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Cow Patti Theatre’s next comedy upends preconceived notions of aging, retirement

‘Doris and Ivy in the Home’ opens on March 9
Set building on two levels is happening at the Lacombe-area Tin Roof Event Centre, where Cow Patti Theatre will be staging Norm Foster’s ‘Doris and Ivy in the Home,’ starting from March 9. Contributed photo).

Cow Patti’s next comedy, Doris and Ivy in the Home, is about how life never stops surprising people — especially as they enter their golden years.

Director AnnaMarie Lea said she was drawn to this Norm Foster play about seniors at the Paradise Village retirement home, which opens on March 9 at the Tin Roof Event Centre, near Lacombe, because its main characters are so dimensional.

“They still have dreams, they still have desires. They still have passions and emotions…”

Ivy Hoffbauer is a former world-class skier from Austria, who has yet to come to terms with a catastrophe in her past. As “hoffbauering” has become sports lingo for spectacularly blowing it, Ivy wonders if this explains her three failed marriages.

Ivy’s unlikely friend, Doris Mooney, is a brash widow and retired prison guard. Doris is questioning her recent move into the Canmore retirement home, and is eager to upend the “geriatric purgatory” by bulldozing every preconceived notion of what senior living should be.

Meanwhile, their neighbour, Arthur Beecher, a former academic widower and poetry lover, wants to experience love again — and he’s got his eye on Ivy.

Lea believes Foster is Canada’s most popular playwright because he invents fascinating characters and then builds stories around them.

The plot he’s created around Doris and Ivy has a lot of heart, said Lea. It also has a lot of zingers, since the two women don’t hold back on telling it like it is: “They are pretty straight with each other… Nothing is not said,” said Lea, with a chuckle.

Two actors out of the cast of three will be reprising the same roles they played last summer when this play premiered at the Upper Canada Playhouse in Morrisburg, Ont. Debbie Collins will assume the role of Doris, while Terri Cherniack slips back into the part of Ivy.

Wally MacKinnon, who was last seen in Cow Patti’s previous play, Hurry Hard, will be playing dapper Arthur.

Lea is looking forward to opening this comedy in Central Alberta, where it will make its Western Canadian premiere. And she’s thrilled the run is already nearly 70 per cent sold out, with bus tours coming down from as far as Edmonton.

Part of the proceeds from some Doris and Ivy shows will support six local charities, including Gramma Link Africa, Kasota East Camp and The Lending Cupboard. Lea said Cow Patti last play, Hurry Hard, was the company’s biggest hit in 26 years, raising about $18,000 for charities.

For more information about Doris and Ivy in the Home, which runs to April 4 and has brunch, cabaret and dinner options, please visit

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