Port Dover theatre’s 35th season opens with Norm Foster classic
Photo by J.P. Antonacci, Norfolk News
Old friends reunite on the golf course in The Foursome by Canadian playwright Norm Foster.
By J.P. Antonacci
When four old friends reunite on the golf course, the results can be as heartfelt as they are hilarious. That’s the secret to The Foursome, says director Robert More, who is bringing the Norm Foster play to Port Dover’s Lighthouse Festival Theatre this week.
“It is actually a hilarious play, but it’s not about golf. It’s about the four guys – their hopes and dreams and disappointments,” More said. “There are several very moving moments in this – quite powerful, actually.”
The action follows the golf game, with 18 scenes covering the holes, and a 19th scene tying the story together as the game ends. Images from the fairways at the Norfolk Golf and Country Club will be projected onto a screen as the characters play on.
The format creates challenges for the actors, who must remember not only the emotional-filled monologues but the sporting banter at each hole, More said.
“This play is an A-game challenge to get it right,” he said.
More makes his return to Port Dover theatre after serving as LFT’s artistic director from 1994 to 2003, when he wrote Summer Garden about the famed Port Dover dance hall.
“It’s really one of the major theatrical homes for me. I have deep roots here, so of course I wanted to come back,” said the director, who currently leads Presentation House Theatre in North Vancouver.
More staged The Foursome while at LFT, but said he created the current show from a clean slate.
“It has a new cast, so it has different rhythms, a different set, a different look,” he said. “I had to do it all over again – it was great.”
One thing that hasn’t changed is More’s awareness of the play’s emotional undercurrent. “When I do any play, but especially Norm Foster, you must not just be hitting punch lines. There are punch lines, but you’ve got to do the heart and the people, and the comedy will take care of itself.”
Current artistic director Derek Ritschel – who is also acting in The Foursome after a five-year absence from the stage – invited four former artistic directors back to each direct a show during the theatre’s 35th anniversary season.
“When I pitched the reunion idea to my predecessors, they were all excited,” Ritschel said. “To me, their eagerness to return to Lighthouse says a lot about how much this theatre still means to them.”
More says he can’t walk down the street in Port Dover without falling into a conversation or 10 with old friends. That’s the kind of connection Ritchsel was hoping for when he thought to host the former artistic directors this year.
“Giving (patrons) a chance to reconnect with some important figures in the theatre’s history is a great way to celebrate Lighthouse’s 35th season,” he said.
The Foursome opens May 22 and runs until June 11. To order tickets, call 519-583-2221 or visit lighthousetheatre.com.