The Cow Patti Theatre Company is kicking of its 24th season with Canadian Norm Foster’s The Great Kooshog Lake Hollis McCauley Fishing Derby.
The Lacombe theatre company has produced several of Foster’s plays, and owner AnnaMarie Lea, who plays Rhonda in the show, said she was thrilled to be able to bring this show to central Alberta.
Linda Goranson, who plays Sienna, and Lea were both in the play at Ontario’s Upper Canada Playhouse. It was produced by Donnie Bowes, who has come out to Alberta to direct the show at Cow Patti as well.
“Donnie has been very involved with Cow Patti, not just in Alberta, but also when we produced in Ontario. I am absolutely thrilled when he agrees to come and direct a show. He is my mentor,” Lea said.
All the actors in this year’s production will seem familiar to Cow Patti regulars. Brian Young, who plays Kirk Douglas, and Goranson have been in several productions.
Liam Collins, who plays James Bell, was in both of Cow Patti’s productions last year. Ali Mackay, who plays Melanie, was part of the company when it produced The Butler Did It.
Lea guarantees the audience will get a laugh out of this play.
“When I was in the show, I enjoyed being in it so much and I observed how the audience reacted. That was the key factor for me. I love producing Norm’s works and I think people love his shows,” she said.
Goranson admires the way Foster writes the script.
“The rhythms in his language are so beautiful. If you get the lines memorized, there is like a flow that is almost musical. He is just amazing,” she said.
Bowes said Foster is Canada’s premier playwright because he is relatable and writes about small towns in Canada. This play is no different, he said.
“He always develops interesting, funny characters, and this play’s premise is ridiculous. There is a derby every year to hunt for this famous fish that was called Hollis McCauley, because someone in town saw him and thought he looked like a guy in town,” he said.
“A stranger arrives in town and gets roped into enjoying the fishing derby. The stranger who Liam plays is a visitor from Toronto whose car breaks down.”
Lea said Foster epitomizes what she is trying to do at Cow Patti.
“I don’t produce theatre to really make people get deep. I think our job is to make people have a really good time and forget about real-world problems,” she said, adding that as an actor, Foster is a wonderful writer to work with.
“I love the way he writes women’s roles. I have been in a lot of his shows over the years and they are real. You can really identify with them and he lets you go that extra step with them. They are well-rounded,” she said.
The Great Kooshog Lake Hollis McCauley Fishing Derby runs from Nov. 8 to Dec. 15 at the Lacombe Golf and Country Club. More information and tickets can be found at www.cowpatti.com.
Cow Patti’s next show, Lunenburg, will run from March 12 to April 5, 2020.