For those who enjoyed the Kaatza Player’s production of The Foursome, Mending Fences is a play you will not want to miss. Written by the same playwright, Norm Foster, Mending Fences is a comedy “with some very poignant moments that will definitely move you, but (its) the comedy (that) pushes it forward,” according to Lindsay Anderson who plays both Lori, Harry’s ex-wife, and Harry’s mother.
There are five actors in the play, Eric Olson as Harry Sullivan, Maureen Akenclose as Virginia or Gin, Anderson as Lori and Harry’s mother, Brandon de Pol as Harry’s son, Drew, and Bailey Calihoo as both a young Harry and a young Drew. I had the chance to sit down with Anderson, Akenclose, and de Pol on Saturday and get to know them and their characters a little bit. They are a cheerful bunch who are enthusiastic about the play and about theatre in general.
Mending Fences is set in Saskatchewan on a cattle farm in approximately 2006 or 2008; the whole play takes place in a farmhouse, with a couple of scenes taking place in a train station. The plot centres around Harry and his son, Drew, who have not seen each other in thirteen years. Both are reluctant to give into feelings of the heart. However, there seems to be a parallel between Drew’s mother and his ex-wife, and Anderson says that in one of the flashback scenes—of which there are four—”we see Harry interact with his mother and Harry interact with his father, so it’s very telling to the man he’s become and therefore to the way he interacts with his own son.”
The three actors gave me a bit of a low-down on their characters. De Pol says that Drew is a lot like his father, but doesn’t want to admit it. “Which is unusual for a father son relationship,” de Pol joked. “Drew probably uses humour in a way to take down the walls, I guess, same as his father.”
Akenclose says that Gin is “resilient, driven, still has her sense of humour (her husband committed suicide). There’s been some tough times and she’s managed not only to get through it, but start up her whole cattle business again. So she’s been through some major trials, tribulations and hardships, but has got back on her feet.” Akenclose says that there is an understanding between Gin and Harry. “She knows how he handles things now, how abrasive he can be, or how he jokes it off.” There are parallels of loss between the two. “He’s had loss in a different way than I’ve had loss, but they both have had that on some level.” Anderson described the parallel of loss as a double edged sword, saying that it both bonds the two characters together, but also makes it harder for either one of them to want to open their hearts again.
Anderson, who plays two roles, Harry’s ex-wife and his mother, does not interact with Akenclose or de Pol throughout the play, but instead appears in the flashbacks. In the role of Lori, the ex-wife, she says “that she’s been miserable for nine years. They (the family) moved to the area from Toronto when their son was about six years old to this farm, which was Harry’s dream. And so she’s just been hating it and wants to move back home. She’s feeling really stuck in a small town.” As far as what this does to the relationship between Harry and Lori, Anderson says that “it’s messing it up pretty good. And he’s (Harry) not the best communicator in the world either, so that makes her want to leave even more.”
Akenclose, Anderson, and de Pol have all really enjoyed working on this play and are excited to share it with the public. They also say, that for each of them, working in theatre in a small town like Lake Cowichan has helped them to create friendships and become part of the community.
Opening night is May 3, with subsequent shows happening on May 4 through to May 11. The show begins at 8 p.m. May 5 is a matinee, with the show starting at 2 p.m. May 12 is a dinner theatre show, catered by the Cow Cafe and Cookhouse. Dinner is at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $15 for adults, students and seniors.
Member’s tickets are available for $12.50.
Dinner theatre tickets are $30. All tickets are available at The Footwear Centre and Curves in Lake Cowichan, and Portals at Island Savings Centre in Duncan.
For more information:
email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit the website at kaatsalakesideplayers.ca, or call 250-749-6998