Local theatre company, Essential Collective Theatre (ECT)’s newest production, The Drawer Boy by Michael Healey, is a celebration of Canadian Theatre and Niagara living with contributions from Brock staff and alumni.
The show’s artistic director, Monica Dufault, who is currently teaching part-time in Brock University’s Department of Dramatic Arts, says that “[ECT’s] mandate is to do Canadian plays and to foster new play development and to try to reflect the stories of the Niagara Region… This play tells the story of this region and the people of this region.”
The Drawer Boy is set in 1972 and follows characters Miles (played by Landon Doak), a young actor who just finished his university degree, Angus (Tony Munch) and Morgan (JD Nicholsen), both of whom are farmers and World War II veterans. While overseas, Angus was injured and now suffers from short-term memory loss, complicating his understanding of what’s going on. Miles comes to visit Angus and Morgan’s farm to research a new role he has in a soon-to-be prolific Canadian play, The Farm Show.
Miles is an average city-boy, and Morgan takes advantage of him, having him do unreasonable tasks and making the show a classic “fish-out-of-water” tale. During this time, however, Miles gathers a lot of stories about the pair which end up in his rehearsals and trigger memories for Angus that he has not had for many years.
“[The play is] about appreciating the people who have different lifestyles than your own. Michael Healey has just done an amazing job in creating this very funny, very clever dialogue. The story is told through a series of anecdotes/exchanges between these guys, and he’s always got humour moving the story along” says Dufault.
“As the story unfolds some secrets are revealed about Morgan and Angus that have been kept for many years, and it’s also revealed that lies have been told for many years. And so I suppose in this current climate of alternative truth it’s an interesting thing to bring up: ‘what is the importance of truth and what is the impact of lying?’” she continues.
According to Dufault, “[Miles] is a pretty relatable character and his storyline is really an education plot, he comes to this place, he doesn’t know anything about farming, and he learns a lot, but he also becomes a little more mature, as a character as the play goes on. I think that that’s a character that people will relate to very much, [especially] the University audience.”