THE ST. ANN’S BAY PLAYERS CELEBRATE 35 YEARS WITH SUMMER THEATRE AT THE GAELIC COLLEGE
For thirty-five years, the St. Ann’s Bay Players have been producing plays for a wide audience throughout Cape Breton. Featuring Cape Breton, Scottish, and Irish tales, the mission has always remained − reflect Cape Breton’s rural Gaelic humour, history, and storytelling tradition with a talented group of character actors who know it well. Their theatre has been described as often challenging, thought provoking, and always entertaining with a great sense of very dry, sometimes dark, witty humour.
Out of the 45+ plays produced over the years, 20 have been original works by maritime or Cape Breton playwrights, including Bev Brett, the company’s artistic director. In 2014, Brett adapted Alistair MacLeod’s short story “Vision” as well as writing two short comedies for the Gaelic College’s KitchenFest! music festival and summer theatre series in an acclaimed and visually stunning production.
This year, the Players are back, and staging Cape Breton author and recent Giller prizewinner, Lynn Coady’s short story, “Jesus Christ Murdeena.” Set in Port Hawkesbury during the 1980’s, the satire looks at what happens to a small town when an ordinary but peculiar young woman takes up walking. Featuring a mother and daughter duo as played by Peggy Jenkins and Jitka Zgola, they are joined by Sue Brown, Nancy Smith, and Yvonne Leblanc in a classic, storybook style.
This will be complimented by some hilarious episodes from “Still Game,” a hit Scottish television show that has origins as a stage production. Featuring two pensioners, Jack and Victor and various other eccentric characters, we follow their well-worn path between the local hotspots – home, store, pub, and funeral home. Like a Scottish Coronation Street, the show is as funny as it is poignant, brilliantly portrayed by Murdock MacDonald and George Dauphney.
The Players are also hosting Casting Mill Theatre from Sydney, who will join the Players for the Summer Theatre season at the Gaelic College with four performances of “No Great Mischief,” a production based on celebrated author Alistair MacLeod’s famed novel. Director Todd Hiscock, a member of the Players, will showcase a talented cast from Sydney.
No Great Mischief tells the story of the long history of the Clan MacDonald beginning in 1779 as Calum Ruadh leaves Scotland to begin a new life on Cape Breton Island. Haunted by the stories of their ancestry, two brothers seek to reconcile their past with their present. Filled with Gaelic song and humour, the cast of 8 actors and musicians playing multiple characters deliver a lovely, heartbreaking, funny, and shocking story. No Great Mischief has played to rave reviews in theatres across the country. This play is not to be missed.
Dates for St. Ann’s Bay Players: June 29,30, July 2 and August 6, 7, 13,14, 20, 21. No Great Mischief: July 10,12, 17, 19. All shows are set for 7:30pm. Tickets are $20, and available at the Gaelic College Craft Shop by calling 295- 3441.