By Michael Healey
Jan. 13 - Feb. 4, 2006
Directed by Rhonda Clark
Full of rich and savvy humor, this heart-warming story
by Michael Healey is a testament to the power of friendship, loyalty and
storytelling. Performances are in Stage Center’s arena theater at 400 W.
Sheridan in downtown Oklahoma City.
THE DRAWER BOY
was named one of Time Magazine’s Ten Best Plays of 2001 and was the most
produced play in American regional theaters in 2004. The comedy-drama was the
recipient of four Dora Awards (Canada’s Tony), as well as other prestigious
Canadian theater awards.
Set on a small
farm in Ontario in 1972, two farmers scratch out a meager living. They grew up
together, served in WWII together and have lived under the same roof for thirty
years. Morgan runs the operation and carefully watches over his buddy Angus who
suffered a head injury during the London blitz. Due to the accident, Angus has
lost his memory, and is given to emotional outbursts and excruciating headaches.
He is the "drawer boy" of the title, a moniker derived from his love of drawing
and design when he was young. Now, Morgan marshals their daily routine, and
works hard to keep his buddy out of harm’s way.
Into this ritual
existence comes Miles, a young actor from Toronto who is doing research for a
play about farm life. Morgan begrudgingly takes Miles in, but assigns him such
asinine tasks as scrubbing gravel with a vegetable brush or cleaning out the
dairy barn with a fork. One night, Miles overhears Morgan telling Angus the
story of their lives, a nightly ritual between the two men, and Miles
incorporates the story into the play he’s developing. Unwittingly, Miles
stumbles upon the key to painful memories locked in Angus’ mind that ultimately
unlocks the hearts of them all. Consequently, what
begins as a typical fish-out-of-water comedy becomes an absorbing exploration of
how art can transform someone’s life.
THE DRAWER BOY
is a fictitious tale based on an historic chapter in Canadian theater history.
In 1972, a group of Toronto-based actors with the Theatre Passe Muraille
("theatre beyond walls") embarked on a project where they invented localist
theater. They lived with farm families in Clinton, Ontario, worked on their
farms and collected stories from the locals. The stories were developed into a
theatrical production called THE FARM SHOW, which
premiered in a barn in Clinton and later toured the cattle markets and community
halls of rural Ontario before moving to city theaters and eventually became a
successful film, television special and radio show. Twenty-seven years later in
1999, the Theatre Passe Muraille premiered Michael Healey’s THE DRAWER BOY
loosely based on their seminal work. The premiere was directed by Miles Potter
and starred David Fox, both of whom were members of the original company of "The