As Remembrance Day nears, Brenda MacLennan-Dunphy’s Displacement returns to Strathspey Place, offering its audience a chance to go back in time to when the scars of WWII were still fresh.
“Remembrance Day seemed the perfect time, and now with all that has been happening in the world, it seems even more fitting,” says writer, director, and producer MacLennan-Dunphy of this second run of her musical play.
“Displacement is set five years after the end of WWII. All the characters share the reality of being displaced from their home, but some have deeper scars than others due to their war experience or losing a loved one,” explains MacLennan-Dunphy, who admits that the audience reaction to the first run of the play wasn’t completely what she was expecting. “It was very surprising to me how much the audience laughed during our first production in April. Even though it sounds heavy, there is a lot of love and Cape Breton humour which lightens the material.”
It’s early May, 1950, five years after the war. Malcolm MacLeod, a WWII veteran needs to find a place for his houseful of dependent women–his War Bride wife, grandmother, widowed sister with her two children, and his younger sisters–since the community of Big Brook is being displaced due to a gypsum mine. When the neighbours drop in to say their goodbyes, they reflect on the past, especially their war experiences, and worry about the future.
When Malcolm brings a traveler in for tea, unexpected hidden emotions emerge. Well-loved songs “Peggy Gordon”, “Sound the Pibroch”, “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda”, along with some newer ones, such as “Carry On” (Company Road), “Harder to Win” (Lisa Cameron), “Love Lives On” (Bruce Guthro), and “Movin’ On” (Jimmy Rankin) help to bring the story line to life. There’s romance, sibling rivalry, some good Gaelic common sense, and a few laughs besides. Blood runs hot in the kitchen, but everyone enjoys a good cup of tea and leaves with a smile.
Displacement is MacLennan-Dunphy’s third production at Strathspey Place, following up last year’s The Weddin Dance and John Archie and Nellie in 2012. Lisa Cameron (Musical Director), Malcolm’s (Barry Fougere) widowed sister Katie, sisters Libby (Sarah MacIsaac) and Loretta (Adèle LeBlanc), grandmother, Maude (Emily Clegg), and wife Margaret (Tracey MacDonnell) are all busy in the kitchen. Jacqueline Boyd (Mabel), Charlie MacKinnon (Johann), Dougald MacNeil (John Joe), and Brendan Moloney (Harry) play the visiting neighbours, while Rankin MacEachern (Peter) is a traveler. The music flows from backstage supplied by Colin MacDonald (acoustic guitar), Margie Beaton (fiddle), Kevin Levesconte (piano), Malcolm Matheson (mandolin), and Elizabeth Matheson (bass guitar).
Don’t miss Displacement at Strathspey Place, Mabou, Friday, November 7 and Saturday, November 8 at 7 pm. Tickets ($20, $25 day of the show) can be purchased by phone at 945-5300.