by Norm Foster
(April 28 to May 20, 2023)
Director: Nicole Arends
Producers: Shabnam Munjal, Julie Rush
About the play….
Harry Sullivan hasn’t seen his son Drew in thirteen years, and now Drew is coming to Harry’s Saskatchewan ranch for a visit. This poignant comedy tells the story of two men who are too stubborn to give in to feelings of the heart.
Virginia, the woman next door with her own issues, plays a major role in helping them reconcile. Flashbacks to Harry’s youth, middle age and to Drew’s teens give us insights into the lives of these characters.
Mending Fences was set to be the final play of Village Players’ 2019-20 season . . . and in mid-rehearsals along came the pandemic. With patience all around, it’s now the final play of the 2022-23 season.
“The characters in Mending Fences are real, not polished Hollywood or overly dramatic reality TV people. And their relationships ring with truth, providing plenty to think about on the way home.”
~ Halifax Chronicle Herald
“The sort of comedy that steals your heart. You’ll love it.”
~ Hamilton Spectator
About Norm Foster, the playwright….
Norm Foster’s plays receive an average of one hundred and fifty productions annually making him the most produced playwright in the history of Canada.
Born in Newmarket and raised in Toronto, Norm attended West Hill Collegiate Institute and then went on to study Radio & Television Arts. A 25-year career in radio took him from Thunder Bay to Winnipeg to Kingston and finally to Fredericton, New Brunswick. It was there in 1980 that Norm acted in his first play: the part of Elwood P. Dowd in Harvey.
Foster fell in love with the theatre right then and there, and two years later he wrote his first professionally produced play, Sinners, followed by The Melville Boys. The latter would go on to be produced across Canada and in the United States, including a well-received run off-Broadway in New York – and at the Village Playhouse twice! Since then, Norm Foster has produced an astonishing output of work: over fifty plays in all.
Foster’s plays are known mainly for their comedic qualities, but they are not without their serious moments. When asked to try and pin down a common theme that runs through his plays, Foster says:
“I think for the most part, they’re about ordinary people just trying to get by in life. I never set out with a monumental purpose in mind. I’m not trying to teach an audience a lesson or pass along some profound message, because I don’t think I’m qualified. What I am trying to do is make them feel a little better about this world, and that’s not easy these days.”
Village Players likes Norm Foster plays. We’ve done:
2017 The Melville Boys
2015 Maggie’s Getting Married
2011 The Long Weekend
2006 Ned Durango Comes to Big Oak
2003 My Darling Judith
2001 Office Hours
1996 The Affections of May
1990 The Melville Boys
About Nicole Arends, the director…
Nicole Arends has an extensive background in theatre directing and performance, expressive arts facilitation, and arts management. After acquiring her BA in Theatre from York University, Nicole started her own theatre company for youth in Ottawa called The Balcony Players and has since directed for many community, independent and professional theatre companies in Toronto.
This is her second time directing for Village Players (Foxfinder, 2016) and her second time directing a Norm Foster play (Louis and Dave, Toronto Fringe). Before the pandemic she directed Impressionism at Alumnae Theatre and The Taming of the Shrew at the 2019 Toronto Fringe. More recently, Nicole has directed several online plays including Just One of the Guys, The Seagull, Eurydice and Arcadia, as well as The Do-Gooders live at the 2022 New Ideas Festival. She will also be directing and dramaturging The Departure Train for Wonderlit Productions in Fall 2022.
Since 2005, Nicole has been working for The Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) where she helmed the Living Through the Arts Program training artists to work in hospitals and social service organizations. She also ran the Artist-Educator Professional Training Certification Program as well as the ARTS-REHAB Project, an Ontario-wide research study that studied the effects of creative processes on rehab patients. Nicole has served on the Board of Directors of Theatre Columbus (now Common Boots), Clay & Paper Theatre, and Alumnae Theatre Company.
For more about Nicole’s varied theatrical pursuits, see her website at http://www.nicolearends.com