10:30 a.m., Oct. 2)
Lamplight production an entertaining lesson in Canadian history
By Fred Sherwin
Dimitrijevic's character, Jozef Wysniski, comforts Robert Lough,
played by Tyler Smith, in Vintage Stock Theatre's latest lamplight
production, 'Divided Loyalty: The Rebellions of 1837 in Cumberland',
on this weekend at the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum. Fred
always thought of myself as being somewhat of a history buff, especially
when it comes to Canadian history which was one of my best subjects
in high school.
it's the passage of time, or perhaps I missed school that day, but
I don't recall learning anything about the Upper and Lower Canada
Rebellions of 1837.
my history class was as entertaining as Vintage Stock Theatre's latest
lamplight production "A Divided Loyalty: The Rebellions of 1837
in Cumberland", which continues on the grounds of the Cumberland
Heritage Village Museum this weekend.
is performed entirely by lamplight over the course of six vignettes
or scenes. In the first scene the play's narrator, a young boy played
by Tyler Smith, meets a stranger who has suffered an injury after
getting in a tussle with a dog.
the scene the stranger, played by Andre Dimitrijevic, tells the boy
he's Polish. We also learn that he came to Canada after fighting a
war in Poland in which their European allies failed to come to their
begins to tell Jozef, or Joe, about the Rebellions and how the local
residents formed a militia under Archibald Petrie to fight against
the rebels led by William Lyon Mackenzie and Louis-Joseph Papineau.
second scene, Archilbald reads the order outside the village church.
All able-bodied men are to muster in a field beside his house the
next day to begin training. But not everyone is exited about the idea
of being ordered to leave their farms to fight for the Crown, including
James McCrae who lives on the far side of Cumberland Township by the
Bear Brook. But when McCrae, played by Vintage Stock veteran John
Cook, tries to object his loyalties are immediately called into question.
until the third scene that the audience gets an idea of the intrigue
that permeated the area during 1837 and 1838. Nanette Lacroix is sympathetic
to the rebel cause. A resident of the Pontiac, she has come to see
her father and brothers to try and talk them out of fighting for the
loyalists, but first she tries to convince her stepmother Angélique
Lacroix, played by Ginette Davis.
of the best scenes of the play, the two woman each plead their case.
Angélique is terrified of the danger her stepdaughter will
put the family in, but Nanette, played by Sylvie Lapointe, is nonplused
by her stepmother's plea, is ready to defend the rebel cause no matter
what the consequences. When she leaves her father's house she runs
into Marie Edmond, a servant girl, who is also a rebel sympathizer,
played by Émélie Perron-Clow.
working in the Petrie household she overhears the planned troop movement
and writes it all down. Nanette tells her to take a boat across the
river and deliver the information to the rebel leaders.
scenes include a conversation between Archibald Petrie's wife, played
by Sarah Benfield and and Margaret Lough, played by Lynn Lebel, in
which the two women try to make sense of the conflict.
also a very funny scene showing the men fumbling through their drills
complaining about not getting enough to eat, or proper boots. As it
turns out their services won't be needed after all, the deciding battle
of the Upper Canada rebellion was fought without them and they can
go back to their farms.
for me to describe the final scene without giving the ending away,
but I can say that Smith's performance throughout the entire play
was absolutely outstanding, especially considering his age. He is,
indeed, one of the rising young stars in the east end theatre scene.
Dimitrijevic's performance was superb as well and together they were
long list of Vintage Stock Theatre lamplight productions I've seen
over the years, "Divided Loyalty" is by far the best. When
I went to see the play last Friday, there was a light drizzle falling
which only added to the mood.
Flemming's script is superb and the acting is top notch. In fact,
it is one of the best ensemble productions I have seen in some time.
All of which to say, if you are free any night this weekend and what
to be both entertained and educated, you see go out of your way to
see "Divided Loyalty". You will not be disappointed.
the people I've already mentioned, the rest of the cast includes Gord
Smith as Lieutenant White, Ian McGregor as Archibald Petrie and Scott
Kristjanson as William Lough. Hayden Smith and Michael Kavcic are
sharing the role of Reverend Bell.
mention as well to Ron Yuill, who is responsible for all the props
and making sure the lanterns are in working order, and Wendy Smith
and the rest of the custume and makeup crew who appear to have worked
overtime. Last but not least, kudos to all the lantern bearers who
toil away each year in total anonymity.
Divided Loyalty: The Rebellions of 1837 in Cumberland, continues
this Thursday, Friday and Saturday night at the Cumberland Heritage
Village Museum. Tickets are $15 each and showtime is 8 p.m. Please
not that the play is outdoors so you should dress appropriately.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local
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