The game of love 

Modern-day romance plays out in the bleachers

What: Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad

When: Saturday, March 22, 8 p.m.

Where: MY Millennium Place

Tickets: $29.50 adults, $24 students, seniors, WAC members

Waking up at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning, lugging a smelly bag of hockey gear into the minivan, and sitting around on hard, ice-cold bleachers — it’s the Canadian way of life.

A new performance coming to Whistler later this month truly captures the spirit of this hockey-loving country, and throws a bit of romance and laughter in, for good measure.

Bill Millerd is artistic managing director for the Arts Club Theatre, and the director of Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad, which is being presented as part of the Whistler Arts Council’s Performance Series. The series brings an eclectic range of theatre, music, dance and comedy performances by professional Canadian and international touring artists at an affordable price.

The story is set in Trail, B.C., where Donna and Teddy, both single parents recovering from failed relationships, meet at the rink while watching their sons play pee wee hockey. The audience follows the development of their relationship, which unfolds over a series of practices and games, amidst cheers, jeers and shoot-outs.

“(Donna) arrives in the town and decides she’s going to enroll her son… in this same pee wee league, and the dad notices that she’s on her own,” Millerd explains. “He’s kind of an outgoing, boisterous type… so he goes over in the hockey rink and he meets her, and the play basically covers their relationship as they get to know each other and the ups and downs of any kind of budding relationship.”

This realistic, modern love story is set entirely within the bleachers at the rink, with the overprotective Donna and the competitive Teddy gazing out at the audience — where their sons are “skating.” Between shouts of encouragement — and worried warnings from Donna — they share personal information about their past relationships and struggles, and take hesitant steps back into the world of dating.

Michael Melski, an award-winning writer and filmmaker from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, wrote the play. Melski has also been a playwright-in-residence at the Shaw Festival and Shakespeare by the Sea, published multiple plays, and written for film and television.

Since the entire performance centres on the interaction between two characters, played by Jackson Davies and Cailin Stadnyk, it means the actors have to work well together. Millerd says this isn’t a problem.

“I’m blessed with two wonderful actors,” says Millerd. “…They just hit it off, their chemistry is very palpable on stage, and that’s what really makes it work. There are moments that are hilarious, but there are also moments that are touching, and when you have two actors that can bring that to you, then it makes my job so much easier.”

Davies has appeared in more then 150 stage productions, including over 30 Arts Club Theatre Company productions. He has also appeared in more than 300 television shows and 35 made-for-television movies and feature films.

Stadnyk has worked extensively throughout Western Canada, and has done motion-capture work for Rainmaker Animation, appearing as “the body” of Barbie for nearly seven years, and many other characters for various animated movies, television shows and video games.

Kicking off with a rousing rendition of the Canadian national anthem, Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad is a show that appeals to people of all ages, and promises to please hockey and romance lovers alike.

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