Din­ner the­atre sea­son re­turns.

Feast ready to lift spir­its and serve the troops that have served their coun­try

Journal Pioneer - - PRINCE COUNTY -

It’s al­ways fright­ful, and never de­light­ful, when un­der cross­fire. And, al­though there may not be a speck of snow, two Mar­itime en­ter­tain­ers are ready to lighten the mood in a deadly sit­u­a­tion and bring smiles to the troops with their hol­i­day cheer.

Get ready for pow­er­ful mu­si­cal scores, breezy mono­logues, and tight hu­mour that mixes the top­i­cal with fan­tas­tic in the lat­est Feast Din­ner The­atre mu­si­cal com­edy called ‘Twas the Night: Christ­mas in Kan­da­har’, which ex­tends the warmth of home to the heart of troops sta­tioned over­seas.

Mitch O’Ble­nis, who plays Cap­tain Grady, found small pieces of his own per­son­al­ity in­side his char­ac­ter.

“Cap­tain Grady is ex­cited and ner­vous be­cause his wife is preg­nant with their first child. She’s sup­posed to be hav­ing the baby over the hol­i­days, and he’s ex­cited to be get­ting this Christ­mas party over with, so he can fly home and be there for the birth,” shared O’Ble­nis, who is back for his sixth show with Feast.

“But I be­lieve I was given this char­ac­ter to play be­cause cur­rently I’m ex­pect­ing my first child. I can fully re­late to how Grady feels: Ter­ri­fied, ex­cited, joy­ous, and ill, all at the same time. These emo­tions come from stepping into a world you know noth­ing about, but Grady still has to or­ches­trate the whole event.”

With di­rec­tion and im­pec­ca­ble mil­i­tary re­search, the pro­duc­tion not only cel­e­brates the mile­stone mark of 40 suc­cess­ful sea­sons for Feast Din­ner The­atres but, co­in­cides with the 100th an­niver­sary of the First World War. “This is a mu­si­cal com­edy, but the First and Sec­ond World War is a huge part of our his­tory and we pay ho­mage to this past,” ac­knowl­edged play­wright Sher­riLee Pike.

And when no more words can be said, Adam Mac­Gre­gor, the mu­si­cal di­rec­tor, will carry on the jour­ney with uplift­ing and pow­er­ful mu­si­cal num­bers. “It’s been a huge un­der­tak­ing try­ing to com­bine com­edy with mu­sic, war, and Christ­mas. But we’ve man­aged to cap­ture the emo­tions, venue, and chal­lenges of be­ing in a war­zone, through a di­verse range of mu­sic,” he said. One of the songs per­formed is ‘We’ll Meet Again,’ which was writ­ten in the 1930s and res­onates with sol­diers go­ing off to fight, while leav­ing be­hind fam­i­lies and loved ones. The lyrics con­veyed to those at the time a pow­er­ful and op­ti­mistic mes­sage of re­unit­ing ei­ther at home or in heaven.

“I’m try­ing to tread that line of be­ing true to the emo­tional im­pact at that point. We don’t want peo­ple to leave de­pressed, but we want to try and con­vey what these sol­diers are go­ing through,” ac­knowl­edged Mac­Gre­gor.

“When I’m choos­ing mu­sic I’m look­ing for the right mood, the right feel, some­times it’s lyri­cal and more of­ten than not it’s the melody that con­veys this emo­tion. You’re al­ways try­ing to make a mood in the room – whether it’s uplift­ing, brought down or silly – this all comes down to the melody and tempo.” A multi-tal­ented cast have been hand­picked to en­ter­tain, as well as pay trib­ute to the troops.

“They all play mul­ti­ply in­stru­ments, can sing, dance, and can do a lot of ev­ery­thing, so that’s the beauty of hav­ing a tal­ented cast be­cause what­ever I can dream up they can do and ex­cel at it,” he con­cluded.

The Christ­mas party takes place in a mess hall and fea­tures a tra­di­tional Christ­mas buf­fet, com­plete with oven-roasted tur­key, ham, stuff­ing, pota­toes, veg­eta­bles, salad, fol­lowed by a de­li­cious dessert. Sum­mer­side’s Brother’s Two Restau­rant, lo­cated at 618 Wa­ter Street, kicks off the show on Satur­day, Nov. 17. The Rodd Char­lot­te­town Ho­tel, on 75 Kent Street, starts the fol­low­ing week on Fri­day Nov. 23, with a pre­view on Thurs­day 22. The Rodd Mi­ramichi River, NB., be­gins on Tues­day, Dec. 4.

Shows are on se­lect dates, see www.feast­din­nerthe­atres.com for more de­tails. To book tick­ets call 902-436-7674.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

Adam Mac­Gre­gor, the mu­si­cal di­rec­tor of the lat­est Feast Din­ner The­atre pro­duc­tion, will carry on the jour­ney when no more words can be said with the use of uplift­ing and pow­er­ful mu­si­cal num­bers.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

Sum­mer­side cast work hard on their vo­cals dur­ing prac­tice: Chris Meaney, from front, left, Jes­sica Lewis, Jo­ce­lyn Rey­ome, Mitch O’Ble­nis, and Lo­gan Richard.

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