friends found.
And throughout the game, the enigmatic Catherine is never far from their thoughts. Indeed, Catherine, in a sense, is the catalyst in this play. Her friends learn, quite to their surprize, who she really was, what she actually meant to each of them, and how she has influenced their lives.
“Out of all of us, Catherine had the biggest heart.”
Norm Foster’s The Ladies Foursome is a celebration of the oh-too-real joys, and pitfalls, of friendship. Along the way, the author slips in the oh-too-real joys and pitfalls of golf as well. (Connie’s ‘Ode to the 18th Hole’ is priceless!).
Who would not want to have Margot, Tate, Connie and Dory for friends?
The Ladies Foursome is an hilarious, touching, wonderful play about four pretty wonderful women. Don’t miss the chance to get to know them.
The Ladies Foursome runs until July 27. Contact Upper Canada Playhouse at 613-543-3713.