BEST FRIENDS by Daryl Marks
Produced by Linda Lyons and Zac Mansfield and Directed by Daryl Marks
by Joe Szek
The autobiographical ‘Best Friends’ opened Thursday February 25 as a labour of love for its playwright and director, Daryl Marks. In the Program End notes, he tells us how the death of his dog, Shakespeare, had such a profound impact on him. As anyone who has ever lost a pet can attest, we become attached to these ‘critters’ so much as they have become members of our family. Although I have never owned a pet, I can recall how the death of the dog of my best friend, his wife and two boys left me with some emptiness for awhile each time I visited their home.
The premise of Marks’ play is interesting. Shoe salesman/part time actor Turner (Paul Kit) is struggling in the aftermath of losing his dog, Dickens. In a pub where people gather who have lost their pets, Turner meets troubled, free-lance photographer, Alice (Stephanie Koktan) whose own pooch, Daytona, is ill. These two lost souls begin a slow, intimate connection dance on many levels. As the story continues, we see how other people connected to Turner and Alice’s lives are interwoven into this story of laughter and hope. A number of seasoned performers from Durham Region (Zade O’Blenes, Heather Sessions, Dave Drennan, Glenn Ottaway and Daniel Wyse) have assumed a variety of supporting roles to help propel the story forward.
Congratulations must be extended to DANCYN PRODUCTIONS, the newest live theatrical based company in the Durham Region. It is to be highly commended for taking risks in showcasing original and, sometimes, unrecognized works. Executive Producer and Company Director Joan Mansfield validates the plethora of talent within Durham and wants to extend as many opportunities as possible for local performing artists to be a part of DANCYN’S season. The number of astonishing hours of work that DANCYN puts forward to transform a community events hall into a performance space is absolutely incredible. As Arthur Miller once wrote in ‘Death of a Salesman’ that ‘attention must be paid to such a person’, audience attention and recognition must be paid to DANCYN for its selfless professionalism in wanting to promote and mount quality live theatrical productions.
‘Best Friends’ continues until March 5, 2016 at 8 pm with some matinee performances at 2 pm. Tickets may be purchased at the door.