Volume 12 Week 5

Wednesday, Dec. 12


 

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Orléans Ward
Matt Luloff

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney



 

 

 

 



(Posted Dec. 12, 2018)

Vintage Stock production a nostalgic look at the homefront during WWII
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

You have to hand it to the folks at Vintage Stock Theatre for staging a play that is both nostalgic and tremendously entertaining at the same time.

Just A Ribbon is set in a rural Ontario town during the Second World War. The play revolves around the Dickson family, which lives near a German internment camp.

Trixie Dickson, played by Sarah Allen, is admonished by her grandmother, played by Gisèle Rivest, after she is discovered keeping company with a German POW in the Vintage Stock Theatre production of 'Just a Ribbon'. Fred SherwinéPhoto

The family matriarch is Jennet Mayes. She lives with her son Alex and his six children -- five daughters and one son. We find out late on in the play that his wife passed away years earlier.

The eldest of the girls, named Trixie, becomes engaged to her army boyfriend who is then deployed overseas. Before he leaves, he gives her a ribbon to wear in her hair until he returns. But as fate would have it, he is killed and she goes into a period of mourning.

At the same time, Jennet's friend Cynthia Cook decides to join the Women’s Royal Canadian Navy Service. During her basic training she meets and falls in love with a fellow sailor. Because he is superior in rank, she has to leave the navy in order for them to get married.

Trixie, meanwhile, has been seen "keeping company" with one of the German POWs. Which is to say she has been talking to him as he goes for a walk with a camp guard. It was common practice at the time for prisoners to be extended certain privileges for good behavior, including the privilege of going on walks outside the camp.

When Trixie's grandmother finds out about her walks, her grandmother loses her temper. She vehemently argues that the Germans are the enemy, and that fraternizing with the POWs is unpatriotic.

Although Trixie still wears the ribbon her deceased boyfirend gave her, she wears it differently, causing it to lose it's original meaning.

In the final scene. the timeline has advanced to 1962. Jennet and her son Alex are trimming the Christmas tree with homemade ornaments that contain pictures of the Dickson children.

During the scene we learn that Trixie and her German boyfriend, Ray, got married after the war ended and he was released from the POW camp.

After Mayes leaves the room, Alex finds the ribbon that Trixie's long deceased fiancé gave her before he went off to join the war effort. He discovers it in the box of ornaments and ties it to one of the branches on the Christmas tree as the lights fade to black.

Just A Ribbon is another wonderful production written and directed by Vintage Stock mainstay Marni Hunt-Stephens, whose attention to detail and clever script writing provides the wind in the sails of a marvelous cast that includes some incredibly talented young actresses.

Gisèle Rivest is simply superb as the grandmother, especially given the fact that she appears in 90 per cent of the play and has the lion's share of the dialogue. I also loved Doreen Guibord as Cynthia Cook, who is quickly becoming one of my favourite local actors.

The rest of the ensemble cast includes Sarah Allen as Trixie Dickson, Nik Cotter as Alex Dickson, Isabelle Strachan as Emily Dickson, Colin Seay as Willie Dickson, Nadine Hirst as Amelia Dickson, Eve Oakes as Sid Dickson, Katniss Gallinger as Alexandra Dickson. Ian McGregor as Rev. Daniels, Brenda Goulet as Gladys McNab, Katie Webb as Freda Pitfield, Ella Boileau as Betty Smythe, and Diane Morris, Pat Messier and Judy Baker as the church ladies.

The play was produced by Michael Lane and Katrina Soroka served as the stage manager.

The Vintage Stock Theatre holiday production has become an annual tradition for those who appreciate and support local amateur theatre. The company also stages a Shades of the Evening lamplight production on the grounds of the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum every spring, as well as a murder mystery dinner production in the summer.

The cast of 'Just a Ribbon' take a curtain call follwing their performance on December 8. Fred SherwinéPhoto

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

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