The Ottawa Valley’s only heritage theatre company will be performing its new show, How are Ya Now? outdoors at Station Park in Killaloe for eight Wednesday and Thursday shows, beginning July 14, with very limited seating. Due to Covid restrictions and other factors, the company only plans to sell 100 tickets for each show – approximately half its usual capacity – and close to half these tickets are already accounted for after only a week of sales. Above from left: How Are Ya NOW? cast members Shirley Hill, Daniel Bissonnette, Fran Pinkerton, Ambrose Mullin, Derek Tolhurst and Ish Theilheimer rehearse on the gazebo stage at Station Park in Killaloe for Stone Fence Theatre’s new show, which opens there July 14 for a four-week run of Wednesday and Thursday shows. Photo submitted.
The company had to hold off putting tickets on sale until the Province laid out plans for re-opening in late June. Now, it has been given permission to hold shows in Station Park, following Covid protocols.
“For months, we were waiting to find out what we’d be allowed to do in terms of audience capacity,” said the company’s producer, Ish Theilheimer. “Now, we’ve got the green light, and it seems people are eager to get out and celebrate with us.”
As a result, he recommends audience members choose a date and purchase tickets as soon as possible. Tickets, including a box supper, cost $42 or $20 for youth, plus tax.
“How are Ya Now? is a celebration of our being able to be together again and of our Valley sense of fun that has helped us again and again to get through hard times,” said Theilheimer. “Our crew is revved up and ready to create a wonderful evening – first a picnic in beautiful Station Park, then a show we feel is absolutely unique.”
Shows start at 6 p.m. and end before dark. The gate will open and box suppers will be served starting at 4:45. There will be chairs, tables, shade tents and plenty of room for excellent seating and safe distancing. If it rains a little, the show will go on. If it looks like really bad weather, the show will be cancelled by noon and ticket-holders will be enabled to attend a different performance.
The box supper, from Schmidt’s Catering, in Pembroke, features Smoked Brisket on a Kaiser and many goodies. Veggie and gluten-free options can be ordered in advance. There is no bar service due to municipal regulation, but soft drinks and water will be available.
The show is a fun collection of comedy and new and classic songs from the company, all with a common theme – the sense of fun and togetherness that have enabled Ottawa Valley people to get through the pandemic and tough times over the years. Performers are Danielle Bissonnette, Peter Brown, Shirley Hill, Fran Pinkerton, Ambrose Mullin, Ish Theilheimer, and Derek Tolhurst.
The title song, “How are Ya Now?” has special significance in the Valley. It is a frequent greeting among friends, often delivered with a mischievous grin. The usual response is “Not too bad.”
Other songs in the show include:
– “I Love Everything About Killaloe,” a celebration of the joys of small town life and what’s especially good about this small town.
– “Redneck Riviera,” by the late Barry Goldie, the company’s founding director, to whom the show is dedicated, which celebrates the joys of Bonnechere River living.
– “Familiar Lady,” by Derek Tolhurst, about the pleasures of living in a place where nearly everyone is like family.
– “Now, They Love Us,” about local farmers, who’ve been struggling to survive, now struggling with demand from customers.
– “Buying Land,” about the 1970s land boom as back-to-the landers moved in
– comic songs about home life that everyone can relate to after the pandemic like “The Cat Hair Dyson Blues,” “Home Improvement,” and “Say Something”
– “The Magic Song” and “What’s Crazy About That?” – expressions of the joy of living the Valley life
There’s also serious material in the show that grounds it in the reality we hope we are emerging from.
– “Who’s Taking Care of Me?” asks who’s looking out for health care and other essential workers.
– “Our Valley Forefathers,” based on lyrics by Joan Finnigan, recalls the work and sacrifices of those who came before us.
Show tickets are available online at www.stonefence.ca/tickets or by phone at 613-401-1497 or, toll-free, 1-866-310-1004.