The Scarborough Players’ production of Halfway There opens Friday, Sept. 8, at the Scarborough Village Theatre.
Like the cliché, everyone seems to know everyone’s business – there are few secrets in Stewiacke. This is a fact that good friends Vi, Rita, Mary Ellen and Janine know all too well in this play be renowned Canadian playwright Norm Foster.
It is no wonder that when Sean Merrit, a heartbroken doctor from Toronto, comes to town he upsets the easy, reliable, accepted daily lives of the four women for whom 4:30 p.m. at Junior’s is sacred. Foster is at his best here as Halfway There is just that kind of lovely play: old-fashioned and truthful, warm and wise, funny and touching.
Audience members will root for everyone, longing for them to find happiness.
So what does it mean to be halfway there? Foster’s delightful, charming, and poignant comedy is about all that it could mean.
It is the actual place – Stewiacke, Nova Scotia with its claim to fame being that it is halfway between the Equator and the North Pole. Even with these impressive credentials, Stewiacke is a small town.
Being halfway there is about relationships and making commitments to each other. What do you settle for? Halfway.
The one true “there” is Junior’s at 4:30 p.m. when Vi, Mary Ellen, and Rita join Janine for coffee, gossip and friendship.
Friendship is the constant, the connection, the heart of the story.
Foster has been called Canada’s preeminent comic playwright.
In a recent interview with the Playwrights Guild of Canada, he was asked about his writing process and favourite plays.
“I have changed as a writer. My earlier plays were more about the comedy. The plays that I have written in the past decade tend to be more about the characters than the situations. And I like to think that the comedy in the later plays is smarter comedy. Still funny (I hope) but more clever. More thoughtful…Picking a favourite play for me is tough. The Melville Boys is the one that is closest to my heart because that’s the play that really opened many doors for me. It’s still the play that I am best known for. But it is not my best play. I’ve written several plays that I think are better than The Melville Boys. I think On A First Name Basis in my most intelligent play. Halfway There is my most complete play…”
For its production of Halfway There, Scarborough Players’ welcomes back director Maureen Lukie who is enjoying the opportunity to bring this play to life. Lukie directed Scarborough Players’ productions of Rabbit Hole in 2019 and Educating Rita in 2022.
Producer, Katherine Turner is delighted to welcome Kristin Chan as stage manager, supported by Ciara Crozier.
Returning to do their magic are Greg Nowlan as set designer and master carpenter, Katherine Turner finding costumes, David Eden as sound designer and Jennifer Bakker as lighting designer.
The cast includes Scarborough Players’ veteran actor, Holm Bradwell as Sean Merrit (last seen as Bluntschli in Arms and the Man) along with Coral Benzie as Janine (Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley and An Inspector Calls).
New to Scarborough Players’ for this production are Rhonda Upshaw as Vi, the wise one, Lynn Oldershaw as Rita, the wild one, and Anne McDougall as Mary Ellen, the nice one.
Halfway There is on stage from Sept. 8 to 23.
To order tickets, or for more information, visit https://theatrescarborough.com/ or call 416-267-9292.
Tickets must be purchased in advance.
The Scarborough Village Theatre is located at 3600 Kingston Rd., northeast side of Markham Road.