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Production explores resilience in an old-west setting

Guelph Little Theatre multi-media production 'The Man Who Shot Chance Delaney' opens May 23
Theatre Curtain
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On May 23, Guelph Little Theater (GLT) opens its final mainstage performance of the season, The Man Who Shot Chance Delaney.  The production stages a storytelling delight penned by Canadian playwright Ian Weir. Wier’s clever script interweaves two stories: one set in the early 1900s and the other set in the Old West.

The show uses the theme of storytelling to explore resilience and hope in this play for adult and teen audiences.

Director Denise Gismondi and assistant director Bev Maintenay have created a production that draws the audience into the stories of each character. Each member of the six-person cast portrays one character in the first story and several in the Old West story, all without costume changes or even leaving the stage in most cases. Director Denise observes, “This is storytelling magic at it’s finest. The audience will be profoundly moved through the humanity of the characters, while being entertained as well.“  

The minimalist set provides a malleable backdrop for the two stories woven into the play. When the action changes from a bar in Kansas to tales of heroes of old, the set pieces, costumes, and props are deployed as the elements of the storyteller's tale. Brooms become horses, keys and pipes become weapons and flexible costume pieces help transform mild mannered characters into larger than life supervillains.

The production incorporates video and image projections  that sweep the audience from one story to the next. Technical director D.J. Thomson says, “Weir’s story presents an engaging and fascinating conflict between fact and fiction and you never really know which one you are looking at! Creating the story-telling space to support this story has been beyond rewarding. Hats off to Denise and the cast who make the space come to life.”

To round out the experience, the production is hosting live country-western bands on May 24 and 25 (The Range Riders), and on May 31 and June 1 (Dan Badger). The bands will play one set before the show at 7 p.m. and another set after the show at about 10 p.m. The theatre lobby will be cleared for dancing and the cash-only bar will remain open after the show.

The Man Who Shot Chance Delaney runs May 23 to June 2 and is staged in two acts, with a total runtime of 90 minutes. Tickets are $22 and can be purchased online or in person at the box office. Complete details are available online.