SACKVILLE, N.B. – The Performers’ Theatre Company has been busy with a lot of firsts this year! Not only are they getting ready to premier their first new Canadian play but it will be in a totally new venue. On top of that the playwright is well known Sackville artist Sue Rose.
The company was looking for a Canadian play to stage during their 10th anniversary year when Rose, who is also a veteran actor and member of the Company approached director Stephen Puddle with her script. Through various re-writes the play came together until finally the decision was made to stage it. “It is our first truly Canadian play and our first play written by a local playwright. We have been wanting to broaden our repertoire and this will be a great start”, said Puddle.
The play addresses the reality of death being an integral part of our life cycle.
“Safe Harbour is the bittersweet story of a group of strangers who meet to talk about the death of a loved one. As they share their memories and their concerns, they learn that death does not end a relationship. Their memories are in fact stories of love and not of death.”
– Sue Rose
Director Puddle adds, “I think the play addresses a difficult issue in a sensitive way. It isn’t morbid but presents the lives of these characters in a natural, touching and even humourous way.”
When asked about the challenges of directing a play about death and dying Puddle says: “While the stories are very relatable and I believe people will identify with the characters, the challenge is helping the cast to feel as comfortable as possible in their roles and dialogue. While this is true for any play, in one that speaks of a difficult issue, it’s more important that it does not come across in a syrupy, contrived or affected manner. The actors must bring out their stories, their grief, their humour in a way that audiences will identify with. The script helps with that of course but it lies on the shoulders of the director and finally the actor to create this human connection.”
As the characters in the play gather in the ‘Safe Harbour’ café, they share their stories in present day but also in flash backs, where those gathered play out their stories in short vignettes. An approach such at this works well in story telling, as the audience can get inside the soul of the character and the story that is being told, in a much deeper and personal way.
The new venue is another exciting part of the company’s November show. Situated at 69 Main Street, directly across the road from Bill Johnston Memorial Park, the company are currently working to prepare it for opening night. It has been considered before for other plays, but various staging challenges had to be overcome and previous productions just weren’t possible. ‘Safe Harbour’ however should work well in the space because of the combined style of the production and venue. There will be a separate lounge area for patrons to relax in before the show and with such a central location in the downtown area, audience members will be able to access it easily.
The play opens at 69 Main Street on Tuesday, Nov. 7, at 8 p.m., running nightly until Sunday, Nov. 12, where it finishes with a 2 p.m. matinee. Robert Lyon Graphics will again be the ticket distributor and you can visit the company’s website, www.performerstheatre.com, for more information.