MORRISBURG – “Audiences always know what they will be getting with a Norm Foster play,” said Donnie Bowes, the director of Foster’s Lunenburg, running at Upper Canada Playhouse from August 1-25.
“The kind of laughs you get with one of his plays are, I think, stronger, because there is always something deeper there. In every scene, Norm’s great sense of humour comes through, and his great sense of story keeps an audience hanging on the words and fascinated.”
Lunenburg is one of Foster’s most recent shows, written in 2017 as part of the St. Catherine’s Foster Festival.
Lunenburg revolves around three people in a small town, often literally meeting on the back porch of an old house. Throughout the play, the beauty of the Maritime views surrounding these characters almost, according to actor Debra Hale, “makes the scenery like a fourth character in the story.”
Iris, played by Kate Egan Veinotte, is a native American who has come to Nova Scotia because she discovered that her late husband unexpectedly owned property in this small village. Her friend Natalie, with Debra Hale in the role, has agreed to come to Lunenburg with her since she “shouldn’t be alone.”
However, it isn’t long before the widow learns there could be a great deal more to her deceased husband’s life than she ever knew. Some of what she learns might turn her world upside down.
And the person who seems to know all about Iris’ husband is next door neighbour Charlie, a Canadian, a Maritimer and a long time resident of Lunenburg. Played by Jamie Williams, Charlie’s a man with tales to tell – among other things.
The cast is thoroughly enjoying building their characters in the production. One of the entertaining aspects of a Norm Foster play is often an element of surprize, perhaps of mystery, within the story. The audience has a chance to discover a number of things right along with Iris, Natalie and Charlie.
“You really find out about the character you play,” said Kate Egan Veinotte. “I found the humour in Iris. And the fact is, Norm Foster is a very funny man who loves being a story teller.”
“My Natalie is trying to get her life together,” said Debra Hale. “She’s middle-aged and she’s really trying to make some good choices, willing to put herself out there. Despite an interest in Charlie, she wants to be there for her friend, Iris.”
“We’re having fun with the characters and with the show,” said Jamie Williams. “Norm’s writing carries the play very far. And in all his works, he offers actors a chance to play incredibly interesting roles.”
Foster is noted for the naturalness of his dialogue, and his ability to write as real people actually think and talk. That is part of the comic charm of a Foster play. And, like all good playwrights, director Donnie Bowes added, “Foster has things to say about life. He uses his wonderful sense of humour to do this.”
All three cast members have played in other Norm Foster shows. Kate appeared in the Affections of May and Bedtime Stories. Natalie actually played the role of Iris at the Orillia Opera House and has acted in The Foursome, female version. Jamie is fresh from performing in Foster’s The Writer, and acted in the Playhouse’s Halfway There.
Tickets for Norm Foster’s new comedy, Lunenburg, running August 1-25, are now on sale at Upper Canada Playhouse.