Fore! Attention all golfers! You are going to love Theatre Tillsonburg’s next production of Norm Foster’s The Foursome. Non-golfers are going to love it too, not just because it is Norm Foster but because you will finally find out why people like to golf!
I loved golfing. I came to the game late, having had to marry into it, but loved playing. Not being a competitive person, I didn’t care what my score was. I smacked that ball and most times got to go into the bush after it. That was the best part! I found pretty blue egg shells; beautiful stones; uniquely shaped pieces of wood and other assorted treasures. I got exercise walking in the fresh air, in a beautiful setting. It is a shame that I can no longer play without ending up in traction!
When asked to design 18 tees on stage (where you hit the ball the first time at each hole), I suggested to Melanie Watts, the director, that the audience just follow the actors around a golf course. I forgot it was the February show, which is too bad. Most productions of The Foursome have one or two tee areas and must rely on an imaginative audience. Instead, we used our imagination to give you multiple tee areas and you even get the dreaded pond – where all good golf balls long to live. But, your imaginations are definitely still needed!
The story is about four guys who have returned to town for their 25th university reunion and decide to reminisce about their past and catch up to their present lives as they go around the course. Everyone knows four guys like this: Rick (played by Dave Deelen), the handsome jock, who never really got anywhere out of university... Donnie (John Allen), the not so handsome guy that didn’t stand out in school but is now happily married, enjoys his children and content with life... the salesman, Cameron (Dave Sandor) who can pump up and sell anything, but really doesn’t have much of a life, and little taste in clothes... and Ted (Jason Leighfield) the guy who seems to have everything including a second, very young wife, but seems to have to drink a lot.
Like all Norm Foster plays, through comedy, we get to know the guys in the first act. During the first nine holes they renew their acquaintances, and tease each other about their past and presents. Through the last nine holes, in the second act, we see the personalities and problems in their lives surfacing. Confessions abound, age old rivalries are renewed, and life’s truths are teed up in front of them to be dealt with.
These four guys are not the purest, however the language and content are much milder than what I expected by Norm Foster. The show actually opens with a prayer… a golfer’s prayer, which sets the overall comic mood: “Our Father, who art in Augusta,” it starts, continuing later with, “forgive us our gimmies, as we forgive those who gimmie against us.”
The Foursome will be entered into the Western Ontario Drama League Festival. From September to February, shows are adjudicated by WODL, most for ‘Out of Festival,' which means in their own building. Some are adjudicated for ‘IN Festival’ which means, if picked the show will be moved (to Windsor this year), where it has a very limited number of hours to be set up, performed, adjudicated, and struck so the next group can do it. Theatre Tillsonburg has attempted to go In Festival before, but never made it.
Over the years, if you watch what plays go to Festival, you will find it is more often the dramas, not comedies. Another consideration when entering is the set, which we have to disassemble and move. The Foursome, however, for Theatre Tillsonburg, is an excellent choice as it takes place on a golf course, with no flats (walls) and only a few risers. It would be easier to move this set than many others.
If you are interested, the adjudication night is Friday, February 7th and we would love your support. The audience is invited to stay for a public adjudication, after which the cast and crew get a more in-depth critique. This is an excellent way for cast and crew and the group to learn and grow.
Melanie Watts, the director, should win an award for surviving with the four men she cast, as these guys are normally wild and crazy. Don Fonk is producer and Sheila Tripp is overseeing both costumes and props as there are very little needed in this play. I designed the set and Peter was in charge of construction which in this show was finding and moving risers, curtains and ramps, while Pat Linn’s big job as set décor was making a stage look like a golf course. Frank Hopkins designed and set the lights, and a brand new member, Stephen Brown, will run them during the show. In charge of all this chaos is Stage Manager Janet Orr.
Theatre Tillsonburg gets no government funding, our shows must make a profit to keep us and our building going. We could not do it without the generosity of our sponsors, who, for The Foursome, are appropriately: The Thirsty Golfer; golfers Mayor John and Liz Lessif; as well as Rick’s Carpet. Special thanks are extended also to Tillsonview Golf Course and Mount Elgin Golf Club.
Get your tickets now! The Foursome opens at the Otter Valley Playhouse at 144789 Potters Road, from Feb. 6-9th and 13-16th with curtain at 8 p.m. except for the 2 p.m. Sunday matinees.
Call the Box Office at 519-688-3026 or our wonderful partners, the Station Arts Centre at 519-688-3043. Adult tickets are $17, students and senior $15.