Some people take to the couch to make it through the dark winter nights. Some go to sunny southern climes to shake off the doldrums. The folks at Christ Church Players in Dartmouth put on a show.
For weeks, the church hall has been a hive of activity as cast and crew put long hours in rehearsing, painting sets and sewing up the finishing touches on their costumes in preparation for ‘Hello Dolly'.
"Winter can be long in Nova Scotia," said Yvonne Delo, who plays Dolly in the show. "This is a great way for families to spend time together doing something fun."
Set in New York at the turn of the 20th century, ‘Hello Dolly' tells the story of Dolly Gallagher Levi, a self-described meddling matchmaker, who is trying to find a match for Horace Vandergelder, a well-known "half-a-millionaire". As the plot unfolds, of course it becomes clear Dolly is looking to marry Vandergelder herself.
In the Christ Church Players' production, Yvonne Delo's husband, Bruce Delo, plays Horace Vandergelder in a funny "life imitating art" kind of way.
The Delos have a long history with the theatrical group, going back to 1996 and the production of Wizard of Oz, when their children first got involved.
"I was a 'munchkin rangler' backstage back then," Yvonne said. "At some point I decided it would be more fun to be onstage."
Bothe Bruce and Yvonne have taken on major roles in many performances over the years since then.
"The panic always hits at some point, but it's loads of fun," Yvonne said.
Larry Graham is directing this year's show, as he has done for every production since Christ Church Players first formed in 1995. Well-trained in managing the chaos in the final weeks before a show, Graham knows this final week will involve 12-hours days and not much sleep.
"We always start off easy...by the end I pretty much live here," Graham said.
Drawing the cast mainly from the church congregation, Graham has become an expert in recruiting new cast members over the years.
"I'll approach someone and ask ‘Can you sing? And they'll say ‘No' and then I'll ask ‘Can you dance?' and they'll say ‘No' and I'll say ‘Great, you're perfect. We have a whole group of people here who can't sing and dance'," Graham said, with a chuckle.
All joking aside, during a sneak peek at the show in rehearsal, the cast look and sound fantastic.
"We share a lot of fun. It's become part of our community here, part of what we do," Graham said.
It can have far-reaching effects too. Two of Bruce and Yvonne Delo's three sons enjoyed their early theatrical experiences at Christ Church so much they went on to Dalhousie University's theatre school, and staged separate shows in last year's Atlantic Fringe Festival.
The show is playing at Christ Church Hall on Ochterloney St. and runs Feb. 28, Mar.1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m., with a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets at $15 at the door, or call 466-2159 for more information.