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St. Albert Dinner Theatre showcases The Dangers of VD

Director and actor Mark McGarrigle wanted to work with Calmar playwright Chris McKerracher, a humorist who writes quirky characters, wacky plots, never-ending physical comedy and plenty of female roles.

McGarrigle, who co-founded the St. Albert Dinner Theater (SADT) nearly 12 years ago, took a break from acting fever to study public relations. Unable to stay away too long, he returned as a director The Dangers of VD (Valentine’s Day) will be held at the Kinsmen Banquet Hall over the weekends of February 9-25.

“I missed it. I really did,” McGarrigle said. “I feel very blessed to come back and direct something so successful. Dinner theater almost didn’t make it through COVID, but it made it and is.” now more robust than ever. It’s a wonderful, proud feeling to watch them do what they do.”

The St Albert resident met McKerracher during the COVID theater closure. He had joined a Thursday play reading group through the Leduc Drama Society, where McKerracher also plied his trade. As their friendship developed, McGarrigle read The dangers of VD. The slapstick humor was in his alley and he took it to the SADT to approve the montage.

In McKerracher’s screenplay, three generations of the Dyck family live in one house and experience Valentine’s Day at different stages of their lives and from different perspectives. Gran and Gramps yearn for the romance of youth while their son Henry and his wife Paulette are stuck in a sexless marriage. Meanwhile, Jacqui, Henry and Paulette’s daughter, is coached by Aunt Jean, a disaffected divorcee, into sprucing up her wardrobe.

“I saw a video from another production and it was more slapstick than what I wanted. I delve more into relationships. There’s more humor there. Chris is such a fun author. He can write a line and underneath it is text that says so much more,” McGarrigle said.

The spirited Joanne Poplett, a longtime SACT actress, is back as Gran, while Fort Saskatchewan director Stuart McGowan dons the actor’s hat as Gramps.

“When I first read the script, I pictured Joanne and Stuart as grandparents. I had this instant connection, and I could even imagine them coming together.”

Newcomer Christopher Thrall, whose audition inspired the casting committee, takes on the role of Henry, while Laurie Borle joins him to play the sexually repressed Paulette. Christine Gold’s energetic presence earned her the role of Aunt Jean, while Crystal Poniewozik, a professional actor with the Jubilations Theater, plays Jacqui.

McGarrigle noted that Poniewozik Stick takes on the role of Jacquie, a sheltered girl who is still in pain to this day, with absolute professionalism.

“She changes energy when she enters a room and is very helpful with theatrical movements. We were very lucky to have her.”

Contestants should expect a fast pace, suggestive jokes, sexy lines, slamming doors, and more than a little weirdness.

“I think Chris is trying to say that your relationship doesn’t have to be like everyone else’s. Don’t look over the fence. It’s important to appreciate what you have and work on it. Appreciate what you have and don’t judge your relationship by anyone else’s standards.”

The dangers of VD runs February 9-11, 16-18 and 23-25 ​​at the Kinsmen Banquet Hall at 47 Riel Dr. Buffet at 6:45 p.m. Showtime 8 p.m. Tickets are $65. Call 780-222-0102 or visit www.stalberttheatre.com.

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