Volume 9 Week 3

Tuesday, Dec. 309


Updated March 18

Updated June 12

Orléans Ward
Bob Monette




(Posted 3 p.m., Apr. 22)

ENCORE! production in desperate need of a sequel
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Angela Caresfoot, played by Erin McCloskey, pleads with her teacher to save her from marrying her cousin as her father Piers Caresfoot and the play's author Owen look on. Fred Sherwin/Photo

As a movie goer, I hate going to movies that end 15 minutes too soon and leave you wondering what happens next.

After sitting through ENCORE! Theatre's latest production "Listen to the Wind" I was left with the same empty feeling. Of course, it wasn't the cast's fault. They were terrific. Nor was it the fault of director Jenn Jarvis who was brilliant.

It was the fault of James Reaney, the three time Governor General's Literary Ward winner who wrote "Listen to the Wind", the story about a seriously ill boy named Owen who writes plays for his cousins and friends to help pass the time while confined to his father's Perth County farmhouse.

As the play opens, Owen is visited by his cousins Jenny, Ann and Harriet, played by Teri James, Sarah Benfield and Erin McCloskey respectively.

After the foursome tosses around a number of ideas for their newest production, Owen decides to base the play on the Victorian novel The Saga of Caresfoot Court about the tangled webs people can weave.

We soon find out that Owen has an ulterior motive in putting on the play aside from keeping himself entertained. His mother has recently abandoned the boy and his father and he's hoping she'll come back to be in the play and stay for good.

The main characters in Owen's play are Piers Caresfoot who is about to inherit his father's estate until he secretly marries a girl while engaged to another woman; Piers' cousin Douglas who inherits the estate after Piers' father changes the will before dying of a heart attack; Lady Eldred who marries a nobleman even though she's in love with Douglas; Piers' daughter Angle Caresfoot by the woman he married who dies in childbirth; and Arthur Brenzaida who is the cousin of Caresfoots.

Arthur and Angela want to marry, but Piers wants his daughter to marry his cousin so she'll be in line to inherit the estate.

To carry out his plan, he first agrees to let his daughter marry Brenzaida, but only if they agree to live apart for one year before getting hitched.

After Brenzaida goes away, Douglas Caresfoot has his own designs on Angela and enlists the services of Lady Elderd to help make it happen. The pair decide to fake Branzaida's death after Lady Eldred visits the young man in Madeira and takes a ring given to him by Angela under the guise that she'll bring it back to her.

Instead of giving the ring to Angela as a sign that Brenzaida still loves her, Lady Elder uses it to convince the lovesick girl that her betrothed is dead.

Distraught over the news, Angela agrees to marry Douglas after he convinces her and her father that he's dying and doesn't have long to live. It's not until after the wedding that Angela finds out that Douglas was faking his illness. At the same moment in the play, Brenzaida returns from Madeira, having stayed away for a year, only to find out that Angela has already married Caresfoot.

Before the final scene in the play, Owen and his three cousins draw straws to see if Angela will be killed off at the end of the play or not. Meanwhile, Owen's mother has returned to the farm to play Lady Eldred. What Owen doesn't know is that she plans to run away with her "friend" as soon as the play is over and despite his condition.

As the final scene of the play unfolds, Owen decides to change the ending of the play after Harriet, who is playing Angela, confesses that she always imagined that they would one day be married themselves.

When both plays end, Angela and Arthur are reunited and agree to carry out their plans. Whether or not Harriet and Owen do the same, or whether Owen even lives, is left up to the audience's imagination.

Putting in yet another fine performance as Owen and Arthur Brenzaida is ENCORE! veteran Kevin Piercey. McCloskey also delivers a strong performance as do Benfield and James and the remainder of principal players which include Craig Lethbridge as Piers Caresfoot; Mike Diaz as Douglas Caresfoot and Lili Connor as Owen's mother.

The supporting cast includes Darrick Casselman as Owen's father and Sir Eldred; Pierre Larocque as Dr. Spettigue and Devil Caresfoot and Emma Piper as Tabby and Martha.

Last but not least, the chorus is made up of Orleans Young Players members and past members Vicky Campbell, Elizabeth Goodman, Paige Kendell, Ryan McCloskey, Kathleen Shore, Hannah Kaya Sideris-Hersh, Madison Taylor and Michaela Taylor.

"Listen to the Wind" is among Jarvis' best efforts as a director. A play within a play is difficult enough, but the production is chock full of little effects which to the outsider may seem minor, but in reality take a great deal of forethought, timing and practice.

Helping Jarvis pull it off behing the scenes are stage manager Amanda Thompson, assistant stage manager Melissa Larose, OYP artistic director Kathi Langston and administrator Heather Jamieson.

"Listen to the Wind" continues through until Saturday night at the Orléans Theatre on Centrum Drive. Curtain time tonight and tomorrow night is 7:30 p.m. There will be a special matinée performance on Saturday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $8 at the door, $5 for seniors and students.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)


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