Cast, Crew overcome challenges to bring Wild Dust to stage

In stepping up to direct Central Alberta Theatre’s season-opening comedy Wild Dust, Craig Scott had to do some unusual problem solving

In stepping up to direct Central Alberta Theatre’s season-opening comedy Wild Dust, Craig Scott had to do some unusual problem solving.

Since the play by Flip Kobler is set in the wild, wild west, just before a dust storm hits, there was the matter of simulating, air-borne particles for one key, dramatic scene.

In the past, something like wheat flour would have been blown onto stage with fans to simulate whipped up dirt and sand. But with all of today’s gluten sensitivities, Scott thought he’d better reconsider, lest a few sensitive audience members were left rubbing their eyes and coughing.

A bevy of alternatives were considered before he came upon a solution: Coffee chafe. Scott said the far less allergenic material is created by grinding the shells from coffee beans into a fine powder.

“It will mean we’ll have to vacuum it out after every show…” But that’s what he’s willing to do for love of theatre.

It’s just one of several challenges the cast and crew of Wild Dust have to surmount to bring the dinner theatre production to the stage at the Quality Inn North Hill, starting next Friday, Oct. 16.

The Western is about rising tensions between townswomen — including rich snobs and saloon girls — who are thrown together before a dust storm while the men are away on a cattle drive. Unexpected complications set in when a dead body turns up and a mysterious male stranger appears — not necessarily in that order.

The cast and crew of Wild Dust have also had to figure out how to depict a dead body that has to be carted around and thrown over a bar, how to break a bottle over an actor’s head without actually causing brain damage, how to get authentic-looking 1880s costumes, and how to manoeuvre eight actors around a stage that’s only 20-feet wide.

The last one was a doosey, said Scott, who had his hands full arranging the action on a new stage that’s deeper but not as wide as last year’s, due to a dining room reconfiguration.

It’s one of several changes at the Quality Inn’s dinner theatre. Craig is admittedly more thrilled with other improvements — including better audience sight lines, a new Red-Seal chef on staff, and more varied dining options, such as different buffet meals on different nights.

He’s really looking forward to bringing Wild Dust before an audience. Scott said he loves Westerns, which remind him of the cowboy flicks he watched with his dad when he was a kid. This play has very good roles for women, added the director, who has enjoyed working with the almost exclusively female cast.

While some of the problem-solving in the production is best left to the imagination of audience members, Scott credits intrepid prop assistant Carole Forhan for coming up with an ingenious — sugary — solution to the dilemma of the “glass” bottle that needs to shatter over someone’s head.

“There’ve been a lot of challenges,” said Scott, “but it’s also been a lot of fun.”

He hopes the audience will think so too.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Rebels forward Jayden Grubbe is one of three Rebels on the NHL Central Scouting players to watch list for the 2021 NHL Draft. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Rebels seek consistency ahead of matchup with Hitmen

The Red Deer Rebels had to deal with a pang of regret… Continue reading

Quinn Mason died from an opioid overdose at the age of 23 in June 2020. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta mother whose son died from overdose advocates for ‘change’

It’s been about nine months since her son died from an overdose,… Continue reading

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Thursday that the province was ready to move forward with Phase 2A and B in the coming weeks. (Photo by Paul Taillon/Office of the Premier)
Majority of Albertans to receive first shot before June 30: Shandro

Shandro says all Albertans should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine by June 30

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw acknowledged that Friday would be one year since the first case of COVID-19 was identified in the province. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three more Red Deer COVID-19 deaths, 331 active cases in Alberta

Red Deer is down to 362 active cases of the virus

Alberta’s Jobs, Economy and Innovation Minister Doug Schweitzer spoke on Thursday by webinar to Red Deer Chamber of Commerce members. (Screenshot by Advocate staff).
Alberta’s economic diversification is already underway, says Jobs Minister

From the geothermal to the TV industry, new jobs will be created, said Doug Schweitzer

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Quebec Premier François Legault chairs a virtual news conference Thursday, March 4, 2021 in Montreal. The premiers from the left are: John Horgan, B.C.; Jason Kenney, Alberta; Scott Moe, Saskatchewan; Legault, Quebec; Brian Pallister, Manitoba; Doug Ford, Ontario; and Blaine Higgs, New Brunswick. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Premiers reiterate demand for $28-billion increase in health transfers from Ottawa

Premiers reiterate demand for $28-billion increase in health transfers from Ottawa

The Edmonton Law Courts building is shown on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. An Alberta pastor accused of holding Sunday services that violated COVID-19 rules is appealing his bail conditions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Jailed Alberta pastor should be able to lead services until his trial: lawyer

Jailed Alberta pastor should be able to lead services until his trial: lawyer

Seniors arrive for their COVID-19 vaccination at a clinic in Olympic Stadium in Montreal on March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Premiers blame Ottawa for delayed COVID-19 shots; Ontario pharmacies to offer jabs

Premiers blame Ottawa for delayed COVID-19 shots; Ontario pharmacies to offer jabs

Actors, clockwise from left, Luke Bilyk, Aislinn Paul, Alex Steeler, Melinda Shankar, Annie Clark, Jordan Todosey, Jahmil French and Munro Chambers from "Degrassi: The Next Generation," are shown at a screening event, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012, at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, N.J. Friends of French say he was a gifted 'true artist' who 'wanted to be great'THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP Photo/StarPix, Dave Allocca
Friends of Jahmil French say he was a gifted ‘true artist’ who ‘wanted to be great’

Friends of Jahmil French say he was a gifted ‘true artist’ who ‘wanted to be great’

FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, rioters storm the Capitol, in Washington. At least 10 Ohioans have been charged in connection with the deadly insurrection at the U.S Capitol after being identified through social media and surveillance footage to the FBI. The group includes people linked to the Oath Keepers militia group who have been indicted on charges that they planned and coordinated with one another in the attack. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
Capitol Police chief appeals for National Guard to stay

Capitol Police chief appeals for National Guard to stay

People gather on high ground and check for any sign of a tsunami near Whangarei, New Zealand, Friday, March 5, 2021. A powerful magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck in the ocean off the coast of New Zealand prompting thousands of people to evacuate and triggering tsunami warnings across the South Pacific. (Karena Cooper/New Zealand Herald via AP)
Powerful quake hits off New Zealand, prompting evacuations

Powerful quake hits off New Zealand, prompting evacuations

FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020 file photo, students discard food at the end of their lunch period as part of a lunch waste composting program at an elementary school in Connecticut. A United Nations report released on Thursday, March 4, 2021 estimates 17% of the food produced globally each year is wasted. That amounts to 931 million tons of food, or about double what researchers believed was being wasted a decade ago. And most of the waste — or 61% — happens in households, while food service accounts for 26% and retailers account for 13%. (Dave Zajac/Record-Journal via AP)
7% of food production globally wasted, UN report estimates

7% of food production globally wasted, UN report estimates

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wedneday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Efficacy figures of COVID-19 vaccines don’t tell the whole story: experts

Efficacy figures of COVID-19 vaccines don’t tell the whole story: experts

Most Read