Lacombe’s Cow Patti Theatre Company and the Lacombe Performing Arts Centre (LPAC) have teamed up to give youth in the community an opportunity to fall in love with theatre.
“It is really cool to work with so many ages because I have only worked in school. To work with younger kids is cool,” one girl said.
“I just like doing theatre. It is really fun,” another girl said.
Another girl added, “I like to act the younger sister because I get to scream at the other sister. I also like AnnaMarie (Lea)”
Another added, “I haven’t been involved with theatre before and I really am enjoying expressing myself.”
And finally a young girl said, “I really like the community aspect of it. It is a bunch of people working together.”
These were just some of the reactions to a five-month youth theatre program put on by Cow Patti Owner AnnaMarie Lea at LPAC that will culminate with the production of Much More Munsch, a play written by Lea 15 years ago.
Lea said the idea from the show came from an LPAC board meeting, where she was asked if Cow Patti would do a show at the new facility.
“I said if you want, I’ll come in and I will take some youth in our community through a course to put on a show. That will get people talking. That’s how it started,” Lea said.
The course started in September 2019 with a two hour class once per week. The cast began producing Much More Munsch in November.
“We cast the show — everyone auditioned and it was very professional. We open Jan. 31, so we have just under two weeks to pull it all together,” Lea said.
The show opens Jan. 31, with the cast — ranging in ages from eight to 17 — will put on eight shows for the community. Part of the ticket sales from the show will go towards a yet to be determined charity selected by the actors.
“The play is based on ‘I’ll Love you Forever’ — the Robert Munsch book about the mother and her child,” Lea said. “Within the story, there is two other Robert Munsch books: ‘Alligator Baby’ and ‘Get out of Bed.’ We take the audience through the journey of this baby who is a tyrant little four-year-old, to being a a nine-year-old, to the teenager, to a young man, to becoming a parent.
“The story is familiar but what makes it unique is we have incorporated some the current times.”
The show also features an original song by Liam Collins, who recently acted in Cow Patti’s production of The Great Khooshog Lake Hollis McCauley Fishing Derby. Collins spent a month working with the kids on their singing and the show will be entirely without sets or costumes, minus eight working blocks.
“There is absolutely no props or set dressing. The kids are miming, creating, becoming everything. The are doing it all,” Lea said.
Lea said it is great to work with young actors again and the cast have come in every week and supported each other. Lea said the descriptive works of Munsch have also made it easier for the cast to create and enjoy the process.
“I always tell the kids to go back to the Robert Munsch books. The pictures are descriptive and his words are very simple and repetitive. He gets a weird little idea and then the illustrator are half of the success,” she said.
The show runs from Jan. 31 to Feb. 9 at the Lacombe Performing Arts Centre. Tickets cost $13 for adults and $7 for kids 12 and under. Tickets are available online here and can be accessed through the Much More Muncsh Facebook page.