Are you ready to head to a square dance at Glencoe Mills that you will never forget? Then head to Strathspey Place, April 22 or 23 to see the West Side Performing Arts Cooperative’s (WeSPAC) production of John Archie and Nellie. It’s the beginning of the 20th century and people are beginning to question many things, including whether or not they can stay in Cape Breton. John Archie has come back from the West, and Nellie has just returned from the Boston States. They both have secrets, and have decided to make Cape Breton their home.
John Archie and Nellie was first staged in April and August of 2012 to packed audiences at Strathspey Place in Mabou. It was the first of three plays written by Brenda MacLennan-Dunphy that starred Lisa Cameron and Barry Fougere, and they are back in the lead roles, bringing John Archie and Nellie alive once again. When they meet for the first time, sparks fly! Peggy (Lori Shaw) and Billy (Charlie MacKinnon) are Nellie’s supporters at the dance, while Margaret Campbell (Jacqueline Boyd) and Lexie MacPhail (Evelyn Cameron) are gossiping in the corner. Lester (Jim Mustard) and Frank (Dougald MacNeil) try to nip out for the occasional drink. Soldier Sam (Rankin MacEachern) is looking for a woman while Ethel (Adèle LeBlanc) is desperate for a man, but Florence (Emily Clegg) has had enough them. Jessie Rankin (Elizabeth Matheson) is there to enjoy the music supplied by Theresa (Margie Beaton) and Mary Ann (Shelly Campbell). It’s going to be a wonderful evening, depicting the many sides of the characters of our area.
The musical selections, under the direction of Laurel Brown, and accompanied by Brydon MacDonald, will keep everyone entertained. Cape Breton classics–including “There was an Old Woman from Mabou”, “Cape Breton Barbarian”, “Rise Again”, “Fare Thee Well, Love”, and “The Island”–develop the characters’ stories. The play also features new songs including Lisa Cameron’s “Back Home” and “Calling Me Home”, written for John Archie. Fiddlers Campbell and Beaton will play for the old style square sets, fiddling the lively heartbeat of Cape Breton.
This WeSPAC production, directed by Cathy MacMillan and produced by Brenda MacLennan-Dunphy, gratefully acknowledges the support of the Province of Nova Scotia. WeSPAC is pleased to work with the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage, and the Municipality of the County of Inverness, to develop and promote our cultural resources. Don’t miss the chance to see this local Inverness County story brought to life by this talented group of friends and neighbours. The show starts at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday night. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 on day of show.