Dunnville Community Theatre returned to the spotlight in mid May with David S. Craig’s ‘Having Hope at Home’. This time around, DCT’s live production took place at Knox Presbyterian Church, transformed into an old rundown farm house, thanks to cleverly arranged theatre props.
From the moment the show began to the instant it finished, the talented performers grabbed the audience’s attention, as they brought life to their colourful characters.
We had Carolyn (as portrayed by Dana Hauser) who lives in the farmhouse with her French Canadian partner Michel (Gordon Huffman) and her bumbling grandfather Russell (Lee Smith). Carolyn & Michel are expecting their first child and have invited Carolyn’s parents Bill (Darrell Baker) and Jane (Ellie Bloomfield) to join them for dinner. The catch is that Carolyn has decided upon a home birth using a midwife, Dawn (Hailey Gibb), a revelation that rubs her father the wrong way, seeing he is a doctor and the head of obstetrics at the local hospital.
The plot thickens as Carolyn goes into labour midway through dinner. What follows is a mixture of humour and high drama, with some valuable lessons learned by the time of the baby’s arrival.
Compliments of the production’s director Jean Furlong and DCT treasurer & promotions officer Claire Vanden Pol, I attended the show with my sister Kim on May 13th. My concerns that the production was being held in a church meant we may have rigid, uncomfortable seating that would wreak havoc with my chronic pain, were quickly alleviated when I discovered the pews were completely padded… Hallelujah!
During intermission, I spoke briefly with Claire, who shared with me that they had to do some last minute blocking changes, as the church’s stage was smaller than what the rehearsal area had been. This meant that some scenes in which a few characters are supposed to be in another room, out of earshot of the others, actually took place only a few feet away. When this occurred, the actors that weren’t a part of the scene simply stood silently, somewhat like statues, and we effortlessly bought into the fact that they weren’t supposed to be seeing or hearing what we were.
This is something I always find extremely endearing about Dunnville Community Theatre. They turn minimal props into larger than life sets. Combined with the group’s mad acting skills and you have productions that move and entertain unlike any others. ‘Having Hope at Home’ was another shining example of that. Hallelujah indeed!