Sam and Hilda Fluck thought they were empty-nesters.
But, like the proverbial cat, their adult kids come back, kicking off a day of hijinks sprinkled with sobering shots of reality in Hilda’s Yard, the ECHO Players’ first production of their 2017/18 season.
At the helm of the production is Kelly Barnum, a high school drama and dance teacher who’s performed with the players before, and who has directed with Bard to Broadway.
This will be her first time in the role for the ECHO Players, working on a play she suggested.
“I’m a big fan of Norm Foster,” Barnum said of the Canadian playwright who created Hilda’s Yard.
“It’s very classic Norm Foster,” she said of the play. “It’s got lots of comedy in it, but it’s also got those beautiful, poignant moments where you see the real side of family. It’s not slapstick humour from beginning to end.
“In Hilda’s Yard in particular, there are a few moments that really take the audience on a roller coaster, and I really like that about it.”
The play is set in 1956, when the elder Flucks (played by Kerry Campbell and Steve Hill) are excited to start life after raising children and have purchased their first TV just as their children, Gary and Janey (played by Cory Spence and Shaleena Faust) unexpectedly return home after Gary loses his job and Janey leaves her husband.
Some of the seriousness comes in as the details of Gary and Janey’s return are fleshed out.
This leads to some purposefully uncomfortable scenes that brings the show to another level, said Barnum.
“The trick has been having a cast that’s so willing to jump between those happy moments and those uncomfortable moments, and taking a look at what’s motivating those uncomfortable moments, what characters want in that moment, and just trying to play it truthfully,” she said.
“Hopefully that’s apparent to the audience, that these are not caricatures, these are real people going through real troubles and sometimes those moments come out funny, and sometimes they come out uncomfortable and people say things they don’t necessarily mean in the heat of the moment.”
The cast and Barnum have worked hard on those aspects, benefitting from a wealth of experience when it comes to the acting of Campbell, Hill, Faust and Ian Morton, who plays bookie Beverly Woytowich, as well as the energy of Spence and Sheriden Collyer-Valens, who plays Bobbie Jakes, Barnum said.
“The cast has just been incredible and I think the audience will really see those moments (of realness),” said Barnum.
The play runs from Oct. 12-29, and tickets are $12-$21. To purchase, contact the box office at 250-752-3522 or email email@example.com. For more info, go to www.echoplayers.ca.
Free ticket contest
The NEWS has five pairs of tickets to the ECHO Players’ Hilda’s Yard performance. Dates are Oct. 13, 18, 20, 21 and 25.
Anyone interested in winning a pair of tickets can enter by emailing The NEWS at firstname.lastname@example.org. In your email, you must include your full name, what city/town you live in, your preferred dates and your phone number.
The deadline to send in your email is Friday, Oct. 6. Winners will be contacted Tuesday, Oct. 10.