Lighthouse Theatre opens today (Wednesday) for its 35th anniversary season, and is looking to one of the funniest scripts written by Canada’s favourite playwright, Norm Foster, to start the 2014 playbill off with some big laughs.
Foster’s famous ode to golf, competition, and male bonding – The Foursome – opens May 21, but the foundation for the production was laid more than 20 years ago.
The Foursome features Lighthouse Artistic Director Derek Rischel in his first on-stage appearance since he took over creative control of the theatre in 2011. Joining him is his long-time friend Brad Austin, who first met Ritschel when they were both theatre students at Humber College.
The Foursome is about four friends who have fallen out of touch over the years, who get together for a round of golf. Austin says there is a connection between the plot and his relationship with Ritschel.
“I’ve never worked with Derek professionally before, so it’s nice to be in this show together after being friends for so long,” Austin said. “It only took him what, five years, to hire me?”
Austin will be recognizable to Lighthouse patrons from his role in the hit comedy Grounded, which played at Lighthouse in 2010. The actor said he’s glad to be back in Port Dover.
“Port Dover is very welcoming, and has a noticeable strength as a community that I don’t see everywhere I go,” he explained. “The community’s support for its theatre also stronger than most.”
The Dairy Bar is among Austin’s favourite Port Dover locations, and he is impressed by the expansive display of black and white photographs on the wall. “The way this town preserves its history is incredible,” he said, with obvious admiration.
Austin’s first professional job was in a play called Mark of Cain at the now-defunct Rainbow Theatre in Parry Sound. He described the experience as working with exceptional actors in a terrible play. He now works full-time on stage, television, and in film, alternating back and forth a year at a time. He says he prefers the immediacy and energy of theatre to the frequent waiting around he faces on film sets.
Austin is confident that audiences will enjoy The Foursome. “The play is hilarious, first of all,” he said. “Anyone who’s ever been golfing with three of their friends will immediately relate to the relationships. There are a lot of jokes about aging men – mid-life crises, vasectomies – all of that. The show is going to be great.”
The Foursome plays at Lighthouse Theatre from May 21 to June 11. For tickets, call 519-583-2221 or visit the Main Street box office.