B2 Friday March 21, 2003
Foster play takes flight
No stranger to successful stage productions of Norm Foster’s romantic comedies, director Christopher McHarge says it’s important the actors convey the humanity of the piece. Not the humour.
Foster has often been hailed as Canada’s equivalent of Neil Simon. His comic plays are celebrated for their everyman characters and everyday language. But there’s more, McHarge said. “There’s a completeness and a wholeness to his work,” said the former artistic associate of Hamilton’s Theatre Aquarius and artistic director of Fergus’ Theare On The Grand. “My goal as a director is to tell his stories.”

McHarge has directed 14 Foster plays, including a couple of world premieres. His preferred mode is to, in the words of the hip-hop world, keep it real. “It’s not just that his plays are incredibly funny,” said the Hamilton native who is making his debut at Theatre In Port with Foster’s Here On The Flight Path.

“We identify with them.” “I don’t think his plays are one-liners. When the moment comes that makes us laugh, it’s a payoff, not a punchline.”

Christopher McHarge

McHarge is working with actors Alexis Koetting and Bruce Davies for Theatre In Port’s production which opens in preview tonight at the Port Mansion Dinner Theatre. “It’s the story of a man, John Cummings, whose life is changed by relationships he’s had with three women,” McHarge explained. “John is a writer who is a keen observer of life.” According to McHarge, the rehearsal period has included much discussion about the true-to-life logic behind the characters’ dialogue.

McHarge’s next directorial assignment is the world premiere of a Foster comedy, The Love List, at a new play fesitval in Ann Arbor Michigan in April. “I think he improves himself with every play he writes,” he said. “Every time he tells a story, he finds a new and interesting way to tell it."

Here On The Flight Path runs at Port Mansion until May 25’th. Performances are Wednesday to Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.. Call 905-934-0575


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