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Bob Monette



(Posted June 12)

Orleans Older Players at their quirky, weird best in 'Most Excellent Quixotic OOPS Hotel'
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Health and Safety inspector Gretchen Billings confronts OOPS Hotel manager Exme Clocker in the OOPS production of 'The Most Excellent Quixotic OOPS Hotel'. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The Orleans Older Players are a collection of enthusiastic amateur thespians and reluctant neophytes with one thing in coming, they all have an unabashed willingness to expose all their foibles, quirks and idiosyncrasies in front a group of total strangers, otherwise known as the audience.

Never was that more evident than during the recent OOPS production of "The Most Excellent Quixotic OOPS Hotel".

The play featured several OOPS veterans such as Tina Chan, Lynn Shackleton, Celine Nadeau, Sue Aston, David Shackleton and Andre Lacasse, as well as several newbies, playing a series of eccentric characters staying at a small town hotel run by Esme Clocker, played wonderfully by Chan.

Chan's Clocker instantly reminded me of Mrs. Roper from the 1970's sitcom "Three's Company", especially the wardrobe.

Both the class and the play, which is the culmination of weeks of instruction, are all about character develop.m.ent, and boy, did the cast develop and interesting collection of characters.

There was the hotel's chef, Kasimir Cassoulet, played by David Shackleton, whose specialty was Hamburger Helper au gratin; Norah and Richard Flick, played by Brenda Bogue and Andre Lacasse, a visiting couple whose prized possession was a rutabaga (not to be confused with a turnip); and Troy Anaretto, played by Ian Porteous, a pool boy/budding night club owner.

Two story loosely, and I mean very loosely, centred around a visiting actress Carmen Delamour, played by Celine Nadeau, who was visiting the hotel "incognito" after staring a food fight in a high end restaurant.

Her Girl Friday, not to be confused with Tuesday Evening Peyton, the hippy staffer played by Christine Braham, was Gladys Schmeckel, played by Sue Ashton, who I thought was absolutely hilarious.

While Delamour was trying to keep her identity secret, the hotel was being scrutiny by government health inspector Gretchen Billings, played by Pam Ryan, who was one of my favourite characters in the play. Ryan played Billings brilliantly. She was the epitome of the conservative, by the book bureaucrat that has become stereotypical of the position.

The play also features a guest appearance by east end theatre veteran Sarah Benefield, who I didn't even recognize as the mousey Valentine Switzer until halfway through the play when it was revealed she was the hotel owner's daughter.

The remainder of the cast included Lynne Shackleton, who played hotel maid Claudine Serpilliére; and AnnMarie Nielson who played staffer Harper West;

Oh, I almost forgot the most central character of all, Ferdinand, a plush kleptomaniac ferret owned by Chef Cassoulet who is stealing everyone's stuff and stashing it in his bedding.

As you probably may have guessed by now, "The Most Excellent Quixotic OOPS Hotel" is not your average play, which is appropriate considering the characters really are a collection of characters in the truest sense of the word.

One can only imagine how much fun these guys had developing their alter egos during their weekly classes at the Shenkman Arts Centre. "The Most Excellent Quixotic Ooops Hotel" is both the culmination and celebration of that process.

To find out more about the Orleans Older Players and when the next class begins visit http://www.oypts.ca/classes-camps/class-descriptions/oops/.

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



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