Photo by KIM MORTIMER                                 Heather Lawrence (Kim) and David Heikkinen (Jim), in a scene from ‘Willow Quartet.’ The Central Alberta Theatre production opens Jan. 17 at the Black Knight Inn Dinner Theatre.

Photo by KIM MORTIMER Heather Lawrence (Kim) and David Heikkinen (Jim), in a scene from ‘Willow Quartet.’ The Central Alberta Theatre production opens Jan. 17 at the Black Knight Inn Dinner Theatre.

Romance and healing are the themes of CAT’s next play, Willow Quartet

It opens Friday, Jan. 17, at the Black Knight Dinner Theatre

Romance can strike when you least expect it.

It arrives in the suave form of a symphony musician in Central Alberta Theatre’s next production, Willow Quartet, opening Friday, Jan. 17, at the Black Knight Inn Dinner Theatre.

This drama, by Canadian playwright Joan Burrows, is set in a small festival town, much like Sylvan Lake, said director Suzanne Hermary.

It’s about a couple who have separated after a family tragedy happened three years previously.

Kim has tried to move on, and has agreed to give room and board to a violinist while he’s in town for a two-week arts festival.

“He sweeps her off her feet” — much to the consternation of Kim’s estranged husband, Ben, who doesn’t like “Mr. Fancypants,” said Hermary, with a chuckle.

Although musician Jim Fleming can be a touch grandiose, he manages to help Kim heal from the loss of her and Ben’s 18-year-old son in a motorcycle accident.

“He is a catalyst for change,” said Hermary — and that‘s what’s needed, not only for Kim, but also for Ben, as well as Kim’s mother, Marjorie.

While Jim manages to ruffle some feathers, the happiness he injects into Kim’s life proves contagious. “She discovers the joy of living again …

“It’s a lovely story,“ added Hermary, who feels the actors — including Heather Lawrence (Kim), who last starred in Blood Relations — “are doing a great job of making this a beautiful piece.”

Hermary came across the play Willow Quartet while studying theatre at Sheridan College in Ontario. Hermary met the playwright, Burrows, and was won over by the honest emotions in her script.

Many marriages fall apart, even with without tragedies to surmount. Hermary hopes theatre-goers will leave this production with the understanding that striving to make better connections is what really matters in relationships.

While Willow Quartet is not a typical CAT dinner theatre comedy, she‘s hoping audiences will be open to a production that offers deeper themes to ponder.

The characters deal with some hard truths, but there are also plenty of light moments in the play. “Let’s just say it ends with everyone playing kazoos … That’s all I’m going to say,” said Hermary, with a laugh.

Willow Quartet runs from Jan. 17 –Feb. 1. Tickets are available from the Black Knight Ticket Centre.

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