'Guys in the Garage' fundraiser takes stage Oct. 26-28
BY DENNY SCOTT
Guys in the Garage will be bringing comedy and emotion to the Blyth Memorial Hall stage later this month and some financial support to the Alexandra Marine and General Hospital (AMGH).
The play, which was penned by Rob Bundy and is being directed by Blyth’s Duncan McGregor, found an appreciative crowd when it opened in Goderich in 2013 and is being remounted as a fundraising show for the hospital, running Oct. 26-28.
Duncan McGregor explained that the play, which features some well-known talent from across the area, takes place in protagonist Tommy’s garage – a magical place where Tommy and his friends drink beer (“a lot of beer, but not too much,” according to McGregor), talk hockey, play darts, face a honey-do list and banter about everything in between.
“The beauty of this play is the fact that, aside from the wonderful comedy, there are a number of individual stories that are involved,” he said in an interview with The Citizen. “Four different tales are entwined throughout the play and one character never finds out about one very important story.”
McGregor said that the audience will see this story, which he wouldn’t spoil, unfold in front of them.
“The audience knows what’s going on, Tommy knows what’s going on and his wife knows what’s going on,” he said. “Another character, however, doesn’t know and never asks because he doesn’t even know that he doesn’t know what’s going on.”
McGregor said the play is filled with unique situations like that, including one scene that led audience members at its last mounting to think the troupe behind it made an error.
“They thought we had made a mistake in an early scene, but later on it becomes apparent it was intentional,” he said. “For some people in the audience, it was a real, ‘I saw what you did there’ moment.”
Yet another tale focuses on rumour and how it can ‘fester’ into fact, McGregor said, and yet another story focuses on a young neighbour of Tommy’s, played by Shawn Van Osch, who stumbles into the garage.
The play is set in Goderich in 2013 and won’t be updated, McGregor said, because one specific incident in that year plays a big part in the plot of the play.
Bundy’s plays, McGregor said, typically deal with an inspiration at a certain level that leaves people interested in the story and how the characters play into it. This play, however, goes a bit deeper, according to its director.
“You want to know about the characters and not just what they do next,” he said. “It’s a really intriguing piece.”
McGregor said he loves working with Bundy’s work, but said this script was especially engaging, so when Phil Main, one of the actors in the production, suggested doing the play to benefit the AMGH in Goderich, it was easy to say yes.
One part of treating the play as a fundraiser was that McGregor, along with the rest of his production staff, could seek out donations from supporters that would allow them cover the costs associated with producing the play. In return, the businesses and groups that donate can look forward to being naturally referenced throughout the play, McGregor explained.
Some of the sponsors for the event include the Blyth Cowbell Brewing Company; local radio stations 101.7 The One, 94.5 Classic Rock and 104.9 The Beach, the Virtual High School in Bayfield and the Blyth Festival, which has donated the June Hill Room for rehearsals.
McGregor said other sponsors are being lined up, however he couldn’t report them until they’re finalized.
The show will reach out to a wide audience according to McGregor.
“There is a lot of action, that will reach out to men and it will also reach out to men who have tried their hands at building projects,” he said.
While men will find a comfortable atmosphere in the play, McGregor said it will appeal to women as well, specifically the wives of the men who might find themselves right at home in a garage filled with projects, other men and a beer fridge.
“It’s fun to see them see their husbands on stage,” he said. “The women have a good time, but they also discover the sensitivity and silliness that isn’t always apparent from these kinds of gathering.”
As for mounting the stage on the newly-renovated Blyth Memorial Hall stage, McGregor said he is excited to see what it has to offer from the other side of the curtain.
“I’ve looked at the stage and it looks great and I saw every production the Blyth Festival put on this year,” he said. “I loved the production values and that had a lot to do with the improvements to the theatre.”
McGregor said the renovation, which included improvements to the light and sound systems, will definitely help excite people ahead of the show.
The on-stage talent includes Bundy, Susan Carradine, Van Osch, Main, Steve Howard, Dave Siebert and Steve Cook.
Behind the scenes McGregor has had some significant help making the play a reality. Lighting is handled by Ross Barnett. The set is being designed by Dave Siebert and Sherri Milburn, the latter also being responsible for costumes and decor. Caitlin Carr is the stage manager and will be joined by Izzy Siebert as assistant stage manager.
Tickets cost $35 for adults or $25 for teenaged students and are still available for the show through the Blyth Festival box office at 1-877-862-5984 or 519-523-9300 or online at