Norm Foster’s Moving In

Debut at Upper Canada Playhouse

The course of true love – Actors (l-r) Molly Kidder, Viviana Zarrillo, Dan Lett and Jake Goldsbie in final rehearsals for Moving In. (The Leader/Gibb photo)

MORRISBURG – Upper Canada Playhouse has a very exciting event coming on June 8, 2023.

Norm Foster’s new play, ‘Moving In,’ will debut on the Playhouse stage, featuring an outstanding cast, and directed by noted actor/director Jesse Collins. Acclaimed playwright Norm Foster himself will be attending the opening nights of ‘Moving In.’

Audiences are going to love meeting Mark and Gretchen, two 60 somethings, who, after much thought, have decided to “move in together,” to the oft stunned disbelief of their grown children, Brett and Rachel. Foster’s ‘Moving In’ follows 24 hours in the lives of these characters in what Jesse Collins calls a “positive, hilarious play, with situations rich with comedic opportunities.”

I talked to Norm Foster about his new show. “I like plays about families,” he said, “and here we have a couple, of a certain age, who move in together only to find her grown daughter opposed and his ‘wannabe drummer’ son largely disinterested. She’s driven. He’s laid back. I flipped the traditional approach of parents getting upset when kids move in together, and had the kids disapproving. There just seemed to be a lot of possible situations that could rise from that sort of conflict, and, truthfully, lead to comedy.”

Foster wrote the play during the COVID months. The characters grew out of his imagination. With the exception of New Brunswick backwoodsman Shaver, in ‘Come Down from Up River,’ “very few of my characters are based on real people. I love creating my own characters, with all their quirks, and all their different personalities. I hear the characters speaking in my head, and as I write, I try to catch the rhythm of their speeches. For me,” Norm Foster explained, “the best and easiest part of play writing has always been dialogue.”

Foster is renowned for the wonderful, memorable characters he creates, from the women of the Foursome, to Ethan Claymore, to Doris and Ivy and Jonas and Barry (all of whom have appeared at the Playhouse). “My plays are about people, real people, ordinary people, trying to do the best they can, and trying to get by in life,” he said. “There are no millionaires, no James Bonds in my plays. Audiences will recognize these characters and the real situations they face. And they will say to themselves, I’ve been there.”

He is excited to be debuting his new show at Upper Canada Playhouse. He loves its intimacy, the “quiet and country feel of the Playhouse. Jesse and Donnie are old friends. When I am at UCP, frankly, I feel very much at home. I love that people in the community see it as ‘their’ theatre.’” However, because initial read throughs of the show were done via Zoom, and “I like to actually hear the actors speaking my lines in a new play,” he has done some revising of the script in the lead up to opening night as the very talented cast brings his characters to life. “Although,” Norm Foster admitted, “I’m always nervous until I hear that first laugh.”

According to director Jesse Collins, he will not have to wait long for those laughs on opening night.

“Norm has a gift for creating real people in sometimes extraordinary situations, yet, in some ways, we’ve all been there. He explores those situations in a way that is thought-provoking and satisfying. We all understand what it is to begin a new relationship, move to a new home, have kids with issues.”

Jesse has assembled a group of “terrific performers” to bring Norm’s characters to life. Dan Lett is Mark, and Viviana Zarrillo is Gretchen. Jake Goldsbie is Brett, and policewoman Rachel will be played by Molly Kidder. “Gretchen and Mark want to blend their lives, create a future together, but they also have pasts,” Jesse said. “There are surprizes ahead, but also lots and lots of laughs. When Norm first sent me this script, I was barely a dozen pages into reading it, when I just knew, as a director, that I wanted to have first crack at ‘Moving In.’”

Dan, Viviana, Jake and Molly are “loving” the characters they are playing, and loving the entire Upper Canada Playhouse experience. “‘Moving In’ is a fast paced script,” said Jake, “and we have to think fast as we create our characters. Yet Jesse trusts us in the process of making choices.” “While it’s kind of like running down hill,” Molly added laughing, “I feel that Gretchen, Mark, Brett and Rachel are becoming part of us.” “It’s a joy giving these characters life,” said Viviana, “and it’s just so good to be back on the live stage after the shut downs of the pandemic.” “Coming to the Playhouse is a little like walking into my best friend’s reck-room,” Dan added. “There is a real intimacy between the audience and the cast in this theatre. And it is just such fun to create such original characters.”

They all feel, through the magic of Norm’s script and Jesse’s direction, that they have forged close connections with the roles they are playing. “The first person who does a role, well, they create it,” Jesse Collins said.

The cast and director are agreed that ‘Moving In’ is going to be a delight for audiences: there will be moments of understanding, and lots and lots of laughter… after all, this is a Norm Foster debut! “Norm is our playwright,” said Dan Lett. “He is a Canadian, and audiences can relate to his characters, their laughter and their tears. It makes us so proud to be doing one of his shows.”

Since you’re here…

… Thanks for reading this article. Local news is important. We hope that you continue to support local news in your community by reading The Leader, online and in print. Please consider subscribing to the print edition of the newspaper. Click here to subscribe today.

Subscribe to Email Alerts

Enter your email address to subscribe to Email Alerts and receive notifications of new posts by email whenever The Leader publishes new content on our website.