Dinner theatre season returns.
Feast ready to lift spirits and serve the troops that have served their country
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.
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.
Summerside cast work hard on their vocals during practice: Chris Meaney, from front, left, Jessica Lewis, Jocelyn Reyome, Mitch O’Blenis, and Logan Richard.