A hilarious one-hour play called Maid to Order was presented in Shawville April 13 and 14 by local theatre troupe, the Pontiac Community Players (PCP). Sold-out on both evenings, the profits will go towards the Pontiac High School restoration project to update lighting, sound and add a 20-foot electronic screen to be used for both school and community movie screenings. Further improvements to seating and ventilation are planned.
Above, hapless police officers Craig Young (left) and Neil MacIntosh (right) ask the slightly-shady Charles Cambin (Richard Armitage) to explain himself.
The PCP handled the delightfully light-hearted play with their usual aplomb. Written by Matthew K. Begbie, the story takes place in a fashionable apartment in New York City in the 1940's, and revolves around two overworked maids (Holly Richardson and Heather White) coping with the sudden appearance of a long-lost brother, an overbearing mother and her self-indulgent young son and a number of misunderstandings and mistaken identities.
Spoiled young Gerald Mallinger (Connor Stephens) fails to impress Bethany (Heather White)
Pontiac2020.ca asked PCP coordinator Greg Graham a few questions about the group.
P2020: How long have the Pontiac Community Players been around and how many plays have they performed?
GG: For at least 20 years, and I'm sure over 20 plays, concerts, musicals and cabarets, including eight plays at Coronation Hall and three Christmas shows alone since I've been involved.
The unsettlingly determined Winnie Cambin (Sydney Cote) creates a new level of complication for assistant Janice (Eva Baldi), Marcy Mallinger (Bonnie Richardson) and her father Charles (Richard Armitage).
P2020: When did you take on the role of coordinator?
GG: After [founder] Joan Conrod decided to move to Ottawa, I wanted to make sure we kept this good thing we had going. So I called a meeting of interested folks, and I've been in this role of coordinator for three or four years now. We're a very informal group with very few rules - our main goal is to support local English-language theatre and to help make theatre happen! We've also made some great strategic alliances with groups such as Theatre Wakefield.
The unexpected arrival of enthusiastic travelling salesman James (Greg Graham) proves to be a headache for his sister Sarah (Holly Richardson)
P2020: What makes seeing and supporting community theatre so great?
GG: As I always say, community theatre isn't a cause of healthy communities, it is the result of them. I love seeing all these amateurs get a chance to use their skills; to improve themselves as actors, directors, and playwrights but also to help our community with all the many, many charities and causes we've supported over the years.
Bossy socialite Marcy Mallinger (Bonnie Richardson) gives orders to her trembling assistant Janice (Eva Baldi)
P2020: What was the best part about putting on Maid to Order?
GG: It was great to get community theatre back into the high school. The PCP started there when it was mostly made up of teachers and retired teachers, but had been absent for many years as the school board had let that infrastructure crumble. It has been great to see it renewed and strengthened and I'm glad to be a part of that.
Hold everything! The play comes to a tumultuous conclusion.
P2020: What is coming up next for PCP?
GG: A farce called The Amorous Ambassador coming to Coronation Hall August 22, 23, 24 and 25th. Then a performance of The Wind in the Willows as a radio play in December. We are always open to new ideas and shows so long as we have enough volunteers who want to give it a try.
P2020: Do you need more actors/readers/behind-the-sceners for upcoming productions? How should interested people get in touch?
GG: We always need more volunteers. Directors for different shows are responsible for selecting actors, but the best way to get 'on their radar' is to either come to our annual planning meeting in January, or drop an email to PontiacCommunityPlayers@gmail.com. We also have a facebook page.
Deserved applause for everyone including stage hands James Connolly and Georgia Howard, producer Anne Armitage and director Debra Stephens.