2019-2020 Season

CONFESSIONS OF A RELUCTANT CAREGIVER

CONFESSIONS OF A RELUCTANT CAREGIVER

By Merri Biechler

World Premiere
March 27, 2020 - 10, April 11, 2020
Preview March 26, 2020
Studio Theatre ATB Financial Arts Barns

Featuring: Brian Dooley and Davina Stewart
Director: Trevor Schmidt

Quotes:
“That was not the deal. That was not the plan. You dying first is not the plan. You can’t leave me with him, I’d rather be an orphan. I can’t hold his hand and bring him juice and clean up his shit and tell him he’s going to be all right. He’s not! He’s not all right! He’ll tease me and call me fat and make fun of the way I walk and talk and you can’t leave me with him. I’d rather be an orphan. I won’t do it.”

Mae, a struggling young actress, loses both of her parents to cancer. Peggy- her kind, peacemaker mother- dies of cancer in 1995. Six years later, when Mae moves back home to care for her terminally ill father, she imagines moments of reconciliation and grace. But unlike Peggy, Al does not handle the treatment with any sort of grace and Mae struggles with her role as his caregiver. As her father's health declines, his obsession with the Sci-Fi Network and creating a machine to deliver him to another dimension intensifies. Mae summons memories of her mother for guidance, and with humor and compassion strives to reach her final goal...to give her father a good death.

This moving play chronicles the writer’s experience as caregiver to her mother and father before their deaths due to cancer. Confessions of a Reluctant Caregiver has now become part of the medical school curriculum in Ohio and is performed for students every year when they study geriatrics. CONFESSIONS OF A RELUCTANT CAREGIVER demonstrates on a personal level how families transition when faced with an incurable illness and illustrates with humor and compassion the importance of having discussions that focus on palliative care, hospice, and end of life issues. This script was the winner of the Jane Chambers Student Playwriting Award and a finalist in the Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition (Alliance Theatre, Atlanta) and the Princess Grace Award in Playwriting. It has been  adapted into a feature length film. The Passageway.

Performance Dates

Thursday, March 26, 2020, 7:30PM Preview (PWYC)
Friday, March 27, 2020, 7:30PM Opening 
Saturday, March 28, 2020, 7:30PM Performance
Sunday, March 29, 2020, 2:00PM Matinee (Preshow Director’s Circle Event 1:15PM)
Sunday, March 29, 2020, 7:30PM Performance
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 7:30PM Performance (NLT 2 for 1 Ticket at the door) 
Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 7:30PM Performance (Post Show NLT Guest Speaker Salon)
Thursday, April 2, 2020, 7:30PM Performance (Post Show Actor Talk Back)
Friday, April 3, 2020, 7:30PM Performance
Saturday, April 4, 2020, 7:30PM Performance
Sunday, April 5, 2020, 2:00PM Matinee 
Sunday, April 5, 2020, 7:30PM Performance
Tuesday, April 7, 2020, 7:30PM Performance (NLT 2 for 1 Ticket at the door) 
Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 7:30PM Performance
Thursday, April 9, 2020, 7:30PM Performance 
Friday, April 10, 2020, 7:30PM Performance
Saturday, April 11, 2020, 7:30PM Closing

Season subscriptions are still available starting at $50 - $80 for all three shows in the NLT season.

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Single tickets will go on-sale by September 1st


CAST & COMPANY

Merri Biechler - Playwright

Merri Biechler

Merri is the Assistant Director of the School of Dance, Film, and Theater. She’s a playwright, actor, educator, and the Managing Director of Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble, a professional theater company located in Southeast Ohio. She is the recipient of a 2014 Boomerang Fund for Artists award. Her play Tammy Faye’s Final Audition was part of the inaugural season on Tantrum Theater. Her plays have been produced, workshopped, and read at Centenary Stage Company, Mortar Theatre Company, Foundry Theatre Works (Los Angeles), Artist’s Laboratory Theatre, and Victory Gardens Theater, among others. Her plays have received awards and placed in numerous competitions, including the Centenary Stage Company Women Playwrights Series winner; Stavis Award nominee; David Mark Cohen Award finalist; P73 Playwriting Fellowship semifinalist (twice); Clubbed Thumb biennial commission finalist; Princess Grace Award finalist; Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition finalist; WordBRIDGE Playwrights Laboratory participant (three years); Seven Devils Playwrights Conference semifinalist; and Perishable Theatre’s International Women’s Playwriting Festival finalist. She wrote movies-of-the-week for ABC Television and received her MFA in playwriting from Ohio University. As an actor, she studied with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse and at his home on the island of Bequia, West Indies. She spent 18 months with the original Off-Broadway cast of Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding, appeared in the films He Said, She Said; The Thing Called Love; and Pieces of April; and guest-starred on episodes of Judging Amy, E.R., and Murphy Brown. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Actors Equity Association, SAG/AFTRA, and is proud to call Athens County her artistic home.

CHERYL JAMESON - Daughter

CHERYL JAMESON

Cheryl is thrilled to back with Northern Light Theatre, and to be reunited with an incredible group of performers.   She was last seen at NLT in the Sterling Award winning production of "4th Graders Present: An Un-Named Love-Suicide," where she was also a Sterling Award recipient.   An Edmonton based performer,  Cheryl has had the good fortune to work with Trevor on many other productions such as; "Her Mark," "Marked," "World's Wife," (where she first met Davina) and "2 Queens and a Joker," (where she first met Brian).  Later this season, she can be seen in her company's, Whizgiggling Productions, 11th annual presentation of "The Best Little Newfoundland Christmas Pageant...Ever!"  Thank you to TnT and Justin for keeping her laughing and to you for supporting NLT!  Remember to hug your Mother and enjoy the show!

