CHUCK KUEPFER, Staff Reporter
Elmira Theatre Company kicks off its 2012-13 season with a homecoming of sorts.
Gord Davis, who taught drama at Elmira high school for 34 years, was recruited to direct Harvest for the theatre group whose membership includes a number of his former students.
“It has been absolutely wonderful to come home,” said Davis, who is pleased to be directing at the theatre for the first time.
While at Elmira high school, Davis built the drama program from the ground up. It become one of the top programs and a model for other schools in the province. Under his tutelage, Elmira high school won hundreds of awards at the Sears Ontario Drama Festival and frequent trips to the Ontario Showcase. He was honoured with the Stewart Award for Teaching Excellence in 1990.
Davis continues to work with youth as resident director of the Singer’s Theatre in Waterloo.
“As a theatre, we are thrilled that he said yes to directing for us,” said Harvest producer Iris Miltenburg.
Harvest opens on Sept. 13 and runs through Sept. 22.
The play tells the story of a retired couple in their ’60s who sell their farmland, rent out their farmhouse and move to the city — when things literally go to pot.
Davis was tasked to bring the play to life with a two-person cast who play a number of characters, and a minimal set of simple wooden props.
“It’s basically a story-telling technique,” said Davis.
The elderly couple, played by Trevor Smith-Diggans (Allan) and Michele DiTomasso (Michele), become unwittingly involved in a marijuana grow op.
“It’s still a love story,” said Miltenburg.
“Love for each other, love for your home [and] love for your lifestyle,” said Davis. “It has a really nice warmth to it.”
Rehearsals for Harvest began at the end of June and the two-person cast sacrificed personal time throughout the summer to learn their lines.
“They even took their scripts with them when they went on holidays,” said Miltenburg.
Harvest is split into two acts, which run about 45 minutes (Act 1) and 30 minutes (Act 2) respectively. The play is based on a true story. The elderly couple who the script was written about will be in attendance at the opening gala.
During its run at the Elmira Theatre (76 Howard Ave.), evening shows will be held Thursday to Saturday at 8 p.m., with a Sunday matinee at 2:30 p.m. Single tickets are $18 and can be purchased by calling the Centre in the Square box office at 519-578-1570 or online at www.centre-square.com.