Festival attendees in for royal treat

Poodle skirts flare while town Public Health Nurse Marcelle Doucet (Stephanie Hemmings) clutches a bottle of Stubby Orange and seamstress Cecille Janvier (Paige Brenneis) clutches the sleeve of band guitarist Serge Thibodeau (Brady Landan) and band singer Nicole Knechtel (Nicole Naughton) looks on disapprovingly. – Submitted Photo

By Morinville News Staff

Morinville – It’s a triple theatrical treat this weekend during St. Jean Baptiste Festival 2012. The Caviar Players will put on three performances of A Health Unto Her Majesty, a commissioned play written by David Haas and directed by Claudette deBruijn, both of whom have been involved with the local theatrical group for several years.

A Health Unto Her Majesty takes place in 1952 as an organizing committee struggles with last minute problems threatening the planned salute to the new, young Queen on St. Jean Baptiste Day that year. But troubles are mounting. The band engaged for the occasion has pulled out, and the seamstress has no one to help her finish the herald tunics for the schoolchildren’s pageant. Fortunately for the characters, things get sorted out as they so often do in small-town events.

Caviar has performed improvisational theatre the last two years in support of Morinville’s annual St. Jean Baptiste celebration. Festival organizers asked the community theatre group to mount a short play marking the 60th year since Queen Elizabeth II took the throne.

The group are promoting the play as a good-humoured piece of theatre, but one in which an occasional chilly wind blows as some relevant underlying realities of life need discussion. Organizers say part of the flavour of the era comes from two poodle skirts, and from vintage pop bottles used for a toast to the Queen at the end. Woven into the dialogue are insights into how Canadians related to their monarchy six decades ago.

The 35-minute play draws together a cast of seven: four female and three male actors drawn from the theatre group’s thespian resources.

A Health Unto Her Majesty will be performed at the Ray McDonald Sports Centre (arena) at both the indoor and outdoor stage. Outdoor performances are June 22 at 6:30 p.m. and June 23 at 11 a.m., following festival opening ceremonies. A final performance will be held June 22 at 3 p.m. on the indoor stage.

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