© Dave Mathieson - Amherst Daily News
Frank McShane, golf pro at the Amherst Golf Club, and Betty Douglas of the Tantramar Theatre Society have teamed up to bring the 2012 Christmas Dinner Theatre to the Amherst Golf Club. Douglas has booked the golf club banquet room for their production of Fifty Shades of Christmas.
AMHERST – The titillating, best-selling tale of sexual adventurism, Fifty Shades of Grey, is presently receiving a makeover for the Tantramar Theatre’s Christmas Dinner Theatre, which will be staged at the Amherst Golf Club.
“When I approached my playwright (Valerie Fahey) a few weeks ago about a Christmas play, she said, ‘what about a play based on the novel that everybody is reading, Fifty Shades of Grey,’ so I suggested we call it Fifty Shades of Christmas,’” said Bette Douglas of the Tantramar Theatre Society. “I have not read that series of books myself, but when I mentioned it to people leaving our brown bag lunch theatre last week (Knit Witts) they were very excited.”
The play is about a couple that is happily married and want their best friends to get together, so they give the would-be groom a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey and the story unravels from there with disastrous results.
“It’s very funny,” said Douglas.
Douglas has not read the play in its entirety but has received hints from Fahey as to what to expect.
“She wrote me Sunday night and said I will need handcuffs and a big feather for the first act.”
Douglas is thrilled that the theatre was able to book the Amherst Golf Club Banquet Room for the 2012 Christmas dinner season.
“It’s an amazing opportunity for us,” said Douglas. “The Golf Club was very receptive to the idea and I think it’s a match made in heaven.”
Golf club pro, Frank McShane, agrees.
“Bette and (her grandson) George (Douglas) are great people to work with,” said McShane. “They’ve been doing this a long time and are very professional. It’s going to be very easy for me to work with them.
“They’re professionals in theatre and I’m a professional in golf, so I’m just going to try to stay out of their way when it comes to theatre.”
The Tantramar Theatre Society lost it’s previous home, the Dominion Building in downtown Amherst, when the town’s municipal government decided to move their offices into the building.
Douglas said it’s a relief to have found a facility for their annual Christmas Dinner Theatre.
“I’m excited. I don’t know when I’ve been this excited,” said Douglas. “It was worrisome the months we didn’t know where the Christmas play was going to be because it is the major thing the theatre does during the year.
“I slept better at night knowing Tantramar had a place for Christmas.”
Asked if the golf club may be used for other Tantramar Theatre productions Douglas said, “The building is not in use while the play is running. It’s certainly a possibility that we could use it in the future but the golf club has not made any long-term commitment to Tantramar Theatre.”
The play runs from Nov. 23 to 25; Dec. 6 to 9; Dec. 13 to 16; Dec 20 to 22, and then on Jan. 5.
Douglas and McShane said banquet room would hold about 140 people per showing.
“When my decorator is done with Christmas decorations it will be amazing in here,” said Douglas. “The lobby and the dining room will be so pretty.
“I can’t tell you how energized I am by this marriage between Tantramar Theatre and the Amherst Golf Club,” she added. “It’s been a shot of energy.”