Back on stage, right on cue

Christan Froese played Gladys (left) in the play ‘Gladys in Wonderland’ and featured many different community members like Evelyn Hoogerdijk or Mildred (right) taking part on stage or behind the scenes. (supplied photo)

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For the first time in over 20 years, a local theatre group hit the stage to the sound of cheers in Carman as ‘Back On Cue’ performed the introspective play ‘Gladys in Wonderland’ featuring actors and actresses from around the region at the Carman Community Theatre at Carman Collegiate Friday and Saturday evening.

“It really is an indication that our community is ready to have live–community theatre here again,” said Susan Mooney, Back on Cue member. “I thought things went extremely well we had over 400 people attend over the two days of performances and that’s a great number. All the actors and actresses we had did a great job because they were diligent with rehearsing three days a week since September.”

Back on Cue formed earlier this year when likeminded individuals got together to focus on a passion they all shared, live theatre. Months later, Gladys in Wonderland took to the stage with over 400 people attending. It’s not to say the play went off without a hitch, as the group continued to persevere through any issues that may have come up including the loss of the original director.

“Back on Cue Theatre was fortunate to have Theresa Cronin as Director of this play,” said Mooney. “Her abundance of energy plus real enthusiasm and passion for live theatre was infectious, so much so that 11 actresses and actors diligently rehearsed culminating in stellar performances by all on both nights.”

Carman resident Christan Froese played the lead role of Gladys in the play. She gave an excellent performance keeping people interested while entertaining the entire time on stage.

“I was on stage for almost 4/5ths of the play,” said Froese. “Gladys is irascible, stubborn and a completely wonderful character to play. I definitely share her love for sarcastic comments and donuts! It was so wonderful to play her off of the wacky and wonderful characters that live in her world.

Beyond my onstage duties, I tried to pitch in where ever I could. Our production was definitely a labour of love, with everyone helping with sets, props, costumes and makeup,” she said. “I learned how to do old age makeup over the summer through Youtube so I had a hand in aging my cast-mates, as well as myself.”

Froese and her castmates all agreed the time on stage was well worth all the hard work that went in rehearsing throughout the summer and fall.

“So many of my cast-mates had keen comedic timing and tried to keep me on my toes with various surprises,” said Froese. “It became a game to see if I would maintain my composure on stage through their one-liners and gags. I am so proud of what we all accomplished together. The cast was amazing and so supportive of each other.”

Larry Gluck from Myrtle played the great Angel of Death, Mort, on stage for the performance. He was thrilled to get on stage and be a part of the production.

“My wife was also in the background,” he said. “She played the funeral scene music and helped a lot with behind the scenes roles, the important people in the show. I owe a great kudos to the total group of strangers that came together to become a tight-knit family by the end it was really nice.”

Mooney says they didn’t choose Gladys in Wonderland because of Carman’s elder population but rather its flow, quirkiness and relatability.

“We do have a large number of seniors in our community so I guess it was a rather timely choice but it definitely wasn’t the reason we chose Gladys in Wonderland,” she added. “It was just a play that appealed to everyone that was getting involved.”

Mooney, Gluck and Froese were all in agreeance that the show will continue in 2020. While dismantling the set, several cast members and behind the scenes workers could be overheard talking about what should be done next year.

Anyone interested in getting involved with Back on Cue email