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Contributed Photo

Contributed Photo

SHORTHANDED — Members of the hockey team featured in the upcoming Elmira Theatre Company production of Shorthanded are, from left, in front: Andy Wasylycia, Joe Brenner, John Bigelow; back row: Bill Calder, Brandon Maxwell, Andrew Frey, Thom Smith, Brian Otto.

Elmira Theatre set to debut award-winning hockey themed play ‘Shorthanded’

CHUCK KUEPFER, Staff Reporter

Elmira Theatre Company will bring to stage the premiere of the award-winning play Shorthanded next month.

Written and directed by Elmira’s Michael Grant, the play was named best new comedy by the Playwrights Guild of Canada last year. 

Shorthanded, which follows the exploits of an old-timers hockey team as it attempts to win a championship, is a comedy about lost dreams and second chances.

Grant is looking forward to seeing the play come to life on the Elmira stage.

“Super excited,” said Grant. “And with this one being special in so many ways, it’s really neat just to watch it all come together. I can’t wait for opening night.”

Shorthanded features an all-male cast of eight, played by Andy Wasylycia, Joe Brenner, John Bigelow Bill Calder, Brandon Maxwell, Andrew Frey, Thom Smith, Brian Otto.

“When you write a play, at least when I write a play, sometimes I envision certain individuals in the roles,” says Grant, “and in this case, I actually got the opportunity to put those people I envisioned in some of those roles.”

In the play, the team of “misfits” has to band together to win the seventh game of the old timers’ hockey championship. 

“Living in Elmira, I didn’t think it would be hard to assemble eight sets of men’s hockey gear, but that became a real challenge to find some that actually fit the actors properly and was of the right vintage,” said Grant.  “But it all came together and it really looks cool. Watching a bunch of guys put on hockey equipment is kind of just neat to watch itself when you’ve got all of the dialogue going along with it. It almost becomes like a dance.”

Grant is pleased with how the play is coming together, especially how the actors have developed their characters.

“It’s just a little more different than what I envisioned it, but it’s all for the better,” says Grant.  “Like I said at rehearsals, eleven minds are better than one.” 

The award-winning Shorthanded is the third play written by Grant to appear on the Elmira stage. It comes with more pressure than the first two, Hamish and Bare Bear Bones, had, given the honour it has already received.

“There’s the added weight of that, but I’m confident we’re in good shape,” said Grant, who anticipates writing another play in the near future. “I was afraid I’d hit writer’s block. I have a habit of doing things in threes, so I was afraid that this was going to be my last one and I desperately don’t want it to be. In the last few weeks I’ve started mulling around ideas in my head and kind of working some ideas out, so hopefully I’ll be writing something out in the next month or two.”

Shorthanded runs Feb. 8-17 at Elmira Theatre, located at 76 Howard Ave. 

Show times are Thursday to Saturday at 8 p.m., with a Sunday matinee at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets are $18 and available by calling The Centre in the Square box office at 519-578-1570 or 1-800-265-8977.

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