Actors with Against the Wall Theatre are delving into their first full-length show this season, a dramatic comedy called Choke.
Opening Nov. 4 at the Scott Block, the production, written by Cathleen Roostaert, explores the topic of a stroke and its impact on a family. Additional shows run Nov. 5-7 and 9-13.
Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with curtain at 8 p.m.
For the show slated for Nov. 9, it will be ‘pay what you can’ with proceeds going to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Directed by Jenna Goldade, Choke features Tanya Ryga, Steven Charlton and Paul Sutherland. Ryga, a theatre studies instructor at Red Deer College, was last seen in the Ignition Theatre production Fertile Choices.
RDC alumni Steven Charlton’s credits include Hay Fever, A Winter Tale’s Project and The Bike Heist while Paul Sutherland has been featured in such productions as It’s a Wonderful Life and The Shape of Things.
The story follows a woman named Catherine, whose video game junkie adult sons won’t leave home. Yet she couldn’t be happier.
But when she suffers a debilitating stroke the tables are turned, and her sons are forced to grow up fast.
“They all have a different story throughout which is really nice, because you get to really see all the different characters,” explains Goldade, a talented actor in her own right and also an alumnus of RDC’s theatre studies.
Sibling rivalry issues also surface as the men struggle to stay as devoted to their mother as she has been to them. Ultimately, Goldade describes Choke as being about a family’s ability to cope with their lives changing, and adjusting to a hardship that comes their way.
“It’s a great story for looking at the nature of human interaction, and the realities of how people respond to these situations.”
And even though the subject matter is weighty in many respects, Goldade said the comic elements consistently shine through.
“You laugh at the awkwardness and dysfunction of this family,” she says, adding that the plot certainly holds its poignant moments as well. “That’s why the story is so beautiful –because it’s so well-rounded. And that’s why I love it – you get everything.”
She’s also quick to praise playwright Cathleen Roostaert for her talent at capturing such a spectrum of emotion and raw human experience in the script, and with such a natural feel. “The dialogue in it doesn’t hold back.”
For Goldade, directing has always been a compelling means of self-expression.
“I’ve always wanted to create theatre,” she says. “And I love directing really great stories, something that has something to say through characters. If you have a really great character-driven piece, those are the best stories. And I think people connect with those.”
Tickets will be available at the door, and can also be reserved by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.