• James Armstrong

A lunch or dinner date with Hudson’s Phoebe Hyde: your choice


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

Theatre Panache’s production of Phoebe’s Gift by Bonnie Laing is the story of Phoebe Nobbs MacKellar Hyde the last owner of Greenwood. Phoebe’s memorable character with her family and friends is brought to life by a local director and actors. (Left to right) Cast members Susan Gilmore, John Sheridan and Irene Osprey chat with director Mary Vuorela (second from left) on the verandah of Greenwood in Hudson.

Theatre Panache’s upcoming production of Phoebe’s Gift by Bonnie Laing is offering a choice of a catered lunch or dinner to enjoy while you take in the period-piece production.

“It’s about 90 minutes long and we are going to have the meal followed by the first act, then dessert followed by act two, “ said Heather Markgraf-Lowe, artistic director of Theatre Panache.

Phoebe Hyde and Greenwood Centre for Living History

The main character of Laing’s play is Phoebe Hyde who, on her demise in 1994, donated her family home known as Greenwood to become a living history museum. “The play is based on a lot of research done by Bonnie Laing,” said Markgraf-Lowe. Director Mary Vuorela concurred. “She (Hyde) kept all her letters and diaries, travel diaries and Greenwood was her home.”

Irene Osprey portrays Phoebe Nobbs MacKellar Hyde, a memorable, multi-faceted woman born in 1910, in this production.

“I’m the constant in the play. I’m always talking,” said Osprey with a laugh. “The others are always changing and they have to do it quickly.” Indeed, the rest of the cast, David Anderson, Susan Gilmore, Katie McIninch and John Sheridan play a multitude of characters such as her family members, friends and the gardener, who were an important part of her life.

“There’s a lot of comedy and fun in the play,” said Vuorela. “There are a couple of over the top characters,” said Gilmore.

“It’s theatre about real people,” said Sheridan noting they are individuals well known to many in the area. Hyde was an actor in her own right having studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London, England. “She was very creative. She started theatre on the lawn at Greenwood,” said Sheridan.

“My job was to focus on the play,” said Vuorela adding there are costumes for this production but no sets.

The play and lunch/dinner theatre runs from Thursday, August 17, to Sunday, August 20, at Saint Mary’s Church Hall, 273 Main Road, Hudson.

For further information and tickets, please visit www.theatrepanache.ca or call (450) 458-5281.

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