Far From The Tree production of Cariboo Magi
How do we find ourselves again when the landmarks of our identity have been lost? At the tail end of the California Gold Rush, Fanny DuBeau is drowning in bills and facing foreclosure on her saloon when she intercepts a theatre contract meant for The Pageant Players, offering a tidy sum to perform a Christmas play in Barkerville, British Columbia. She immediately recruits three other lost souls to impersonate the theatre troupe and claim their profits: William Teller, a defrocked Anglican minister who has traded his gold cross for drink, Marta Reddy, a child star who’s outgrown her roles in more ways than one, and Joe Mackey, a Canadian miner who claims to be the last of the Mohicans. Together, they journey up through the Canadian wilderness, rehearsing a dizzying pastiche of mismatched plays, braving wolves, weather and frostbite, and somehow finding themselves along the way.
Cariboo Magi, written by Lucia Frangione, is a presentation of Far From The Tree Productions, a new theatre company started by sisters, Shelby and Joelle Wyminga. Shelby says, “My sister Joelle and I started this company with a desire to produce theatre that is environmentally sustainable and minimalist in nature while still maintaining the highest artistic standard. Our mandate is to create honest, intimate theatre that explores the complexity of human relationships, particularly those bonds within family whether defined by blood, choice, or circumstance. We are thrilled to present this hysterical and heartwarming Christmas farce as our inaugural production. Gift wrapped in wit and whimsy, the core of this story is an exploration of the enduring, Canadian question of identity.”
“Cariboo Magi takes on new resonance for me now, twenty years later,” writes playwright Lucia Frangione, “. . . what it means to be Canadian and what the mosaic tries to be, can be and fails to be.” The show is “authentically Canadian,” says actor Zach Running Coyote, “in all the goodness and hope, and messiness and ugliness that that entails.”
Cariboo Magi is driven by its vibrant, flawed and infinitely relatable cast of characters. Emerging director, Joelle Wyminga, describes them as “four people who have lost the thing that has defined them and who are now forced to make the journey, both literally and metaphorically, to rediscover their identity.” The frigid air sizzles between the members of this bizarre foursome as they are forced to rely on one another for survival, finding a home in the unlikeliest of places.
Cariboo Magi runs from Dec 4 – 14 at The Havana Theatre in Vancouver. For more info, www.farfromthetreeproductions.com.