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Pranks, blanks and bullets drive the plot When the Reaper Calls (11 photos)

In this Arts and Culture feature we dropped by Guelph Little Theatre to chat with director Doug Feggans during the dress rehearsal of When the Reaper Calls that opens tonight and runs from Jan 23 - Feb 2

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry,” wrote Scottish poet and philosopher Robbie Burns.  

In Guelph Little Theatre’s presentation of When the Reaper Calls we are reminded that the same is true of poorly laid plans. 

“It involves two philosophy professors, Victor and Harlan, who have known each other for years,” said director Doug Feggans. “They used to pull pranks and all sorts of stuff together in college and Victor is sick and tired of his friend Harlan who has become stoic and boring.” 

Victor has devised an elaborate prank to reawaken his old friend’s youthful spirit and he plans to pull it on him while they are vacationing with their wives at a remote mountain cabin in BC.

“The play starts with Victor coming in and he immediately takes out a gun from his fishing tackle box and starts playing with it,” said Feggans. “Harlan’s wife Colleen comes in and asks why he brought a gun with him.  ‘It’s for your husband,’ Victor responds. ‘Your husband is going to shoot me tonight.’"

He urges her to go along with the prank by suggesting the experience might reignite passions in Harlan he has been suppressing since his bitter divorce from his first wife. There is, however, an unforeseen glitch in the plan when Victor’s wife Dora eavesdrops on their conversation and becomes suspicious of her husband’s relationship with his old friend’s young new bride.

“Victor and Dora have been married for a long time and they are having a lot of marital difficulty,” said Feggans. “She suspects him of affairs and she also heard him talking about the gun and the blanks. ‘Blanks eh? I am going to fix you.’”  

Victor carries on with the prank unaware of the twist of fate awaiting him.

“He does everything to push Harlan’s buttons and I don’t want to give away anymore but it is a very twisty-turny play,” said Feggans. “The audience at intermission will be coming out wondering what happened.”

Feggans has been involved in dramatic and musical theatre since he was in high school and has teamed up with his wife and producer Donna Feggans to bring this production of When the Reaper Calls to Guelph Little Theatre from Jan 23 - Feb 2.

 “It is my first direction here and I have to say right off the bat I have a fantastic cast,” he said. “We moved here three years ago and I have been looking for a venue to do what I have been doing at other places. They gave me this opportunity but I didn’t know what to expect in terms of talent.  We are really, really happy.”

He describes When the Reaper Calls as a well-crafted murder, mystery, comedy with an emphasis on comedy.

“The play is Canadian written by Peter Colley,” said Feggans. “He is quite a prolific writer. He has written a lot of murder mysteries and he has also written a couple librettos for musicals. He and I have been communicating back and forth and we are delighted that he is coming up on Sunday for closing.” 

The cast includes; John Settle as Prof. Victor Pierce, Christina Jackson as Dora Pierce, Ken Cameron as Prof. Harlan Brandstater, Rachel Chin as Colleen Brandstater and Amy Rechtshaffen as Officer McGuire.

For a schedule of performances and a list of other GLT productions visit