Studio 2 comedy digs deep
Sets, characters, director score a hat trick in ‘Hockey Mom Hockey Dad’
You’d swear you had just walked into an old community rink. The atmosphere created in Studio 2 is meticulous. The banners, the scaffolding, the printed notices, the wear and the grime and the canteen! 50/50 slingers try to court you with their personalized cadence, “fiFT-AYY, fiFT-AYY.”
Before the puck drops, I have to recognize the work of Set Designer Cory Sincennes. It’s a truly immersive experience. Sound and lighting design are crucial here, as well, both to the chilly and familiar ambience and as a rimshot to gags.
“Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad” is a nifty little two-hander that toys with colloquial quirks and universal aspirations.
We, the audience, are on the ice, looking into the stands. The rarely occupied ones in the back corner. As a kid, you might have searched underneath for bottle caps to see if there’s a winner.
Matthew Campbell is a hoot, unleashed in this role as Teddy. He’s obnoxious, yet lovable; ridiculously excitable, but earnest; an unpolished character plucked right from the rink.
Minor hockey is surely the only game that had to introduce a nationwide advertising campaign telling parents to simmer down. After my time, but I think the line was “Relax, it’s just a game.”
Well, Teddy is more likely to call you a lazy wiener than to attack you in the parking lot afterwards, but he too takes it seriously - one of many parents projecting his own aspirations onto those kids. Teddy’s not all bullhorn and arm-waving, however. His comment on the music at the family skate reveals a less peg-able person.
He’s after the meek and quiet Donna, played by Bryde MacLean. She’s out of her element in the stands - or anywhere near a sheet of ice. Her feeble attempts at cheering don’t clear the boards. But she says much with her guarded, often wordless reactions, like a smile tucked into her shoulder.
The script is a tome of hockey talk that Michael Melski has imbued with experience and adoration. And director Adam Brazier has obviously had fun capturing the highlights.
For the centennial in 1973, before I ever laced my skates, a bunch of small communities in P.E.I. used their dollop of funding to build modest rinks. Like churches, they’ve had to adapt their scope of services or risk losing their congregations. But amid the cold and diesel fumes, these were once bastions of small town Canadian culture.
Under this old bottle cap, bent and discarded, is a winner.
Lennie MacPherson Set The Stage