The Drawer Boy

City Boy offers to do farm work for free, in Studio Theatre’s production of Michael Healey’s THE DRAWER BOY

Directed by: Roberta Peets

The play features: Grey Masson, Alfred von Mirbach and Conner Williamson

April 5, 6, 7, 13 & 14 @ 7:30 pm
April 8 & 15 @2:00 pm

Free farm help is something no self respecting farmer can ever pass up. In the 1970’s a group of actors and directors from Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto headed out into the farming communities of Southern Ontario, interviewing local farmers and their families to create a landmark Canadian theatrical event The Farm Show.

This type of theatre was a cooperative-actor driven form of play writing known as “collective-creation”. At first the results didn’t seem like a play, since there were no lights, no costumes, no set-in fact often the venue was a barn with hay bales for seats. Actors would tell the stories they had heard, and would in effect draw a picture of what farming was really like. Often the actors would work on the farms to get first hand experience. At other times they would sit in parlours with the families, drawing out stories as they looked at wedding albums and family scrapbooks and drank countless cups of tea.

In 1999 actor and playwright Michael Healey reconnected with many of these families, and he in turn was inspired to write the play THE DRAWER BOY. In the play Angus and Morgan, played by Alfred Von Mirbach and Grey Masson, live together on an Ontario farm and have long ago settled into a routine that works well for both of them. Angus handles the accounts, bakes bread, and looks at the stars on clear nights. Morgan keeps the cows milked, the barns cleaned, and the tractor running, and keeps an eye on Angus. They have been friends since before the war. Into their uneventful life steps Miles Potter, a young actor from the big city, played by Connor Williamson. Miles needs to learn about farming for a theatre project he is involved in, and he offers to work for the two men as a means of gaining insight into their lifestyle. Free farm labor is not something that Morgan is going to turn down, so the deal is struck.

After a lot of gentle comedy about the urban-rural divide, Miles overhears Morgan telling Angus a story from their own broken past. When Miles incorporates the story into his show, and invites Morgan and Angus to the rehearsal, what is shown there disrupts the farmers lives and laughs give way to greater drama. Veteran stage director Roberta Peets manages to pull out both the heart and the humor in this beautiful play about farm life in southern Ontario. Come on down to the theatre, sit a spell, and soak up a wonderful story.

The Drawer Boy premieres at the Studio Theatre in beautiful heritage Perth on Thursday April 5 for seven shows, April 5, 6, 7, 13 and 14 at 7:30 pm and April 8 and 15 at 2 pm.

Talk backs are offered after the performances on 6 and 13.

Advance tickets are $24 and are now available exclusively at Tickets Please in the Matheson House Museum Visitor Centre, 11 Gore St. E. (613 485 6434; ticketsplease.ca) which accepts in-store, phone, online and credit card purchases.

Tickets are $24 at the Studio Theatre box office on show nights. Rush tickets for students with ID are just $10 at the door, subject to availability. Attend opening night and save $5.

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Sponsors for this show are H & R Block, and Doornekamp and Associates: Individual, Couple and Family Therapy.

Drawer Boy Rehearsals

PHOTO CAPTION: In rehearsal: Grey Masson and Alfred Von Mirbach, as farmers Morgan and Angus, talk about their day, while Connor Williamson, as actor Miles Potter, sits behind them and takes notes on their conversation for his play.