Pleasant experience on tour for cast of 'With Cruel Times in Between'

Cory Hurley
Published on September 28, 2013
Actors from Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador include: (front) Amelia Manuel, (middle, from left) Colin Furlong, Jennifer Furlong, Claire Hewlett, (back) Adam Brake and Craig Haley.

Photo by Johnny Cann

CORNER BROOK  The latest provincial tour of a Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador play has not seen any “cruel times” for at least one of the actors — on stage or “in between.”

“With Cruel Times in Between” has risen from the Youth Theatre Island Exchange Program to the professional theatre ranks.

Colin Furlong, an actor originally from Mount Pearl, is part of the small cast performing the work that is a celebration of the words and lyrics of poet/playwright Al Pittman.

Joined by actors Adam Brake, Jennifer Furlong, Craig Haley, Claire Hewlett and Amelia Manuel — as well as lighting designer Johnny Cann — Furlong was in Clarenville Thursday during an off day in the schedule.

They had already performed at St. Patrick’s Hall in Tilting on Fogo Island, the NorthEast Heritage Museum in Twillingate, The Beaches Heritage Centre in Eastport, and the Milton-George’s Brook Community Cultural House in Clarenville.

Furlong said the reception has been great as the cast and crew adapt the set for whatever surroundings they have the opportunity to perform. The tour includes a number of school matinees — one of which was in Change Islands, which has an enrollment of just 15 students.

The audiences of the rural communities have really related to the writings of Pittman, as adapted by director Sarah McDonald, according to Furlong.

“The show deals with a lot of different themes, but a big one among them is the resettlement program,” he said. “A lot of these people have been through it or their families have been through it or they are faced everyday with the decision of, ‘Do I move? Do I listen to the status quo?’ ”

He said the conversations with audience members afterwards, and the tours of the rural communities, has been equally as stimulating.

McDonald will be in attendance for the St. John’s performance at the LSPU Hall in St. John’s Saturday evening. It is part of the Contact East showcase. She said the play was never meant to go beyond the students who performed it during the exchange in Newfoundland and Labrador and Tasmania. That has her both terrified and excited at the same time.

Regardless of the reception at such places as Contact East, she already considers the play a winner.

“It is successful as a tour because all of these communities — Fogo Island, Eastport and places — the response has been wonderfully positive,” she said. “The people are really enjoying the play.”

The show will be staged at the Corner Brook Arts and Culture Centre on Oct. 5.