Playwright Foster comes to town and brings three golfing buddies with him

Collingwood Connection

Saturday May 1, 2004

Angela McEwen, Connection Staff Writer


While some youngsters know exactly what professional direction their lives will take as an adult, some people accidentally fall into their careers. At least this is the case for well-known Canadian playwright Norm Foster. Growing up, Foster had no indication, thoughts, feelings or dreams that one day he would hold the position he does today in the theatrical world. "I didn't know what I wanted to be," said Foster. "I finally wound up working as a broadcaster in radio and only fell into playwrighting completely by accident. But, I'm glad I did. It's been a wonderful run so far." Although he was born in Newmarket and raised in Toronto, he calls Fredericton, New Brunswick his home, where he's lived for the past 22 years.

At the age of 33 he wrote his first play, and has written 30 plays so far. "I sort of stumbled into playwrighting by accident," said Foster. "I got involved in a community theatre group as an actor and just decided to try and write a play for them. And, it went from there." Currently, Foster is the most-produced playwright in the country, but has no illusions or ambitions about trying to change the world. "Number one, I want them (audience) to stay awake," he said. "Number two, I want an audience to be moved in some way, whether it be through making them laugh or touching their hearts. I want them to feel something. I am not in this profession to educate an audience or teach them a lesson about life. That would be awfully pompous of me to think I could do that." Foster attempts to mirror life and enable audiences to find reflections of themselves through the actions and words of the characters on stage. "All I hope is that my plays hold up a mirror to our lives, so that the audience looks at the characters and they say, 'Oh my God, that's me.' Or, 'I know someone just like that,'" he said.


His inspirations for stories come at all times from many different directions. "Sometimes listening to music will give me an idea," he said. "Sometimes I just sit down and try to think of an idea for a play and it will come to me." The Gayety Theatre is ending off the winter season with The Foursome, which is featuring Foster and three of his close friends and golfing buddies. "I got the idea for The Foursome from a friend as we were playing golf," said Foster. "He said, 'Somebody should write a play and set it on a golf course.' And, so I did." The play is set on the 18 tees of a golf course, and it's a comedy about four old college chums who get together for a game of golf, the day after their 25th-anniversary reunion. "During the golf game, they get caught up on what's been going on in their lives," he said. "It's a lot of laughs with a couple of more poignant moments thrown in. Golfers and non-golfers alike seem to really get a kick out of it."

Brian McKay, a veteran Canadian actor and playwright, C. David Johnson, well-known for his starring role on Street Legal and Frank McAnulty a Second City alumnus, are starring in the play, alongside Foster. "The other three actors and I are good friends and have done this show together many, many times," said Foster. "So, we're really looking forward to it." It begins at the Gayety on May 5, and runs Thursday through Sunday until May 22, with show times at 8 p.m., and matinees on Thursdays at 2 p.m. "I think it's completely thrilling for me," said Dean Hollin, artistic and managing director of the Gayety Theatre. "He's Canada's most-produced playwright. We're only the third theatre in the country to have this version of The Foursome." Foster rewrote the play so the four friends could perform it in real life, he added. "That's a real thrill for me," said Hollin. "It's a great way to end off our first year with this show." It's a hilarious comedy, and even people who don't golf or understand the game will really enjoy it, he added. For more information call 444-0333.


Brian McKay, Frank McAnulty, (seated) Norm Foster and C. David Johnson (standing) in The Foursome.