Community players presenting spring show, a tale of secret love, a doctor who wasn’t, special brownies and a mob enforcer

Cast members perform a scene where Vinny the enforcer, played by Conrad Burns, second from right, is clotheslined by a bra strung out across the room. (Peter Lozinski/Dialy Herald)

The Prince Albert Community Players are putting on a farce. A farce, as in a play — this one involving marijuana and special brownies, a woman falling in love with a mob enforcer going after her family member, a son in trouble with the gangsters and a doctor who’s not.

All those identities come into play in Love, Lies and the Doctor’s Dilemma, which will be performed from April 4-7 at the Rivier theatre.

“It’s a farce, it’s funny and we’re having a lot of fun doing it,” said Faye Harrison, who is helping director Melody Kennedy.

She said some of the new actors have really embraced the show.

“They’re so gung-ho,” she said.

“Conrad Burns is loving being the mobster. It’s great.”

Burns isn’t the only first-timer taking to the stage for PACP’s spring show. Ben Amonson is also trying out acting for the first time. He was recruited by Cherise Robertson, who acted when she was a kid, but is now doing community theatre for the first time.

“It’s been very interesting for sure,” she said.

“I’ve met lots of neat people through it. I’ve been acting for many years (but) I haven’t done any acting on stage in a long time. I feel like I was a little rusty at first.”

At first, Robertson was worried that it would be hard to fit rehearsal into her busy schedule. But now, as the show gets closer, she doesn’t know what she’s going to do when it’s over.

“it’s been lots of fun,” she said.

“I’ve met lots of great people through it. We’re like a little family almost. We’re helping each other a lot — getting our lines down, sharing ideas when it comes to blocking and actions.”

Like Robertson, Amonson has found the cast and crew to be very supportive. He tried out for the show after looking for something to do when he was laid off.

“I always daydream or think about how awesome it would be to be a comedian or actor, something in the entertainment industry. I daydream about it enough, so why not try it?” he said.

“It’s really fun. It’s a very supportive, very good group of people.”

Robertson an Amonson spoke highly of their more experienced cast members and production team, who have shared their knowledge and talents with the newcomers.

“I feel like I’ve grown as an actress,” Robertson said.

“Especially having Gail (Enright), Bentley (Wiebe) and Ardath (Salen) here.” They’re phenomenal. Us watching them and seeing how they handle their roles, I feel like I’ve been learning.”

Amonson said it was key to helping him adjust to the new environment.

“You come in and meet a room full of strangers. You don’t know who you’re meeting,” he said.

“But everyone who has been involved in this particular production is really supportive, especially Morley (Harrison). It’s my very first role ever. I’m hoping I can deliver a solid performance because these guys have been great.”

Putting on quality shows with sometimes rookie actors has been one of PACP’s hallmarks. The group has introduced many people to the local theatre world, with some, like Mandi Hecht, and Enright, who appeared in PACP’s last show, the Odd Couple, and Warren Haley, who debuted in the Robin Hood Caper last season, going on to bigger roles with other theatre companies.

Hecht and Enright are both in Spark Theatre’s Calendar Girls, which premieres next week at the Rawlinson Centre, while Haley is starring as Watson is Odyssey Production’s Holmes and Watson.

While PACP always likes to see actors return for second shows with their company, they’re also pleased for their alumni who take on big roles in other productions.

“We are happy people have had a chance people have tried other roles that fit with them and are good for them,” Faye Harrison said.

Developing that talent is part of PACP’s mission, which is also why the group sponsors scholarships for high school students interested in behind-the-scenes work or in acting.

For now, though, the focus is on putting on a good show in April. PACP will have a brand new set, built by Hank Ethier, and is looking forward to bring the zany story to its Prince Albert audience.

“It’s hilarious,” Robertson said.

“It’s going to be so much fun to put on. I think everyone’s cheeks are going to hurt by the end of it because it’s going to be so funny.”

Tickets for Love, Lies and the Doctor’s Dilemma are on sale at Canadian Tire.

Country Comfort – March