Volume 12 Week 5

Monday, Nov. 2


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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette



(Posted 9 p.m., Oct. 27)

Nothing crumby about John Cook's latest production 'Crackers'
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Ever wonder what it must be like being an exotic bird plucked out of the Amazon jungle and placed in a cage as a pet for a middle class Canadian family? Or think about the weird and amusing things they must witness from their perch?

Well Orléans playwrite John Cook has and the result is an amusing and whimsical one act play entitled "Crackers".

Eric is a red-plumed parrot who grew up in the Pleasant Pet Palace and Emporium before his owner brought him home.

Salvador is his mysterious new housemate. An Amazon blue, he was plucked from the jungle by exotic bird smugglers.

Dave Brown and Mike Kosowan (right)play birds of a feather Eric and Salvador in Orléans playwrite John Cooh's latest production 'Crackers'. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Eric spends his days watching soap operas and reading the newspaper clippings that line the bottom of his cage.

When Salvador tells Eric he wants to learn how to read too, it triggers Eric's memory of his former housemate Petey's demise.

Eric taught Petey how to read, but rather than keep his newly-acquired talent a secret, Petey decided to be a show off and was eventually taken away by a bunch of men in white suits for "research",

"I hid in my cage and did nothing when they took him away. I should have tried to fight them off," Eric tells Salvador, which is when the audience learns that Eric's cage is never locked and he can fly away whenever he wants, but never wants to.

Although the play is performed in one act, it is told in two intertwined scenes. The main scene revolves around the interaction between Eric and Salvador in their two cages. The secondary scene takes place in the office of a gangster named Hank who needs to take care of a "problem".

As it turns out the problem is Salvador. Hank is about to go on trial for a number of offences including durg-dealing and racketeering. When he finds out his lawyer can't buy off the judge or the jury he kills his lawyer and hides the gun under the floor boards.

Salvador spills the beans to the cops and has to be placed in the witness protection program, which is how he ended up in the cage beside Eirc. Eric's owner Bill is a former cop.

When Hank finds out where Salvador is hiding, he sends his henchman Stinky to bump him off, but as he's about to do the job, Eric flies out of his cage and fights him off until the police arrive.

In the final scene, Eirc says goodbye to Salvador who is free to go back to his home in the Amazon where there is a chica on every branch.

Salvador invites Eric to go with him, but Eric decides to stay fresh with with a newly-found appreciation for the freedom that exists beyond his cage.

"Crackers" is a fun story brought to life by a talented group of actors starting with Dave Browm and Mike Kosowan who play Eric and Salvador. Victor Lachance plays Hank, Francis Kenney is Stinky, Tyler Smith plays Hank's lawyer Rudy and Erin MacDonald plays Det. Watt.

Cook is hoping to reprise the play at next year's Fringe Festival. If the Fringe folks have any sense, they'll send him an invitation tomorrow. They're crackers if they don't.

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



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