by Lorraine Payette, written September 12, 2013
“No great mischief if they fall”
– Findlay, J.T., “Wolfe in Scotland in the ’45 and from 1749 to 1753”
(GANANOQUE, ON) – Cold blasts of salty sea air carry the mists in and over a rugged coast as we fall back into the mind and memory of Alexander MacDonald. Alexander has come to spend some time with his brother Calum in “No Great Mischief”, a story steeped in the rich heritage of not only two men, but of a family, a clan, a province and two nations.
The stories crest and fall, crashing upon the rocks to rise again in a never ending trip through time, moving as it will, casting forward and back, skillfully interlaced with music and song. From the 1314 Battle of Bannockburn to the present day, we learn to know the MacDonalds – their sorrows, their triumphs, their joys, their doubts, their fears – and we get a new appreciation for life and love and family.
“An acclaimed saga of familial love and loss, ‘No Great Mischief’ is a bittersweet reflection on the ties that bind,” says Debbie Bennett, Marketing Manager for the Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque. “Haunted by the stories and songs of their Scottish ancestry, two brothers seek to understand and reconcile their past. Through live music, evocative movement and riveting acting, this piece uses eight actors to take us from a seedy rooming house in Toronto, to Cape Breton’s stormy shores, to the deep mines of Elliot Lake.”
The script was written by David S. Young, working from the award winning, nationally best selling novel by Alistair MacLeod.
“Paul Rainville is the only cast member who is new to this crew,” says Bennett. “All of the other actors worked together at the Tarragon Theatre in the fall of 2012. Paul has done this show in the past, as a different character.”
Included in the show are David Fox (Calum MacDonald), Daniel Giverin (Brother #1), Stephen Guy-McGrath (Brother #2), Ben Irvine (Cousin Alexander), John Koensgen (Alexander MacDonald – October 1-5), Nicola Lipman (Grandma), Jack Nicholsen (Serious Grandpa), Paul Rainville (Grampa) and R. H. Thomson (Alexander MacDonald – September 13 – 29). The play is directed by Richard Rose, who staged the first production of “No Great Mischief” at the Tarragon.
Alexander MacDonald has been double cast to be played by Thomson from September 13 – 29, and Koensgen from October 1 – 5. Gemini Award winner Thomson is well known to Canadian audiences for his portrayal of Jasper Dale in the television series “Road to Avonlea”. Other familiar faces include Fox (known as Clive Pettibone (“Road to Avonlea”) and Frank Galvin (“Being Erica”)) and Giverin (Louis Moreno on “Degrassi: The Next Generation”), as well as playhouse alumni Fox (“Quarry”) and Lipman (“Shirley Valentine”).
“‘No Great Mischief’ is a play that tells the story of the need for family, for love and for connection,” says Ashlie Corcoran, artistic director. “We’re excited to welcome an extremely talented and distinguished cast to our stage for this remount of Tarragon Theatre’s entertaining and wholly transporting play.”
The play has been shown successfully across Canada, and director Rose is delighted to be able to bring it to Gananoque and the TI Playhouse.
“It’s a story about the MacDonald clan, set in the 1960s, and deals with the younger brother, Alexander, and his older brother, Calum,” says Rose. “A lot of the play takes place with Alexander flashing back to his early childhood, often with his older brother, but also with their grandparents. Both of their parents had drowned in an ice accident, so Calum was 16 when they were lost, but Alexander was only three. He doesn’t remember the incident, but being with his brother takes him back to former days. By trying to figure out his brother’s identity, he starts to understand his own.”
“No Great Mischief” runs two hours with intermission and will change the way we look at our families, our origins and where we are heading in the future. It is a story of love and strength in the face of all the world has to throw at us.
“Everything you need to know about your family is in the old songs,” says Grandma.
“No Great Mischief” runs at the TI Playhouse, South Street, Gananoque, from September 13 – October 5. Show times are Tuesday through Saturday 8:00 pm, with matinees on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 pm (starting the Wednesday after opening night). Tickets are $32 for adults, $30 for seniors age 65+, $16 for students. Half priced preview is September 13. HST is applicable to all ticket prices. Group tickets are available at $26 – $28 each including GST. This show is recommended for people of all ages. For more information, please go to http://www.1000ialandsplayhouse.com or contact the box office at 613-382-7020.