Odyssey comedy highlights humour of rural life

Cast and crew of Odyssey Productions latest play Dogbarked will appear beginning Wednesday night at the Prince Albert Wildlife Federation. Top row: Noland Fehr (Roland), Matt Derworiz (director), Dave Mulgrew (Leo) Bottom Row: Patty Hudye-Koroluk (Gloria) and Elliott Byers (Baxter). Photo by Jessica Gies/Herald contributor.

Jessica Gies/Herald Contributor

The latest Odyssey Productions play set to hit a Prince Albert stage this Wednesday is sure to resonate with an audience of prairie dwellers.

A comedy based on the life of two brothers from a dying rural Saskatchewan town, the witty storyline is full of light-hearted jokes that poke fun of Saskatchewan stereotypes, according to cast members.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Byers, who plays the older brother Baxter.

“Everyone can relate to Baxter,” he said, adding that his character is a “typical small town guy.”

“He’s passionate about a bunch of things, one of them being beer.”

As Byers explained, Baxter aspires to grow Dogbarked into something greater, hoping his young brother Roland will build the dream with him.

Meanwhile Roland (Nolan Fehr), wrestles with the reality that small town Saskatchewan doesn’t offer all the things he wants for his life.

“The current state of Dogbarked, it doesn’t align with my goals,” Fehr explained.  

“I’m trying to broaden my horizons and feel more connected to other folks.”

While working on their plans and drinking beer to help with inspiration, the brothers’ lives are interrupted by a pair of Torontonians, whose car breaks down near Dogbarked on their way to Vancouver. Big city culture collides with country customs as Gloria (Patty Hudye-Koroluk) and Leo (Dave Mulgrew), are forced to ask the brothers for help.

Elliott Byers (left), who plays Baxter in the upcoming Odyssey Productions play Dogbarked, rehearses opposite co-star Dave Mulgrew, who plays Leo. Photo by Jessica Gies/Herald contributor.

Described by co-stars as a “grumpy” TV producer, Leo is initially disliked by the brothers.

“I’m from the big city, but to me, they’re a bunch of hicks,” Mulgrew said, adding that his character is arrogant, considering himself higher than the simple country farmers.

Leo ultimately gains the brothers’ affection because, as a beer company promoter, he is able to supply the Baxter and Roland with well-received refreshments.

Hudye-Koroluk describes her character as a big city girl that enjoys the small-town scenery of Dogbarked, but her aspirations of one day becoming a TV producer herself keep her focused on larger centre life. Originally from Kamsack, Sask., the actress believes audiences from Prince Albert area will both relate to the story and appreciate its comedy. 

Matt Derworiz, director of the play admits there’s a bit of a “corner gas vibe” to the play, but the script written by James O’Shea is original.

“Baxter and Roland, the good ol’ boys from Saskatchewan, are their own beast,” he said.

Dogbarked begins Wednesday night with a show-only production at the Prince Albert Wildlife Federation. Dinner shows will run Thursday through Saturday nights, featuring food from Kilarney Kastle.  

The Dogbarked cast and crew will also take the show on the road following this week’s performances, travelling on April 23 to TheatreFest in North Battleford.

Tickets for the Prince Albert productions are available through Odyssey’s website, www.odysseyproductions.ca.