The Lodge: A Comedy by Mary Hamilton
By Zoë Dupley
Mount Baker’s Wild Theatre students are hard at work on their latest project: The Lodge.
A unique and enticing experience, The Lodge is the first play put on by Mount Baker Theatre that is written and directed by the same person.
“I feel fortunate to work with this group of actors on this play,” said theatre director Mary Hamilton. “I’ve written plays before, but haven’t had one produced. I am flattered that they dove into this and are putting in so much effort. It’s an honour.”
Hamilton wanted to experiment with Cranbrook’s local culture and portray a myriad of character-types on stage.
“The goals of this production are to train actors, give students a place to belong, and provide entertainment to the community,” Hamilton said.
The Lodge is set in the wilderness of the Canadian Rockies, a few hours’ drive from Calgary. Marla Jackson and her daughter Crystal are set for the grand opening of their rustic lodge. As guests arrive, things begin to go sideways. Queue a granny gang, a bear fight-scene, a cursed treasure, and you’ve got the making of a comedy that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Presley Armstrong, Grade 12, said that her experience with the play has been different from other productions Mount Baker has put on.
“It’s been a unique experience this time around,” said Armstrong. “It’s written by Mrs. Hamilton, which is cool in itself, but it’s not your standard Beauty and the Beast.”
Armstrong described her character, Kate Budd, as tacky and flamboyant.
“She is pretty peaceful and hippy-like, but she is also just nuts.”
She described the play as organized chaos. The parts that don’t fit together initially, come together at the end to form a beautiful story around a mother and her daughter.
Jasmine Beaulac, Grade 12, and Cedar Gross, Grade 11, play two of the main characters in the production. Both students agree on the strength of the cast’s dynamics.
“I’ve really enjoyed it so far,” said Beaulac. “The way the group works together and plays off of each other has been really great.”
Marla is the owner of the Lodge, who is a perfectionist. This causes a lot of stress as she wants to make a perfect life for her daughter, Crystal.
Gross described his character as an average Canadian.
“He is also sneaky and clever,” said Gross. “Luke is good at getting people to do what he wants without them knowing. But he has a weakness when it comes to Marla.”
“I think the play has something for everyone,” said Beaulac, “because there is humour, drama, and romance. Even if theatre isn’t your thing, there will still be something in it that you’ll enjoy.”
Will Thomson, Grade 11, who plays Big Frank, said that people should come and see this play because it’s about different people’s visions coming together onstage.
“It’s interesting, and very entertaining,” Thomson said. “It’s for everybody. People of all ages can come and enjoy it, but kids who are a little older will be able to understand a few more of the jokes.”
TJ Moulton, Grade 11, plays Toby, who is a servant to Big Frank. He said that since the beginning of rehearsals, the actors have progressively grown, and become a family.
“Toby is shy in a sense, and he is very reserved,” Moulton said. “There is a rivalry that goes on between him and another character, Willy, and that really amps up his story line.”
“People should come and see it because it is a brand-new play. It’s never been performed before, and Mrs. Hamilton has done an amazing job.”
The Lodge runs from Nov. 23-25, starting at 7:30 p.m. There will also be a matinee at 2:30 p.m. the following day, on Nov. 26. Student Rush Night is Nov. 25. All shows are at Key City Theatre.
Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for students and seniors, and $10 for children 12 and under.
Tickets are available at the Key City box office, 250-426-7006, or visit their website at www.keycitytheatre.com.
Lead image: Presley Armstrong performs in Mount Baker Wild Theatre’s The Lodge. Photos by Zoë Dupley