Mike Uncorked: The Rink Faces Off in Wolfville

Mike Uncorked: The Rink Faces Off in Wolfville
By Mike Butler

If you’ve read my columns, you’ll notice that I promote a lot of community theatre projects, and why wouldn’t I? The talent in this beautiful valley is overwhelming and I love being not only a member of the local community theatre scene, but also a supporter and marketer! I know how many hundreds of hours it takes to put on a two-hour, four-performance run of a show and I want people to see it! I’ve had the pleasure of doing comedies, musicals, dramas, and childrens’ theatre, and I’ve worked in all capacities of theatre (including props, costumes and stage managing), but having this platform to talk about projects is a real highlight for me.

There’s a new show hitting the Al Whittle Theatre stage that is a perfect little comedy-drama to share with your friends and family. The Lighthouse Theatre Company, who brought you Creely Mountain Law and Marion Bridge, presents their fall offering, The Rink, a comedy, written by local playwright Allen D. Hume and directed by Brenda Ley.

The Rink begins with three former citizens of a small town returning for the funeral of an old childhood friend. The four of them were best friends when they were growing up. Having reunited, they decide that, as recent retirees, their lives aren’t over yet, and they should do something to help this town that appears to be slowly dying. They clearly have a common sense of humour that remains after that long absence. They try to combine their talents to build an outdoor rink to help rejuvenate the town and give some energy and excitement to the citizens with a common goal (no pun intended!).

Gerry, a former professional hockey player, convinces David, a retired lawyer from Toronto, and Robert, a retired engineer from Montreal, that they should combine their talents because this community was good to them when they were young. They remember the old rink as a central part of their youth so they humorously go through the process of trying to get funds and authorization to build this modern outdoor rink. They also rekindle a close friendship that started many years ago while helping to rejuvenate the community.

Writer Allen D. Hume is no stranger to the local community theatre world and was as one of the original members of CentreStage Theatre. “This play started in my mind as I watched communities over many years in the Annapolis Valley struggle to survive. I wanted to write something about this, but I wasn’t sure how I wanted to attack it. A couple of years ago I went to a funeral in the village where I grew up. The funeral was for the father of a close childhood friend of mine. I hadn’t seen him since high school as we both moved away. After the ceremony, I walked over to my friend offering my condolences. He shook my hand and looked me straight in the eye and said, “Thank you for coming today. But I must tell you that I have no idea who you are.” I burst into laughter. Then we talked for about three hours. From those two points, the play came to me with various other influences over the course of my entire life.”

I was very fortunate to have roles in Allen’s productions of Coins, The Lighthouse (where the theatre company began), Creely Mountain Law, and The Golf, Cheese and Chess Society, and I’ve been a fan of his work since my childhood, but now I get to sit back and watch other actors perform his wonderful words and it’s going to be a real treat.

The cast includes Hume, Stephen Abbass, and Robert Lee. Abbass and Hume are good friends from CentreStage days and Robert has had years of experience in community theatre as an actor and chief set-builder for past shows through Quick as a Wink Theatre in Windsor. The Rink is produced by Tracy Churchill and Maria-Jane Croft is the stage manager.

Tickets are $15.00 each and available at the door or in advance at The Box of Delights Bookshop in Wolfville. The Rink plays at the Al Whittle Theatre in Wolfville on November 30 and December 1 at 7:30pm and on December 2 at 2pm. If that time and location doesn’t work for you, then head to Margaretsville the next Saturday as The Rink plays at the Evergreen Theatre on December 9 at 7:30pm. This is a touching and hilarious production you don’t want to miss!