Dot the T Theatre Tours ‘On A First Name Basis’
By Steven Jacklin
For those who get excited about travelling to Muskoka for a weekend get-away, spending time at the cottage, or just enjoying a road trip, there is always the chance of being star-struck by cottage country’s spectacular night skies. But thanks to an exciting new theatre company in the region, there is yet another reason to get star-struck in Muskoka this spring.
Muskoka now offers a new professional theatre company called Dot The T Productions which tours first-rate shows across the region, bringing quality theatre that’s so close you can feel it. In November 2017, Dot The T took the huge leap into touring their very first production, the award winning musical Billy Bishop Goes To War starring William Colgate as Billy Bishop and Cameron Gibson as The Piano Player. Playing mostly non-conventional venues throughout Muskoka and Parry Sound, the new touring company wowed full (or close-to-full) houses, and closed every performance with a standing ovation.
“Bill Colgate relaxes into a character like it’s a comfortable old sweater,” said playwright Norm Foster of Colgate’s performance. “But he never settles into it. Instead, he adjusts and buttons and unbuttons until it fits both him and the audience just right.”
On A First Name Basis
And it is with this first success under their belt that Dot The T prepares to stage the heartwarming comedy, On A First Name Basis, written by Norm Foster in 2012 with the playwright himself in the role of best-selling novelist David Kilbride.
And, of course, who better to fill Foster’s shoes than an actor whose work he respects, Lake of Bays’ very own Bill Colgate? Colgate has been a professional actor for over 40 years and has worked in every aspect of the business from stage to screen to radio to cartoon voice work. On screen, he has appeared opposite such notables as Tommy Lee Jones, Diane Keaton, Kiefer Sutherland, Sarah Polley, Gordon Pinsent, Billy Bob Thornton, and John Cusack.
Colgate’s stage partner in this most entertaining ‘two-hander’ is Muskoka’s very own Teal Cochrane in the role of Lucy Hopperstaad. A graduate of George Brown’s theatre program, Cochrane has been a mainstay of the Huntsville Theatre Company for several years and has given memorable performances in such plays as Blood Relations, Doubt, and Same Time Next Year.
Distinctly Canadian Production
Joan Bendon (another Lake of Bays resident and director of Billy Bishop Goes To War) is once again at the helm and has this to offer about our playwright: “The plays of Norm Foster are gifts to directors, actors, and audiences alike. He has the ability to capture in two hours or less the humour, the joy, and the fragility of life in a way distinctly his own. There is a very good reason Norm is Canada’s most produced playwright and why in 2016 he was named an Officer of The Order of Canada.”
On A First Name Basis tells the story of a very successful, but cantankerous, novelist (William Colgate) who suddenly discovers that he knows nothing about his housekeeper (Teal Cochrane) of 28 years. She, on the other hand, knows absolutely everything about him. He makes it his mission to learn all he can about her in a most engaging evening. The women will be cheering on Lucy and the men will certainly be siding with David during a battle of the sexes and class will have audiences in stiches.
On a First Name Basis will tour Muskoka between May 25th and June 8th, 2018. It offers dinner-and-a-show or show only options, along with senior discounts and group rates. Performing under Canada‘s Actor’s Equity Association, this is top flight theatre usually found in the larger municipalities of Canada.
“We are fortunate to have the talents of local residents Ms Bendon, Mr Colgate, and Ms Cochrane,” says producer Jan Jacklin. “And we’re excited to offer the shared experience of live performance to theatre lovers throughout the region.”
For more information on this production, including tour details and tickets, visit http://DotTheTPro.ca.
Steven Jacklin is a Muskoka-based author and freelance writer. Find out more about his books at http://www.dwarfgiants.com.