Familiar territory for actors

Andrew
Andrew Wagstaff
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For veteran Atlantic Canadian actors Gay Hauser and Charlie Rhindress, MacGregors Hard Ice Cream and Gas will mark a return to Ships Company Theatre. But the performance is hardly as it was when they left it.

Both were involved with the theatre in its early days.

Familiar territory for actors

For veteran Atlantic Canadian actors Gay Hauser and Charlie Rhindress, MacGregors Hard Ice Cream and Gas will mark a return to Ships Company Theatre. But the performance is hardly as it was when they left it.

Both were involved with the theatre in its early days. Hauser performed in one of its first productions, The Minas Basin Miracle Play in 1985, and several more after that. Rhindress worked his first professional theatre job at Ships Company in 1986, although it was not one of his more glamourous roles.

I was a production assistant, he said. I cleaned toilets and scraped paint off the side of the boat, but I ended up running sound on The Mystery of the Mary Celeste. That was 21 years ago and I hadnt been back since, until now.

Two years later he formed Live Bait Theatre in Sackville, N.B., and the rest is history. Throughout his 20-year career he has worked several times with Hauser, who last appeared at Ships Company 12 years ago in The Swinton Massacre.

Both are thrilled to be back and working together on the Daniel Macdonald play, which will open as the second mainstage production of the season in a gala performance on Aug. 10.

Its great to be on stage again, said Hauser, whose husband, Stephen Osler, has designed some of the companys most popular sets. Its a great crew here, and a great place to be for the summer.

Directed by Pamela Halstead, MacGregors Hard Ice Cream and Gas tells the story of a family in a small prairie town gathered for the wake of their patriarch. But this dysfunctional lot is not your regular, everyday family. Or perhaps it is.

Rhindress, who plays normal son Fred, likened the play to both the popular HBO series Six Feet Under and the Stan Rogers song Delivery Delayed.

In some ways its like Six Feet Under because its ostensibly a drama but the characters are quirky enough that its funny, he said. This isnt like slapstick, farcical funny, but the situations and the characters reactions to them are funny. The first time I heard it out loud I was surprised at how funny it was.

Hauser plays Marlene, the mother of the family, although shes not exactly the matriarchal type. She has been stifled by small town life, and by her husband and her sons, into which she has focused all of her energy.

Shes just put all her eggs in one basket, she said. But the play is about her rediscovering herself. Some truths come out, some secrets come out, and the family fixes itself.

Rhindress agreed.

Its very difficult to explain in a sentence or two,he said. But its a family coming to terms with each other.

Also appearing on stage in the production will be Natasha MacLellan in the role of Missy, and Nathan Pilon in the role of Jake. Bruce MacLennan is handling the lighting design, while Greg Simm is designing sound. Michael Fuller is the set designer.



Organizations: Ships Company, Live Bait Theatre

Geographic location: Sackville, The Swinton Massacre

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