The Drawer Boy is a humorous and heartfelt classic that people will love, says Michael Cochran, Executive Director of the Market House Theatre in Paducah. Dealing with memory issues, life-long friendship, the power of using theatre to heal and multi-layered characters, The Drawer Boy opens January 14 and runs through January 24. On Sounds Good, Austin Carter speaks with Cochran about the production and new things for 2016 at the community theatre.
The award-winning play is set in Canada and centers around two two best friends, Morgan and Angus. Angus draws things and Morgan builds them. They grow up and go off to war together, meeting two women along the way in England. Once the war is over, they plan to return to Canada, build homes and live together. Unfortunately, Angus gets hit by a piece of shrapnel in the back of his head and begins having memory problems.
The play begins in 1972, with an actor named Miles visiting the countryside looking to put on a play about farming. Miles asks Morgan and Angus, who are two elderly farmers at this time, if he can stay with them to learn the trade.
Moments of humor com through as Miles learns about farming, from milking a cow to piling hay, but he discovers the incredible story Morgan tells Angus every night about their lives. Later, Miles puts on a play retelling these stories and as Angus watches, he starts to remember things that don't match the story Morgan tells.
It's easy to play a character like Angus as a "simple person" because his memory is bad, Cochran says, but a character like this has many layers, reminding him of a parent who has Alzheimer's or dementia. While they might not remember some things, other things can be remembered clearly. He says he looked for actors who could give him levels, not only with Angus, but also with his friend Morgan and the complexity of managing a relationship with someone who suffers from memory loss. Also, Miles brings a naive quality and playing this well can be tricky, since it too has man levels.
In addition to The Drawer Boy, Market House Theatre is starting a comedy club on January 30 for middle and high school students. It's Saturday entertainment for young people featuring fast-paced games and sketch comedy. Kids will create their own sketch comedy and be both performers and audience members.