Lisa Spencer-Cook

A play with sustenance

It can be a comfort, distraction — or even obsession. It can soothe your nerves or cause more anxiety, give sustenance or provide an empty promise of fulfilment.

It can be a comfort, distraction — or even obsession. It can soothe your nerves or cause more anxiety, give sustenance or provide an empty promise of fulfilment.

The psychology around food is complicated and contradictory, as shown in the new locally-written play Oral Fixations, which will be premiered by Ignition Theatre starting on Thursday, Oct. 9, at the Scott Block in Red Deer.

The play by Leslie Greentree and Blaine Newton touches on everything from kids’ snack preferences and nutritional nightmares, to binge eating and other disorders. “It’s funny and gut-wrenching and sad,” said director Matt Grue.

But the more weight that gets heaped on edible fare in the production, the more audience members will realize Oral Fixations isn’t really about food at all.

It’s about people and relationships, say the Red Deer playwrights.

Newton and Greentree started looking at food from different angles after noticing the way consumables are often used as a connector, bringing folks together at social gatherings.

They soon realized that kind of spread can have a less amiable flip side — it can also tear people apart when resentful relatives, who were guilted into attending family occasions, start bickering over the dinner table.

“Food is about love — except when it’s about revenge or competition, cold comfort or loss,” said Newton.

The five-actor play was written over the last three years, with guidance from the Scripts at Work program and Ignition Theatre.

It will take the audience through numerous short scenes and monologues that examine at how food cravings mask many subtexts.

“I’d be shocked if people in the audience didn’t find something they could personally latch on to,” said Grue, who’s involvement with Oral Fixations started before he was even thinking about resurrecting Ignition Theatre.

Greentree and Newton approached him about 18 months ago to ask if he would look at their new script with the idea of eventually staging the play. “We went through a workshopping process, where we were rewriting the script,” said Grue.

Acquaintances eventually heard about the project and began asking whether this meant Ignition Theatre would be returning after an absence of a couple of seasons. Grue and his partner Stephanie Ridge gradually began thinking about starting up their local professional theatre company again — and got excited about the idea.

A two-play comeback season is now planned for Ignition, which will also present The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams as a co-production with Prime Stock Theatre next spring.

And Grue said the company intends to stick around to stage other original plays in future in support of local playwrights.

Oral Fixations became the first playwriting experience for Greentree, who’s a poet and short-story writer. While her life partner, Newton, has written previous plays, he’s never co-authored one before with Greentree.

But the two describe their joint project as an enjoyable endeavour, in which ideas often flowed while doing fun things — such as vacationing in Maui a few years ago.

“We would do some writing, sit in the ocean for a while, have some mai tais — it was an absolute ball,” Greentree recalled.

The playwrights are thrilled that Grue’s innovative theatre company is staging Oral Fixations. “We’ve been huge fans of Matt and Steph for years,” said Greentree, who hopes audience members will leave the Scott Block with plenty to think about after watching the play.

“I hope people will go out later for a glass of wine, and say ‘that part was just like me,’ or “I remember when my mother once did …’ or ‘when my friend did. …’ ”

Tickets to the 7:30 p.m. shows that run Oct. 9 to 11 and 14 to 18 are $27 ($23 students/seniors) from (all Tuesday night tickets are $20).

Just Posted

Alberta hiring more paramedics and buying new ambulances, none for Red Deer

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer is not concerned the provincial government didn’t… Continue reading

‘My nightmare began again’: Close call as bus carrying Humboldt crash survivor rear-ended

CALGARY — A terrifying ordeal for Humboldt Broncos survivor Ryan Straschnitzki this… Continue reading

Halifax airport operations normalize after Boeing 747 runway overshoot

HALIFAX — The Halifax Stanfield International Airport has resumed normal operations a… Continue reading

Bentley family left without a home grateful for community support

Central Albertans are coming together to support a Bentley family left homeless… Continue reading

Red Deer RCMP ready for new mandatory alcohol screening law

Red Deer RCMP are ready to enforce a new law intended to… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer and District Kennel Club Dog Show at Westerner Park

The Red Deer and District Kennel Club is holding a dog show… Continue reading

Swath of South faces wintry mess: Snow, sleet, freezing rain

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A massive storm brought snow, sleet, and freezing rain… Continue reading

‘I killed my best friend’: Opioids’ fatal grip on mayor, pal

MOUNT CARBON, Pa. — Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old,… Continue reading

Brothers, 20, face second-degree murder charge in death of teen: police

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Police west of Toronto say two brothers have been… Continue reading

A young mayor, his friend, and a fatal attraction to opioids

MOUNT CARBON, Pa. — Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old,… Continue reading

GM fights to retain key tax credit amid plant closing plans

WASHINGTON — General Motors is fighting to retain a valuable tax credit… Continue reading

TTC union asks provincial government to step in on transition to Presto

TORONTO — The union representing transit workers in Canada’s most populous city… Continue reading

Small pot growers find roadblocks on path to microcultivation licences

Yan Boissonneault’s daughter was turning blue. Without warning, his baby had stopped… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $60 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — There was no winning ticket for the $60 million jackpot… Continue reading

Most Read