The second play in this year's Quonta Drama Festival came from Espanola's Little Theatre. Problem Child by George F. Walker. had the crowd roaring with laughter with the actors' one-liners and the vulgar language. Many people felt at ease and relaxed while enjoying the play. The play drew a crowd of around 145 people at the Lester B. Pearson Civic Centre.
The play was produced by Jessica Lajoie with Kyera Landry acting as stage manager. Directing the play was Chris Cayen with lighting from Jason Morrow and sound by Jordan Ferguson.
Problem Child tells the story of a married couple living in a motel room. The husband, RJ (Warren Tilston) is hooked on provocative daytime television talk shows and can be seen yelling at the television set. At times throughout the play, he calls the network producers to tell them how "disgusted" he was with the topics on the shows. RJ is an ex-convict who is now employed as a drywall hanger.
RJ's wife, Denise (Angie Scheel), was a former drug addict and prostitute. Denise's mother contacted child protection services once she found out Denise was leading that kind of lifestyle and child protection services removed their daughter, Christine, from their custody. The story revolves around Denise and RJ meeting with the social worker, Helen (Jen Tilston) on some occasions to discuss the possibility of Christine coming back home.
Warren Tilston's portrayal of RJ was exceptional. He was funny, on point and you knew what he was trying to get across. He had the audience believing RJ was a good guy after his troubled past. The chemistry he shared with Angie Scheel was bubbly. They meshed together as a couple very well.
Scheel's portrayal of Denise made the audience believe the character and had the audience feeling sorry for her. She explained the story of how a young mother would do anything to get her baby back, even if it meant taking the illegal route.
Jen Tilston's portrayal of Helen was believable. She played a young social worker doing her job and had the audience believe she was just trying to be the good guy. Mike Boivin's portrayal of Phillie was hilarious. Boivin had an air about him like he connected to his character. Both him and Jen Tilson had the audience connecting with them on different levels.
Quonta Festival adjudicator Laurel Smith explained that although the set was a box set, moving the corners at an outward angle can help audience members on the side see better whereas the way it was displayed throughout the play, members on the side of the auditorium could not see as well as other members.
"You did a great job at describing a disgusting motel room scene," she explained.
Smith also commended the cast and crew on a job well done, explaining they worked well together and made the characters believable. Smith referred to the play as a "black comedy" because of the humour it portrayed.
Hilda's Yard presented by the Sault Theatre Workshop will be staged tonight at the Lester B. Pearson Civic Centre. The last day of the festival will feature Exit the King by the Gore Bay Theatre. Tickets are still on sale for $20 and can be purchased at Alpine Gifts and Flowers in the Paris Plaza or at the door of the Civic Centre. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m sharp.