Special to The Record
The Evergreen Club commemorates the 100th birthday of the City of Courtenay with a play written and directed by their very own Betty Annand.
Betty has written comedy plays for the Evergreen Club’s drama group for more than 20 years. She is also the author of Voices from Courtenay Past, a book of memories collected from 94 pioneer families along with 400 old photographs (some of the wonderful stories in her book encouraged her to write this play). The play is produced by Phil Parmley, who also oversaw the set design along with his wife Val.
The two-act play is centered on the Piercy farm, which was located at the present site of Vanier School and the Comox Valley Exhibition grounds. The house was situated where the curling rink now stands. The door of the Piercy’s large and stately home was always open to friends and strangers. Travellers always stopped at Sam and Belle Piercy’s to rest their horses and enjoy a meal or two. The farm was a social centre of the community.
One well-known pioneer Betty has captured in her play is Jessie McQuillan, whose father, Reginald Carwithen, was one of the first three settlers in the Valley. Other names include Margaret Urquhart, Barbara Dingwall, Rosebud Anderton, Belle Piercy and her two daughters, Maida and Maggie, Joseph McPhee the founder of Courtenay and the city’s first mayor, Dan Kilpatrick, as well as young Malcolm Morrison. The remaining characters in the play are a colourful assortment all created from the author’s imagination and any resemblance between them and real pioneers is purely coincidental!
The play has a cast of 14 with ages ranging from eight to 94 and comprises mainly Evergreen Drama Club members. A short musical presentation follows the play, featuring some fiddle tunes of the period with local musicians Glen Hubert (fiddle), Bob Casavant (rhythm guitar), Art McMartin (bass guitar), and Harold Mosdell (piano).
Local soprano Jacqueline Lambeth and Walter Jordan combine with the cast to sing some popular songs of the era.
The cast also features three local children who make their stage debut: Eric and Loralie Bell, and eight-year-old Emma Casavant, who promise to delight the audience with their singing and acting.
Prior to each performance there will be a presentation of old photos of Courtenay and area, prepared by Ken MacLeod, on a large screen to the piano-playing of Donna Bews of the Evergreen Club Choristers. Members of the audience are invited to dress up in costumes of the period.
The play will take place in the upstairs Conference Hall of the Florence Filberg Centre. There will be two performances, a matinee at 2 p.m., Wednesday, April 22 (doors open at 1:30 p.m.) and an evening performance 7 p.m., Thursday, April 23 (doors open at 6:30 p.m). Refreshments will be served during each intermission and door prizes will be drawn at both shows. Tickets are $10 and are available from the Florence Filberg Centre, 411 Anderton Ave. Courtenay and (if available) at the door. FMI call Courtenay Recreation’s Filberg office at 250-338-1000.
A portion of the proceeds from the show will help support two worthy charities – Dusk to Dawn, which assists in finding housing for homeless people, and the Medical Van, which provides medical help to the needy, including residents of Maple Pool. Come on out and see a great show while supporting a worthy cause!