G'day, We're from the Valley, EH!
New musical comedy has fun with contemporary Ottawa Valley life
What do elk, curling, hockey, childcare and smartphones have in common? They're all part of modern life in the Ottawa Valley today. And they are among
the subjects of comic commentary in G'day, We're from the Valley, EH!, an all-new musical comedy from Stone Fence Theatre.
While most songs and stories of the Ottawa Valley look at its past, this show is different. With a cast of experienced entertainers who have worked together on many successful shows, this show looks at contemporary life here and has a lot of fun doing so.
"People who don't live here sometimes make assumptions about rural life that don't hold up," says the company's producer, Ish Theilheimer, lead writer of the show. "When we started brainstorming about it, we came up with a lot of hilarious ideas and some things people felt strongly about."
Like many Stone Fence Theatre productions, the script was developed collaboratively with the crew. Director/actor Chantal Elie-Sernoskie and actor John Haslam both did writing for the project, and all the actors have have
contributed ideas. The cast includes Peter Brown, Phil Hoffman, Maureen McCoy Camille McLean, Ambrose Mullin, Fran Pinkerton and Robin Pinkerton as well as Elie-Sernoskie, Haslam and Theilheimer.
The show begins with the story of Killaloe's Delmer Hartwig, who won $15 million in a lottery last fall but shocked big-city reporters by delaying going to pick up his winnings until after a planned elk-hunting trip. "Delmer won a lot of
hearts with what he did," said Theilheimer, who wrote a song about him as soon as he read the news last fall. "People really identified with that. Most Valley people work hard but probably wouldn't live here if they thought money was
the most important thing in the world." The song "Delmer's Priorities" is the first song in the show.
From there, the show romps through scene after scene drawn from modern Valley life. We meet seasonally employed local contractors who have other responsibilities in winter such as watching their wives play hockey and doing
child care. We see the bonds of matrimony strained at the local curling club. The company's first rap number is a statement of Ottawa Valley pride called "Don't Get My Valley Up." The show lampoons smart phones, cheap imported junk and other so-called conviences of modern life, and even takes us to Blues Tues in Wilno 100 years from now.
"G'day..." has a smaller cast than many of the company's past efforts. "We wanted to work with a group of proven performers who really work well together, and it's great to work with them all," says Theilheimer. Peter Brown is one of the Ottawa Valley's most sought keyboard players. Phil Hoffman, of Pembroke, is a recent broadcast arts graduate in his second year with the company. Maureen McCoy is a versatile actor, comedian and singer who has worked with the
company since 2006. Camille McLean, in her third Stone Fence production, is the youngest cast member and a strong singer and actor. Comedian and story-teller Ambrose Mullin has been with the company since it was founded, as has John Haslam, who acts, sings and plays guitar in this show. Singer Fran Pinkerton is a perennial crowd favourite as is her son, actor/musician Robin Pinkerton, who is back with the company after several years of child rearing with his growing family. Director Chantal Elie-Sernoskie is back onstage, in her fourth year with the company. Theilheimer will play fiddle and bass guitar, as well as musically direct the show.
Cast members of G'day, We're from the Valley, EH!:
Maureen McCoy, Ambrose Mullin, Chantal Elie-Sernoskie, Robin Pinkerton,
Fran Pinkerton, Phil Hoffman, John Haslam, Ish Theilheimer, Camilee McLean.
Also in the cast is Peter Brown.
A new feature this year at Stone Fence Theatre is that a different young performer or group of young performers will enertain before each show. The Stone Fence Theatre website includes a schedule of young perfomers so customers can choose which young artists they want to see and hear.The show will be performed in more Ottawa Valley locations than Stone Fence Theatre has ever visited before, including its home base in Eganville, as well as Rankin, Barry's Bay, Killaloe, Pembroke, Cobden and Renfrew. The company purchased new sound and lighting equipment this year that will enable it to travel more easily and provide better sound quality and viewing in all the locations it visits.
|Collaborators Ish Theilheimer and Peter Brown plan arrangements at the keyboard.|