Prairie characters, setting comes to stage

Holly Wiberg
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Harry is stubborn and sarcastic.

The Saskatchewan rancher doesn't deal with change well and shies away from revealing his emotions. He's also fun and has a keen sense of humour.

Sound familiar?

Actor Norm Vetter admits he and Harry, the character he portrays in the play "Mending Fences," have a lot in common.

Prairie characters, setting comes to stage

Harry is stubborn and sarcastic.

The Saskatchewan rancher doesn't deal with change well and shies away from revealing his emotions. He's also fun and has a keen sense of humour.

Sound familiar?

Actor Norm Vetter admits he and Harry, the character he portrays in the play "Mending Fences," have a lot in common.

It's also likely that local audiences will recognize many of the traits in Harry.

Director Roxanne Dicke said the play, produced by the Rawlinson Centre, was chosen in part for its regional flavour.

But more importantly the play, written by Canadian Norman Foster, is a funny, accessible work with a great story, Dicke said.

First staged in 2006, "Mending Fences" is fairly new, so most people here won't have seen it elsewhere.

Those who do go to see "Mending Fences," which opens July 31 and runs until Aug. 9 at the Rawlinson Centre, might recognize more than just character traits.

Designer Stacey Beach has designed a set that could be lifted from many front rooms of 1970s and '80s era Prairie farmhouses. It includes details such as embroidered wall hangings, chrome and vinyl kitchen chairs and salt and pepper shakers shaped like grain elevators.

"Everyone knows a house like that," said Dicke, who grew up on a farm near Vermilion, Alta.

At the same time, Dicke said the set is also meant to convey the feeling of the Saskatchewan prairie.

"I wanted to get that feeling that he was out there in the open landscape."

The play tells the story of Harry, a Saskatchewan farmer whose wife and son left him 13 years ago. During the passing years, Harry, like his home stuck in 1970s decor, has changed little.

But then his son Drew, played by Doug MacAulay, returns. Now Harry has another chance but he risks repeating his mistakes of the past.

Also starring in "Mending Fences" is Kim Kuzak, who plays Gin, a woman living on a neighbouring farm. Gin, a widow, has helped Harry ease his pain but, at the same time, is also haunted by the past.

"There's redemption for each character, in a way," Dicke said.

While the play explores complex relationships, Dicke said it treats them in a way that audiences will enjoy and gets people laughing.

Vetter agrees.

"I'm expecting that the audience will enjoy the characters, situation and enjoy the humour," he said.

"I think it's just a good show."

"Mending Fences" is the first show produced by the Rawlinson Centre. Dicke said it likely won't be the last. Plans are underway to stage another play in the spring.

hwiberg@paherald.sk.ca




If you go

Showtime
Mending Fences July 31, Aug 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 at the Rawlinson Centre. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available by calling the box office at 765-1270 or toll-free at 1-866-700-arts. People can also drop by the box office, 142 12th St. W.



on stage and off

Cast
Harry: Norm Vetter
Gin: Kim Kuzak
Drew: Doug MacAulay
Crew
Director: Roxanne Dicke
Stage manager: Stephanie Link
Technical director: Nick Beach
Designer/costume and props: Stacey Beach

Organizations: Rawlinson Centre

Geographic location: Saskatchewan

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