Tickets are selling fast for the Chemainus Theatre Festival’s new production, Hilda’s Yard, which runs from Oct. 7 to Nov. 5.
And that’s no surprise: Hilda’s Yard is by Canada’s most-produced playwright, Norm Foster.
Full of both heart and humour, this acclaimed play shines a light on an age-old problem: what to do when the kids come back home.
Hilda’s Yard depicts an extraordinary day in the life of two working-class empty-nesters, Sam and Hilda Fluck (Brian Linds and Karen Johnson-Diamond).
Often noted for his gifted comedic storytelling, playwright Foster brings a new level of complexity as he looks at family relationships in Hilda’s Yard.
The curtain lifts to reveal a frowsy lower-middle class backyard.
The year is 1956.
The homeowners, Sam and Hilda, have finally begun to enjoy a peaceful life as empty-nesters.
Their blissful nights in front of the television, which can now be enlivened by a little hanky-panky, are cut short when their unemployed son and their newly single daughter both return for an uninvited, lengthy stay, trailing a few surprise visitors behind them.
As they come in the front door, life’s niceties slip out the back. Not unexpectedly, strong wills and traditional values face off against the traumatized and spoiled attitudes of youth.
But the audience is safe in Foster’s hands.
Soon, the battle between generations of the Fluck family begins to show all the aspects of the domestic struggle and the play questions the supposed unbreakability of family ties — all with a comedic touch.
Johnson-Diamond plays matriarch Hilda, a real looker in her day and a fabulous dancer who rules with a combination of sugar and iron.
Linds’s Sam, her husband and provider, is a factory worker who has been doing the same mundane job for nearly 30 years, and is now ready for a cozy, quiet retirement.
Ella Simon plays Janey, the seemingly fickle dreamy-eyed daughter with a deeper secret to share.
Giovanni Mocibob plays Gary, the son who is out of money and on the run from a few bad decisions. One of them is his trombone-playing bohemian love interest Bobbi Jakes, played by Emma Slipp.
But that’s not all. Brad Austin plays bookie Beverly Woytowich who has come to collect on a debt.
The production team, including director Mark DuMez, set designer Ivan Brozic, costume designer Sarah Plater-Findlay, lighting designer Lyle Franklin, stage manager David Baughan and apprentice stage manager Koh McRadu have created a scene redolent of that well-remembered era.
The back porch, the funky patio furniture, the clothesline, and the picket fence all seem to welcome the audience home, whisking away 60 years of history.
Tickets are available now for evening and matinee shows, playing Oct. 7 to Nov. 5, by calling the theatres box office at 1-800-565-7738, or online at chemainustheatre.ca.
Show enhancements are available, and include: free “talk-backs” with the cast and crew following Wednesday performances (where more information about the play and playwright will be shared).
There’s also a show-themed dinner add-on in the Playbill Dining Room or a full “getaway” package at the Best Western Plus Chemainus Inn (which includes accommodations, show dinner, deluxe breakfast buffet, use of the indoor mineral pool, hot tub and fitness centre).