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Storm Warning – a veteran’s story – opens January 14

January 11, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Marni Walsh

Canadian playwright Norm Foster’s Storm Warning, centred on WWII veteran Jack Forrester, was set to open around Remembrance Day at the Shelburne Curling Club, but had to be postposed due to a serious family accident.

The play has been re-cast and is back in rehearsal with local performers Danielle Marie and Josh Oatman taking on the challenge of the two-hander drama-comedy opening January 14 and running to January 22 with four performances.

This is the first full length stage production by the community-driven group of artists from Troupe-Adore.

Storm Warning is described as “the story of emotionally damaged World War Two veteran Jack Forrester and a brassy amphetamine-popping music writer named Emma Currie.

The play, which is set in 1953, tells the story of two hearts that come together one September weekend. “Two hearts which will beat differently from that weekend on.”

Troupe Adore leader – and now first time director – Sohayla Smith has worked as a singer-songwriter for over 20 years, taught music and worked as a video editor and commercial voice over actor, as well as a visual artist.

“I love poetry and writing and illustrations, and this year I began to dabble in acting,” she says. “My new-found passion for theatre developed into an interest in directing and producing.”

Both Sohayla Smith and lead actor Josh Oatman experienced Norm Foster’s work when they took part in the Tipling Stage Company’s 2016 successful production of Foster’s The Great Kooshog Lake Hollis McCauley Fishing Derby.

“I really enjoyed the character development and Foster’s dry humour,” says Sohayla. “The group read through quite a few of Foster’s scripts and decided Storm Warning was the best choice for the first theatre production for the Troupe.”

“The simplicity of a two person cast,” suited the Troupe, “as well as different story content than most of the plays you see – it’s weighty, and relevant.”

Although the timeline didn’t work out due to an unfortunate set of circumstances, Sohayla says the Troupe “decided to hold fast to the play selection and reschedule it for this January, 2017.”

The director describes the characters as “very real,” calling it a classic love story – with a twist.”

Although, unusual, Ms. Smith says it is “very relatable scenario for some, particularly to military families, or anyone suffering from drug addition, depression, PTSD, or lovelessness.”

Storm Warning leading lady Danielle Marie is an actress and singer well known to Shelburne audiences for her many roles in LP Stage Productions.

A graduate from the acting program at Guelph University, Danielle has a passion for the stage. She is a busy artist who teaches musical theatre at Dance Fuel in Shelburne and just finished performing in Oliver! at Grace Tipling and a production of Drinking Habits in Caledon.

Danielle says the character of Emma in Storm Warning “is a fascinating character because she is so honest and hides nothing from people; she is loud and unapologetic for it.”

Danielle Marie says it is a big challenge portraying a character so opposite to her own demeanour.

“I really have to step out of my comfort zone and find this part of me that can be loud and speak my mind,” she says. “Even though Emma has many flaws, she has this big heart and this light to her as she comes into Jack’s life and tries to shine a bit of her light onto his dark situation.”

Josh Oatman, who has been entertaining for twenty years, became involved in theatre in the last few years performing in several productions in Shelburne for both the Tipling Stage Company and LP Stage Productions. Most recently, he directed Troupe-Adore’s Musical Murder Mystery for Hallowe’en with great reception from the audience.

Mr. Oatman says Norm Foster’s character Jack, is “dealing with the psychological effects of  WWII, while at the same time dealing with being isolated from his family; issues that, at their core, seem rather common these days.”

He thinks “people will be able to empathize with this character.”

“Playing a character with these kinds of deep issues will be an exciting challenge,” says Josh. “The fact that there are only two characters in the production means having to memorize more lines than I’ve had to memorize before. The reward will be in seeing how the audience reacts to these characters and in knowing that we’ve put on a great production.”

“The joys are seeing it slowly come together,” adds Ms. Smith. “The set construction and design, the actors and character development, the costumes, the marketing, the teamwork that happens – and at the end of all that hard work, the play in its fruition.”

The director says this show offers something different for Shelburne audiences.

“This isn’t a musical, although there is a little singing in it,” she says. “This isn’t a comedy – and it’s not just a drama either. It’s what I call a ‘heavy weight.’ This play touches on a lot of very dark topics, but it’s also innocent in its humanity, and it has a heart – who doesn’t love a good love story?   It has moments that light up with humour, and others that move you so deeply into a dark place wherein you aren’t sure if you should breathe…

“This play will tug at your heart, it’ll move you, but, in classic Norm Foster dramedy style, there are plenty of moments for comic relief that offset the emotional weight of the character development throughout.”

Storm Warning will play at the Shelburne Curling Club, 110 O’Flynn Street, January 14th, 15th, 21st, and 22nd, 2017.

The Curling Club is a very intimate space with each performance ticketed for only about 50 audience members, “which makes the entire experience that much more personal,” says Ms. Smith.

Tickets in advance are on sale now at www.eventbrite.com .

Saturday evening shows start at 7 pm and Sunday Matinees at 2 pm and will offer a cash bar and concession stand snacks.

All proceeds to go towards Troupe-Adore’s arts and culture endeavours. For more, visit www.troupe-adore.com.

         

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