2 p.m., Feb. 28)
Orleans Older Players offer a mix of angels and bad poets
on a bed of dust bunnies
By Fred Sherwin
were a fan of the late Robin Williams, or familiar with
his work, chances are you've seen or at least heard about
Dead Poets Society.
Lettice and Xena practice their dance moves
during the Orleans Older Players theatre production
of 'Canada's Worse Verses'. Fred Sherwin/Photo
weekend the Orleans Older Players are offering their own
unique version of the Dead Poets Society in "Canada's
Worse Verse", only the OOPS' dead poet society is
made up of four members all named James; all horrifically
bad; and all residing in a holding pattern on Cloud 2468.
cranky caretaker is an angel named Lettice, played by
Tina Chan, who's nemesis is her angel boss Venus, played
by Céline Nadeau.
wants desperately to go to an upcoming dance with Albert,
but Venus has designs on Albert as well and has a plan
to keep Lettice from going to the big do which involve
her having to undergo an cleanliness inspection which,
judging by the number of dust bunnies littering Cloud
2468, is not likely to go well.
receives some last minute help in the form of another
angel named Calliope, whose played by Pam Ryan, but she's
more interested in making cheesecake than cleaning up
then there's the poets, played by André Lacasse,
Biz MacDonald, Sebastien Melbourne and a stuffed mannequin.
In order they are James McIntyre, whose favorite topic
is cheese; James Gay and James Gillis, a Scottish-Canadian
poet who resides in an upright coffin.
three poets spend their days in a state of suspended animation
unless triggered by a key word. In McIntyre's case the
keyword is "cheese"; Gillis' keyword is "great"
and Gay's is "Tennyson", which sounds an awful
lot like "tension" and generates a lot of confusion.
the beginning of the play, the dead poets are joined on
Cloud 2468 by Phoebe James, whose played by OOPS newcomer
Trish Golden. She's "delivered" to the cloud
by Hermione, played by fellow first-timer Karen Bolt.
is a dog walker who recently died in an explosion, and
ended up with the poets as the result of a clerical error
and having the name James. She's delivered by
poets are trapped on he cloud until someone takes the
time to listen to their poems. The problem is that there
poems are so bad no one can stand listening to them much
past the first couple of lines.
when things look desperate for Lettice she finds an unlikely
ally in an angel named Zena, whose played by Sue Ashton.
Zena is the inspector sent to check up on Cloud 2468.
Zena feels bad for Lettice and agrees to doctor her report
so that she can go to the dance with Albert.
the are found out by Venus who kiboshes their plans until
the head angel, Odelia, played by Judy Kilger, who shows
up and everyone learns that Calliope is actually a spy
sent to keep an eye on Lattice and Venus.
the end, Lattice gets to go to the dance, Calliope gets
a promotion, Venus gets a demotion, and the poets get
their own cloud where they get to recite their truly bad
poems for the rest of eternity.
Worse Verse" is a quirky little production that could
only come from the equally quirky brain of Cumberland
playwrite and OOPS instructor Susan Flemming.
is amateur theater in its truest form, brought to life
by a group of people who enjoy studying and performing
with each other for reasons that are important to themselves
but unimportant to the rest of the world.
do it because it's fun. They do it because it gets them
out of the house. And they do it because at the end of
the day, when the final curtain comes down, it's incredibly
The Orleans Older Players class is offered by the Orleans
Young Players Theatre School and is open to anyone who
wants to get involved in producing and acting in a play
with other likeminded individuals.
more information visit www.oypts.ca/.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)
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