With a cast both selected and well into rehearsals, the Kaatza Lakeside Players’ upcoming production of Cosi is off to an excellent start.
Cosi is about a man named Lewis who tries to get a group of mental patients to perform in the production of a play.
“They won’t play it crazy,” artistic director Dena McPhee said. “That’s not the intent of the play, or any of the characters.”
The cast is made up of both experienced Kaatza Lakeside Players actors audiences may recognize, as well as newcomers. The cast is as follows:
• Lindsay Anderson, who has a long history with the theatre group, will play Ruth, a character with obsessive compulsive disorder.
• Helina Poll will play Cherry, a character who has had a horrific childhood. This is the first-ever role for Poll, who will also help out with set design.
• Terry Pool will play two characters, including Justin, a social worker, and Zac, a patient and musician.
“You have to develop two characters. I’ve got to learn how to play the piano and accordion,” Pool, a long-time member of the players, said.
• Graham Fielding, new to both Lake Cowichan and the Kaatza Lakeside Players, will play Doug, a pyromaniac.
“He hates that he can’t burn things,” Fielding said. “Not that he doesn’t try.”
Previously involved in the Shawnigan Players and a Nanaimo group, Fielding brings with him some previous acting experience.
“I’m getting back into the game,” he said, of acting.
A trick to playing Doug, he said, is to play him as a real character, and not simply crazy.
• Deanna Attwood has not acted since her school years, and has agreed to take on two roles in Cosi, including Lucy, the main character Lewis’s girlfriend, and Julie, a heroin addict who is a romantic interest of Lewis.
“I think she’s gutsy to take on two roles,” Lakeside Players artistic director Dena McPhee said.
• Eric Olson will play Roy, a long-time patient who is an instigator of doing a play within the play of Cosi.
Olson last acted with the Kaatza Lakeside Players in December, when he played the title role in Mother Goose.
• Brandon De Pol will play Lewis, the play’s main character.
De Pol was last seen on-stage in last spring’s production of The Foursome.
• Fellow actor from The Foursome Erin Butler, who also acted as an evil henchman in December’s production of Mother Goose, will appear in Cosi. Butler will play the part of Nick, the main character’s parasitic best friend.
The play will also benefit from the expertise of artistic director Dena McPhee, sound technician Judith Quinlan, and director’s assistant Tyra Hauck.
Since the actors began rehearsals, a few changes have been made to the initial script. One of the major changes is that the play will no longer take place in Australia.
“We thought it tied us too much to the space,” McPhee said.
Now, although the play will still take place in the 1970s, its location will be more ambiguous.
“We can put it in Canada and the States just as easily,” McPhee said.