(Posted 5 a.m., June 27)
playwrite reprises avian production for Fringe Festival
By Fred Sherwin
Charlebois (right) and Mike Kosowan star in
John Cook's production of 'Crackers' at this
year's Fringe Festival. Fred Sherwin/Photo
year's Fringe Festival received over 70 submissions from
local playwrites and theatre companies this year to fill
just 22 spots in its program. Among them, was Orléans'
playwrite John Cook's production of "Crackers".
to pick which plays would be in this year's festival each
production was assigned a numbered bingo ball and 22 were
picked out of a hopper. Cook's play was the last one selected
and so the process of rehearsals, costume making and set
design began, culminating in six performances in a little
over a week.
whimsical one-act play was first performed at the Shenkman
Arts Centre over three years ago. Several of the actors
who appeared in the original production have reprised
their roles for the Fringe including Mike Kosowan, Victor
Lachance and Francis Kenny.
presents a bird's eye view of two parrots who fate and
the witness protection program have brought together.
is a red-plumed parrot who has never ventured outside
his cage even though his owner always leaves his door
is Eric's mysterious new housemate. An Amazon green, he
was plucked from the jungle by exotic bird smugglers and
sold to a local gangster.
spends his days watching soap operas and reading the newspaper
clippings that line the bottom of his cage.
Salvador tells Eric he wants to learn how to read too,
it triggers Eric's memory of his former housemate Petey's
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
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.
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 the gangster who needs
to take care of a "problem".
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.
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 Eric.
Hank finds out where Salvador is hiding, he sends his
henchman Stinky to bump him off. But when Stinky is about
to kill Salvador, Eric flies out of his cage and fights
him off until the police arrive.
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.
invites Eric to go with him, but Eric decides to stay,
fresh with with a newfound appreciation for the freedom
that exists beyond his cage, or so we're led to believe,
until, in the final scene, he flies into the deeming house
is a fun story brought to life by a talented group of
actors starting with Tom Charlebois and Mike Kosowan who
play Eric and Salvador respectively. Victor Lachance plays
tbe gangster named Hank, Francis Kenney is Stinky, and
Sarah Benfield plays Det. Watt.
has been trying to get into the Fringe Festival for the
past three years. For those Festival patrons who've taken
in the first five performances it was definitely worth
sixth and final performance of Crackers takes place this
afternoon at 6:30 p.m. in the University of Ottawa's Academic
Hall on Seraphin-Marion. Tickets are just $12 and are
available at the door. For more on the Fringe Festival
incuding tomorrow's encor performances visit http://ottawafringe.com/.
story was made possible thanks to their generous support
of our local business partners.)
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