By Robert Walker
Special to the Observer
Live theatre can be transformative, both for the audience and the performers.
“The arts plays such an important role in the community,” says Darka Makarec, director. “It allows a person to experience something outside their own existence. Garrison Little Theatre is a gem for Fort Erie.”
Now in its 34th season, Garrison Little Theatre will be bringing to life the Canadian play Airport Tales early next month, beginning April 5. A Carol Libman play, the plot centres around the character Evalina, played by Linda Gorham, a nonagenarian travelling back to the family homestead to celebrate her milestone. Touted as a “road movie at 30,000 feet,” Airport Tales follows Evalina as she navigates security checks, troublesome travellers and long-distance relatives.
“When you reach 90 years, you collect a lot of wisdom along the way,” says Makarec. “But you’re never too old to learn something new.”
The cast and crew have been rehearing intensely for the last four weeks, says Makarec, getting ready for the April 5 debut. There will be six performances of Airport Tales, on April 5, 6, 7, 12, and 13 (with a matinee performance on the final night). Rounding out the performing cast is Alex Pedersen as Carly, Eric Jeddry at Roger, Ric Gorham as Fred, and Trent Matthews as George.
The play’s author will be attending the April 6 showing, a fact that Makarec says she and the cast are looking forward to. “I am aware that the interpretation may not have been what the writer was envisioning. However, we will be having a ‘talk back’ after the show that will give us all great insight and offer us an opportunity for learning.”
“The play is very straightforward in its staging, it can be very simplistic,” says Makarec, with very few set pieces and background. This stripped-down approach makes Airport Tales ideal for the exchange program Garrison Little Theatre is a part of. “We’ll be taking it to England in May,” says Makarec. “This is the fourth time we’ve done this.” The cultural exchange is more than just a chance to perform for audiences in the United Kingdom, she says. “You make lasting friendships too.”
Makarec has worn many hats during her time with Garrison Little Theatre. “I’ve been here since about year three, over three decades. I’ve tried all aspects of theatre: props, set décor, stage managing, producing, and directing. One of the nice things about Garrison Little Theatre is you can do as much as you can, when you can. There’s a lot of different roles you could take on. Being on stage is my first love though.”
Makarec’s life on the stage began in high school. “I did a bit of theatre and found out I liked it,” she says, “then life happened.” Years passed, then, after a divorce, a friend told Makarec about Garrison Little Theatre.
“It was therapy for me. It was my creative outlet,” says Makarec. “It allowed me to be someone else for a while. I learned so much from my fellow thespians.”
For ticket information, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Garrison Little Theatre is located in the Italo-Canadian Club, 1101 DiPietro Street, Fort Erie. The evening menu is provided by Maria’s Catering. “The community has live theatre at affordable pricing and great food to boot,” says Makarec.
To purchase tickets visit www.garrisonlittletheatre.com.