A rollicking story of Cape Breton

Sheldon Currie wrote a short story about a family in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, that echoed his message in the acclaimed Margaret’s Museum.

Lauchie, Liza and Rory, too, looks at a Cape Breton Island community that is populated with good people, from all over the world, who are otherwise cogs in the machine.

Unlike Margaret’s Museum, available on DVD, Yukoners likely have only one chance to see Lauchie, Liza and Rory when it comes to the Yukon Arts Centre, Jan. 14 to 16.

“The play is published, but nobody else has done it because they don’t know how,” says Christian Murray, co-producer and one of two actors who portrays six or seven characters each (even he doesn’t know how many).

“It doesn’t come off the page; it’s a singular event.”

Frankie Productions was probably able to pull it off because of Murray’s tenaciousness to husband all of his varied skills to tell this Cape Breton story by a Cape Breton writer.

“I come from a physical theatre background,” he says over the phone. “Vaudevillian or clowning; that’s my approach.

“We asked ourselves what the best device was to tell the story. Well, puppets. It surprises and gets the audience laughing.”

So he and Natasha MacLellan end up placing their faces in a portrait on a rolling stand and holding up a jacket to portray a vulgar girlfriend.

Directed by Murray’s wife, Mary-Colin Chisholm, the play follows identical twin brothers through 20 years in the mid-20th Century.

Nerdy Lauchie Macdonald ends up with the vivacious Liza, but the wild brother, Rory, bursts onto the scene.

Will it play well in Whitehorse?

“I’ve been to Whitehorse once and I know there is an isolation factor there, too, and a lot of mines and a certain transient sensibility,” says Murray.

“I know there are a lot of artists and writers there; same for Cape Breton.

“We did the show in New Zealand and it worked like gangbusters.

“Ultimately, it’s a love story … a long, protracted love story and that is what the audience falls into.

“There is a beautiful arc of understanding and you see Lauchie’s heart come out.

“Rory – for sure reminds me of my brother-in-law – has a transition and he is kind of forced to change and mature.”

Tickets are available at the Yukon Arts Centre Box Office, Arts Underground and www.yukontickets.com.

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