Warren Graham says it is difficult for community theatres to find plays incorporating a lot of characters so he’s written one just for Petrolia Community Theatre.
Dear Santa Thanks…But That’s Not Our Grandma is being staged Nov. 12 to 15 at Victoria Playhouse Petrolia – the first of the theater’s Christmas offerings.
Graham, who is a mainstay on the community theatre stage, started writing murder mysteries for dinner theatres years ago.
He also set his mind to a full-length play (Dear Santa We’ve Moved) which was staged three years ago. That, he says was quite a challenge.
“That one took me 10 years to write,” says Graham. “This one took me two. The first one, I found myself finding something funny and putting it down on a post-it-note.”
This time around Graham says his writing is more “concise” and says it’s a good family comedy.
Edna and Jake Dortmund are preparing for hectic Christmas with children leaving for a distant aunt, work problems and in-laws sleeping on the couch when not one but two granny’s unexpectedly arriving. One, says Graham, is demur and loveable, the other is outspoken, feisty and ready for anything. And she’s taking on all the family issues.
Graham says he loves working seniors into the play because “they seem to be able to get away with more in terms of humour.”
And he says they bring a different demographic to the theater. “The fact is it hits a different audience…if we have kids on the stage brings in their grandmothers, mums and dads… but now some of the older people can commiserate with the aches and pains that we have with having an older cast member,” says Graham.
The cast of 25 is in its final days of rehearsals and Graham is looking forward to seeing Dear Santa take the stage.
“It’s funny, we’re still laughing – we’ve heard the jokes a hundred times and were still laughing,” says Graham.
“The older ladies are bring more to it every night that we hadn’t seen before…I think our older audience will love it.
“We’re to the point now where we need an audience just so the kids, the younger kids, hear a laugh and know they have to wait for a moment or two to say the next laugh so the next line won’t get lost….We’re ready…we really want get on the stage.”
Dear Santa Thanks But That’s Not Our Grandma hits the stage Nov. 12 through 15 with evening performances Thursday through Saturday and a matinee Sunday. Tickets are available by calling the Victoria Playhouse Petrolia box office.