The Chemainus Theatre Festival invites audiences to come hang out in Hilda’s Yard.
CHEMAINUS, BC – The Chemainus Theatre Festival’s new production is comedy with a message. Full of heart and humour, Hilda’s Yard is a theatrical gem by Canada’s most-produced playwright Norm Foster. The acclaimed play depicts how an extraordinary day in the life of two typical, working-class empty-nesters, is interrupted by a few unexpected arrivals who turn their peaceful back yard into a hotbed of crisis. Hilda’s Yard runs October 7 to November 5. Tickets are available now at 1-800-565-7738 or chemainustheatrefestival.ca
Often noted for his gifted comedic storytelling, Foster brings a new level of complexity to his work through the presentation of family relationships in Hilda’s Yard. The curtain lifts to reveal a frumpy, lower-middle class backyard in 1956. At the family home, Sam and Hilda have finally begun to enjoy a peaceful life as empty-nesters. Their blissful nights in front of the television (and a little hanky-panky) are cut short when their unemployed son and their newly single daughter both return for an uninvited (and lengthy) stay, trailing a few surprise visitors behind them. Niceties begin to fall by the wayside as strong-wills and traditional values face-off against the traumatized and spoiled attitudes of youth. Soon, the delightfully hilarious battle between generations of the “Fluck” family begin to show a deeper story of love, work ethic, mental health, and domestic struggle.
The play poses the question of how unbreakable family ties really are. Though the play is set in a by-gone era, some stories are timeless. There are a lot of dynamics at work and this over-the-top story highlights many of the relationship and life situations we all experience to some degree.
A fabulous ensemble cast bring humour, vitality, and nostalgia to Foster’s classic characters and relatable themes. Karen Johnson-Diamond plays matriarch Hilda Fluck, a real looker in her day and a fabulous dancer who rules with a combination of sugar and iron. Brian Linds plays Sam Fluck, her husband and provider – a factory worker who has been doing the same mundane job for nearly 30 years, is ready for a cozy, quiet retirement. Ella Simon plays Janey, the couple’s seemingly fickle dreamy-eyed daughter with a deeper secret to share. Giovanni Mocibob plays Gary, the couple’s son who is out of money and on the run from a few bad decisions – along with Emma Slipp as his trombone-playing bohemian love interest Bobbi Jakes. And, Brad Austin plays bookie Beverly Woytowich who has come to collect on a debt.
The production team, including Director Mark DuMez, Set Designer Ivan Brozic, Costume Designer Sarah Plater-Findlay, Lighting Designer Lyle Franklin, Stage Manager David Baughan and Apprentice Stage Manager Koh McRadu have created an inviting retro scene that evokes an era of simplicity and wholesomeness. The familiar feeling of the backyard porch, from the funky patio furniture to the clothesline and picket fence, seems to welcome us home in an ageless way.
In 60 years, family dynamics have not changed much. Enjoy this peek over Hilda’s fence for a good natured, thoughtful story about human truths and happy endings – by one of Canada’s master playwrights. Tickets are available now for evening and matinee shows, playing October 7 to November 5, by calling the Box Office at 1-800-565-7738, or online at chemainustheatre.ca.
Show enhancements are available, and include: free “talk-backs” with the cast and crew following Wednesday performances (where more information about the play and playwright will be shared); a special show-themed dinner add-on in the contemporary Playbill Dining Room (featuring an impressive hot buffet, fresh salad bar, and tempting desserts); a full “Getaway” package at the Best Western Plus Chemainus Inn (which includes accommodations, show dinner, deluxe breakfast buffet, use of the indoor mineral pool, hot tub and fitness centre).
For tickets/more info, CLICK HERE.