The folks behind Central Alberta Theatre are excited about launching a brand new season with Wild Dust, penned by Flip Kobler and directed by Craig Scott.
Performances run Oct. 16th-18th, 23rd-25th, 30th-31st and Nov. 1st, 5th-6th at the Quality Inn North Hill.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at 6 p.m. and curtain at 7:30 p.m.
The plot can be summed up like this – a massive dust storm is about to hit town back in the old west of the 1880s.
The men have gone to take care of the cattle leaving their women to take shelter in the solidly built saloon. But it’s a tad more complicated than that. “Tensions flare and sparks fly when society ladies are forced to take refuge with fallen women in the only safe building in town, the saloon. Now a lone cowboy stumbles in – a mysterious stranger who may or may not have a secret of his own,” reads the synopsis.
Scott, an experienced and gifted actor in his own right, has relished tackling the directing duties for this superb cast of eight women and one man. In perusing scripts, he felt it was time for a western.
“We went through about seven different scripts – a lot of them were depressing,” he explains. “They weren’t happy stories – they weren’t very fun. Western stories – when I used to watch them as a kid, were fun. My dad was the one who really liked the spaghetti westerns, Clint Eastwood type of shows and so did I.”
But Wild Dust was more appealing – it had the fun, light-hearted nature to it that Scott was looking for but still had a few dramatic punches here and there for good measure as well.
“There are lots of funny lines and lots of zingers,” he said. Also a draw was that fact there are eight women in the play. “I said that’s got to be a challenge, and it should be fun,” he chuckles.
Daniel Huss stars as Cooper, the fellow who is on the run and finds ‘refuge’ in the saloon with the ladies.
“Unlike Eastwood who would stay and challenge his (pursuers), this guy is running like crazy,” he said. “But as the play goes on, he falls in love with one of the ladies and realizes that he needs to become a man.”
Rounding out the cast are Laura Grinde as Marion, Muriah Willis as Belle, Carla Falk as Sally, Alex Taylor as Denise, Cynthia Edwards as Louise, Myra Ouellette as Gertie, Kathryn Huedepohl as ‘Hard’ Cora and Roxzane Armstrong as Rebecca.
From the start, it’s been a hoot bringing it all together. For one thing, the mix of levels of experience has been a treat – there are several new faces plus some CAT veterans which Scott has enjoyed.
There have been challenges, including finding exactly the right costumes (but they did thanks to Red Deer College) and the fact that the characters are pretty much all on stage throughout the course of the entire play. It’s a large cast to begin with, and many onstage at once demands a certain balancing act of keeping actors – who aren’t speaking in a given moment – moving and interacting with the others in a natural way. “Every night during rehearsals, I would pick something that someone had done that was subtle – that I hadn’t noticed before – and I’d say that’s what I want you (all) to do and to build into your characters – find those subtleties and make the characters your own.”
Ultimately, everything has come together beautifully, and Scott is eager to showcase the production to local audiences.
Scott also pointed out that the CAT board has voted to give one dollar of every ticket sold for the dinner theatres to a local charity. “We want to give back to the community, because they’ve given so much to us.” Funds collected from the Wild Dust will go to support the Women’s Shelter. Funds from the second show will support the Red Deer Christmas Bureau and the Red Deer Food Bank will benefit from the first show of 2016.
For tickets, call the Black Knight Inn Ticket Centre at 1-800-661-8793 or check out www.blackknightinn.ca.