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Keppoch characters celebrating a wedding

Emma Smith (left), Alex Benson and Carol Anne MacKenzie are all set to plan A Keppoch Wedding; another production by the Society for the Ships of 1801 coming to the Schwartz auditorium July 4, 5 and 8.
Emma Smith (left), Alex Benson and Carol Anne MacKenzie are all set to plan A Keppoch Wedding; another production by the Society for the Ships of 1801 coming to the Schwartz auditorium July 4, 5 and 8. - Contributed

ANTIGONISH, N.S. - You can almost hear the wedding bells ringing.

A Keppoch Wedding, the third production in the Society for the Ships of 1801’s Keppoch trilogy on stage, will open the curtains on July 4, 5 and 8.

All shows are at St. F.X.’s Schwartz School of Business’ auditorium and begin at 7:30 p.m.

The production is a follow-up to Keppoch Kitchen Party and Keppoch: The Last Wake, the society’s productions for the previous two summers.

The show will feature 36 cast members, with all main characters back from last year and a few interesting additions.

Amongst the performers reprising their characters are Carol Ann MacKenzie and Terry MacIntyre. Both talked about returning for the third installment in the Keppoch storyline.

“It’s a lot of work but, to tell the truth, I feel like I would be missing out if I didn’t [return], because the stories we’re able to tell are the stories which were alive during my parents’ time and we just want to keep those stories going,” MacKenzie said.

“It’s extremely interesting, a lot of fun and, at the end of the day, you get to meet so many people who come from such diverse backgrounds,” MacIntyre said. “And the talent … the many different talents that I don’t think you would normally get to see. It really is a fun cast; the cast really gets along well together.”

MacKenzie described the bond as a “family.”

“We’ve become a family, for sure,” she said.

“We do a lot of the rehearsals at my house and my husband is always in the background listening, and says ‘you guys should be running outtakes.’ We laugh so much when we’re doing things.

“And although we have a script when we start, it certainly evolves because we know our characters so well now … we know what they would say.

“We have a great cast who absolutely love and adore each other. You have that support when you’re on stage – you’re never alone. There is a great deal of trust amongst the cast.”

MacIntyre credited MacKenzie and producer Duncan MacDonald for creating the supportive environment.

“For many of us, this was a brand new experience, and we were made to feel so welcomed and safe,” he said.

“That was a big thing for people like myself who hadn’t been on the stage for years. Duncan has done a good job of bringing people together, and Carol Ann; they’ll help you in every way possible and have really made us all feel so welcomed you really look forward to coming back and continuing the story. It’s really a good group of people.”

And the audience, whether they are local residents or visitors, perhaps in town for the Highland Games, have responded enthusiastically each time.

“They love the characters, the songs … I think it brings them back to a time when they heard their own parents talking like that, or their grandparents,” MacKenzie said.

“The community response is fantastic,” MacIntyre added, noting being stopped on the street and somebody sharing a story which reflects on what they heard during a Keppoch play.

“They’ll tell you a story and some of the stories we’re able to work into the script,” he said. “The community engagement is really rewarding because, essentially, we’re helping to tell their stories. Everyone in the audience has been in that kitchen and, to an extent, they still are today.”

Ticket sales for the productions have been brisk so those wishing to take in a performance should visit Antigonish 5 ¢ to $1, MacKinnon’s Pharmasave or MacDonald’s Convenience in St. Andrews, and make their purchase soon.   

  

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