Dewdney Players’ men invoke mixed emotions
Wednesday, Nov 06, 2013 08:23 am
An Okotoks acupuncturist is taking a unique approach to healing this month.
Healing Elements owner Jared McCollum is using an initiative not taught at the Canadian College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. He is trying healing through laughter.
McCollum plays a new age faddist in this month’s Dewdney Players Group comedy “The Wild Guys” about four men who embark on a camping retreat and end up getting lost. The play also stars Okotokian Brad Fowler and Calgarians Brad Snowden and Jerod Blake.
Some people may think McCollum’s role as Robin required little effort, but McCollum admitted while there are similarities between himself and his character — both know a thing or two about meditation — there are also differences.
“He is afraid of women — he doesn’t know how to approach them,” he said. “It’s interesting playing someone who is afraid of women because I’m not at all. He’s a lost person where I find I’m quite found.”
The group’s guide Stewart (played by Blake) gets the men lost. To make matters worse, Robin, who was responsible for bringing food, decides the men can revert back to their role as hunters and gatherers.
This annoys articulate lawyer Randall (played by Snowden), who signed up to avoid running in a triathlon with his much-younger girlfriend. Meanwhile, Andy (played by Fowler) unsuccessfully tries to keep the peace with his annoying intellectualizing.
McCollum’s character, who thinks he has all the answers, comes to his own realizations throughout the play.
“He spends all this money on these courses, but he still doesn’t know who he is,” he said. “He judges everyone else. He’s very sincere in everything he says and really thinks he’s helping everyone, but in doing that he’s really annoying.”
McCollum said each character adds a unique element to the story, making it both hilarious and emotional.
“It’s very up and down, meaningful and intense at one moment to these slapstick funny comments out of this world stuff,” said McCollum. “It’s a very well written play.”
“The Wild Guys” addresses issues faced by men including trying to find out what it is to be a man in today’s society, said McCollum.
“These guys are confused about the role they are playing in this world,” he said.
Fowler said the seriousness of some parts of the story makes it an emotional experience.
“To me it’s very touching because of that transition that these men go through throughout the show,” he said. “The script is very intelligently done. It’s a comedy but there is some really touching moments as well.”
Fowler said he enjoys the progression of the characters throughout the play.
“The intention is to go out and have a great weekend and a whole bunch of things happen that aren’t planned,” he said. “These guys are trying to cope with what’s going on. The characters are different people at the beginning of the show than they are at the end of the show.”
Andy is a bookworm who loves to use big words and share his knowledge, much to the frustration of the other men. Fowler said this was not an easy role to play.
“His jargon isn’t my jargon,” he said.
“The lines are really complicated and trying to make them sound natural is a real challenge for me.”
While Andy tends to annoy the other guys, Fowler said he is genuine in his desire to help them learn and grow to be better men.
“A lot of these guys are trying to figure out women and being very candid about that,” he said. “They’re struggling to find a man’s role in society today. It’s probably one of the best shows I’ve ever been in.”
Producer Jane Platt said “The Wild Guys” brings a unique element to the Dewdney Players Group stage in more ways than one.
“I don’t think we’ve ever done a play with all males at all so it’s new,” she said. “It’s such a small cast. The last play we did was a cast of 11. Now we are down to a cast of four.”
When it came to September’s audition, Platt said it wasn’t difficult to determine who fit which role, despite 10 men vying for four positions. When it came time for the producer, director and stage manager to decide they were in immediate agreement, she said.
“When we had the auditions you see people as they audition who fit with that role,” she said. “The choices we made are the right ones.”
The cast and crew are doing well to build their characters and their relationships with each other with each passing week, Platt said.
“It is a comedy from start to finish because they are so different, the four men,” she said. “They really gel well and bounce off each other.”
Because the dialogue does contain some profanity, the play is not suitable for young children.
The Dewdney Players Group is bringing “The Wild Guys” to stage at the Rotary Performing Arts Centre on Nov. 15, 16, 21-23 and 28-30 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets cost $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. To purchase a ticket call Jane Platt at 403-995-5778 or email firstname.lastname@example.org