Homespun wit and wisdom are at the heart of Ed’s Garage
Anyone who’s ever heard a Farmer’s Daughter joke knows that the cultural differences between the country and the city are fertile ground for humour. When rural rubs up against urban, friendly gibes seem to sprout like snap peas in springtime.
That’s where the play Ed’s Garage begins. But at its heart, this smart, good natured comedy about rural life is as thought provoking as it is laughter inducing.
Premiering September 19th at the Studio Theatre, Ed’s Garage is part of the beloved Wingfield Farm series created by Canadian humorist and playwright Dan Needles. In this installment we meet Ed Hargreaves, a retired farmer-turned-mechanic who still considers himself a farmer, for tax purposes at least. Ed has a gift for helping people solve their troubles, using what he calls “garage therapy”, the transformative power of common sense and an honest job well done. In Ed’s world, there’s no problem that can’t be talked out or tinkered away in the course of an oil change or a carburetor adjustment.
This “change your oil, change your outlook” attitude has served Ed well for years. But suddenly there’s a newcomer in his part of the world: Cassandra, a big city psychotherapist with honest-to-God credentials, has set up practice in the cottage next door. When Ed inadvertently steals one of her patients, the stage is set for a comic clash between the country and the city, and the obvious differences between Ed’s and Cassandra’s therapeutic techniques.
Award-winning theatre director and educator Carolee Mason was attracted to the play by its wonderful heart and humour, and its underlying message.
“Ed’s Garage is about folk wisdom in a stressful and changing world”, says Carolee. “The garage is a place of calm and simplicity where, as Ed asserts, ‘We fix things. And people.’ Country folk will relate to Ed’s insights, while city dwellers will discover a new way of looking at themselves. Both will find meaning beyond the stereotypes”.
A centrepiece of the show is Ed’s dissertation on the invention of the round hay bale, which he declares was the beginning of the end for the family farm. His perspectives on life are funny, sure, but they’re also wonderfully insightful. As director Mason says, “There are aspects of the play that will stay with you, for their truth, sincerity and simple brilliance.”
Ed’s Garage stars local favourites Rob Glas as Ed, plus Justin Lackey, Brent Maguire, and Natasha Lackey. Carolee Mason (with permission of her friend Dan Needles) has added on-stage characters who would otherwise be disembodied off-stage voices. She calls them “The Mechanicals”, and they visually enhance the story and the humour. These actors are David Wright, Martin Treffers, Joanna McAuley Treffers, Scott Somerville, Susan Bamber, and Jeremy Dutton.
The production team includes Technical Director/Lighting Operator Geoff Mason, Production Associate Jeremy Dutton, Costumer Hinda Goldberg, and Producer Jane Stott. Original Music is by Jack Hurd.
Ed’s Garage runs at the Studio Theatre September 19, 20, 21, 26, 27 & 28 at 7:30, and Sept. 22 & 29 at 2 pm. Advance tickets are $24 at Tickets Please (613-485-6434; ticketsplease.ca) and at the Studio Theatre box office on show nights, subject to availability. Students with ID pay just $10 at the door. Save $5 opening night. Visit studiotheatreperth.com for details about the Studio Theatre’s entire upcoming season, season passes, and Movie Nights.
Don’t miss the heart and wisdom of Ed’s Garage at the Studio Theatre. As the play says, “If you’ve got problems…” (or you’re looking for great entertainment) “…go talk to Ed.”
Ed’s Garage in rehearsal: Ed (Rob Glas) scrutinizes Peter’s (Brent Maguire) referral from the judge for anger management counselling. The show, written by Wingfield Farm creator Dan Needles, also stars Justin Lackey, Natasha Lackey, and a host of other local veteran actors. Ed’s Garage premieres at the Studio Theatre in Perth on September 19th.
Article by Paul Joyce / Photos by Len Modderman