NYSSA BEAIRSTO - Stage Manager

NYSSA BEAIRSTO

Nyssa is ecstatic to be apart of this year's Northern Light's season. A graduate of the U of A stage management program, Nyssa continues to live by the rule "fake it till you make it". Some of her recent stage-management credits include: Baba Yaga (AMTC), You Are Happy (Blarney Prod.) The Invisible - Agents of Ungentlemanly Warfare (Catalyst), Matilda, A Christmas Carol, Shakespeare in Love (Citadel Theatre) Soiled Doves: A Burlesque with Boots on (Send in the Girls Burlesque), Cunning Little Vixen (Opera Nuova) Special thanks to my family for grounding me, my friends for lifting me and my partner Kia for sticking with me through every breach of sanity.

DAVE CLARKE - Sound design and original music

DAVE CLARKE

Dave is a musician, actor and writer. He has composed music and produced sound designs for theatre, film, dance and multi-media for three decades. Previous designs for Northern Light Theatre include THE CARDIAC SHADOW, WISH, SPACE/SPACE, THE ECSTATICS and 6.0 - HEAP AND PEBBLE. Other recent designs include THE COMEDY COMPANY (Shadow Theatre), MIDDLETOWN (University of Alberta), ÉLISE CONTRE L'EXTINCTION TOTALE (L'UniThéâtre), CTRL-ALT-DEL (Concrete Theatre) and THE TEMPEST (Citadel Theatre). Dave's family musical performed in English and American Sign Language, SONGS MY MOTHER NEVER SUNG ME (Concrete Theatre) premiered in Edmonton in February 2019 and received three Sterling Awards, including Outstanding Score of a Play or Musical.

 

ROY JACKSON - Lighting Design

ROY JACKSON

Roy is a Sterling Award Winning Lighting Designer (A Dybbuk for Two People – NLT) and owner of Roy Jackson Design. He has been lighting up bands, churches, schools and theatres for the past four decades. Recently he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Walterdale Theatre where he was Technical Director and Lighting Designer for many years. Roy is delighted to be working with Trevor and NLT again.

BRIAN DOOLEY - Dad (and Others)

BRIAN DOOLEY

Brian is an award winning actor and producer.  During the last 35 years  Brian has worked throughout the country and abroad in a variety of media. Trained and educated at the National Theatre School and Bishop’s University, his past performances  for Northern Light Theatre include:  Mercy of a Storm,  Do This in Memory of Me,  The Passion of Narcisse Mondoux and Flora and Fauna.   Brian recently  relocated to Montreal but continues to hold  Edmonton and its community close at heart. He draws inspiration form Victor Banda’s fervent  message: “The theatre moves, illuminates, disquiets, disturbs, lifts the spirit, reveals, provokes and violates conventions. It is a conversation shared with society. Theatre is the first art to confront emptiness, shadows and silence to make words, movement, lights and life surge forth.”

DAVINA STEWART - Mom (and Others)

DAVINA STEWART

An award winning actress and improvisor  and graduate of the U of A BFA Acting program, Davina is delighted to be back with NLT having last appeared in their productions of Summit Conference & BiFurious. An ensemble member with Teatro la Quindicina, she’s appeared in many of their productions over the past 30 years.  She’s been fortunate to work with many of Edmonton’s theatre companies including the Citadel, Mayfield Dinner Theatre, WorkshopWest Theatre, Guys In Disguise, Theatre Network, Punctuate Theatre  & Shadow Theatre. Davina is one third of the hit infotainment extravaganza Hey Ladies! now in its 12th season at the Roxy Theatre.

Trevor Schmidt - Director / Set & Costume Designer

Trevor SchmidtTrevor has been the Artistic Director of Northern Light Theatre for the past 16 years, and involved with NLT for the past 23 years as a performer, director, designer,
and playwright, as well as being a multiple Sterling award winner. He has been awarded three times for playwrighting, (THE WATERMELON GIRLS, CHANGE ROOM, and FLORA & FAWNA'S FIELD TRIP!), twice for directing (the Canadian premieres of THE 4TH GRADERS PRESENT AN UNNAMED LOVE-SUICIDE and Carol Anne Duffy's THE WORLD'S WIFE.) He received the Outstanding Fringe Performance award for the one-man show COFFEE DAD, CHICKEN MOM, AND THE FABULOUS BUDDHA BOI, penned by Nick Green, which toured to New York as part of the FRIGID FESTIVAL. His plays have been produced across Canada and far away as Australia (MABEL STARK!).  He has created and choreographed a one-woman dance piece entitled MARKED for the Expanse Dance Festival that was extended and nominated for a Sterling award for Outstanding New Work. He was honored to be awarded for Outstanding Choreography for 6.0: HOW HEAP AND PEBBLE TOOK ON THE WORLD AND WON at the Betty Mitchell Theatre Awards in Calgary, and the DIALOG Award for Excellence in Artistic Direction as part of the Mayor's Evening for the Arts in Edmonton.  He is an Artistic Associate of GUYS IN DISGUISE theatre company.

RUTH DYCK FEHDERAU - Salon Facilitator

RUTH DYCK FEHDERAURuth teaches Creative Writing and English Literature at the University of Alberta for a few months of each year. The rest of the time she travels and writes fiction and non-fiction. She lives in other cultural environments as often as possible. Her work appears in publications around the world and she has won awards for teaching, for writing, and for activism. Her recent book, The Sweet Bloods of Eeyou Istchee: Stories of Diabetes and the James Bay Cree (2017), has won or been shortlisted for seven literary awards. Her website is www.ruthdyckfehderau.com.

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