In a sleepy town where nothing ever happens, it’s big news when husband-killer Sadie Flynn gets off the bus with her suitcases.
Norm Foster’s comedy Sadie Flynn Comes to Big Oak is Central Alberta Theatre’s last dinner theatre production of the season. It opens on Thursday at Red Deer’s Quality Inn North Hill.
The play is about the stir a newcomer causes when she moves to a small burg after spending six years in prison.
Director Erna Soderberg said life in Big Oak is so uneventful that any novelty is appreciated — even the presence of a notorious ex-con.
The mindset of male locals seems to be, sure, Sadie plugged her cheating husband (her defence lawyer argued the gun accidentally went off — twice), but she’s also a looker. “And there’s not much to choose from” in Big Oak, said Soderberg.
Cafe owner Tom becomes one of Sadie’s admirers. He feels he can overlook her killer past if she’ll go out with him.
Although Tom’s no Casanova, he’s what passes for a ladies man in Big Oak, said Soderberg, with a chuckle.
She believes one of the funniest scenes in the play is when the cafe owner instructs his employee, Orson, on how to ask out his longtime crush, Bev.
The loud-mouth hairdresser is brash, while Orson is shy and unassuming.
Tom tries teaching Orson how to be “suave with women,” to little avail. “Tom really is no better than Orson is, but he thinks he is,” said Soderberg.
Since the director grew up in the farming community of Great Bend, near Delburne, she knows all about tiny places, where everybody knows your business and newcomers ignite curiosity.
“I like (Canadian playwright) Norm Foster and I like small towns,” so tackling the script for Sadie Flynn Comes to Big Oak was a natural choice for Soderberg.
“It made me laugh out loud when I read it online.”
She believes the audience will appreciate the comedy, too — especially when mysterious goings-on start happening in the community after Sadie’s arrival.
“There’s a bit of a mystery there,” said Soderberg, and speculation is further whipped up by town gossip, Rachel.
The five-actor cast includes a few newbies to CAT, as well as veterans, including Debra O’Brien as Sadie.
Soderberg feels Foster’s play will be relatable, not only to those familiar with life in small communities (she believes “Red Deer is a small town disguised as a bigger city. Everyone knows your stuff here”), but to people looking for significant others.
“Everyone wants to have love, marriage or a partnership,” said Soderberg, no matter what their age.
The play runs to April 19. Dinner is at 6 p.m., show is at 7:30. Sunday brunch is at 12:30 p.m., show is at 2. Tickets are $65 from the Quality Inn, North Hill.