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Theatre Orangeville presents The Third Life of Eddie Mann

July 8, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Up next at Theatre Orangeville, the second of two one act plays, filmed so skillfully, the feeling of actually being in the theatre is closer than one might ever imagine possible.

These are, as Artistic Director, David Nairn explained, the interim step between the “Cabaret” shows they produced since September 2020 and the two live theatre plays, for which tickets are already on sale.

We had the chance to chat with playwright, John Spurway, author of this one act play, who told us, “This is part of Theatre Orangeville’s interim step between the earlier music shows and live theatre. It’s shorter than Kirsten’s [da Silva, who wrote The Rules of Playing Risk]. It was originally written for a one act play writing contest and it did well in the Ottawa competition.

“Since then, after David asked me to offer it, I did substantial re-writes. We workshopped it online –there was some good discussion. Then, I sent it to David, who really liked it.”

All art comes from a deep place, often compared to a birth: “I have a soft spot for this play,” said Mr. Spurway, “It’s a comedy; it’s not slapstick – pie in the face. It’s gentle but comedy nonetheless.

“It’s a little different,” he admitted.

“The sense of it: it opens with a guy standing on the ledge of a hospital six floors up. This is Eddie Mann. He was a teacher and when he retired, he became a financial advisor but not a very good one. In this moment, he just lost his only client; so, he’s depressed.”

Not necessarily to talk Eddie out of jumping, “a guy comes along and engages him in conversation out a window; tells him ‘go ahead and jump.’”

What ensues is the introduction of “Angel” and the rest is for you to discover.

Baseball is almost a third party to the discourse between Angel and Eddie Mann as Angel proposes that life is baseball, that there are parallels between baseball and life. In due course, Angel comes out of the window and sits next to Eddie, six storeys up – so they have this conversation.

Explaining that the inspiration for this play began when he wanted to write something for a contest, added to that, he and others went to a baseball game in Florida.

As Mr. Spurway explained, “Baseball is a sub plot of the whole thing. I went to an exhibition game and watched a lot of young players trying to impress the scouts and coaches in an effort to make the team and eventually ‘go to the show.’ I could see each of them had a lot riding on this game and I wondered about how those who didn’t make it would feel? If they lose hope, what is it to lose hope? How do you get talked out of that? Also, a friend of mine was a teacher who went into financial planning as a model for Eddie [in his second life].”

This is a heartwarming play, food for thought.

What John Spurway wants for it, “First of all, I want [the audiences] to enjoy it – just think about the theme of hope and family and come away a little bit refreshed and happy about the way it all turned out. I’m really pleased about this being done here.”

After funding was pulled at the last moment of a clean energy research company, where Mr. Spurway was doing research, closing it in 2016, he said presently, “Any work I do is all writing. I’ve got some ideas and I’ve got a couple of plays on the go – always.”

He was pleased to mention that in Victoria B.C., at the Victoria Play House, his play, Off the Grid, is running. It runs all summer through to September because of small audiences, we learned.

Actor David Rosser, playing the role of Eddie Mann, is excited to finally be doing a play with Stephen Sparks, who’s performing as Angel.

“We’ve seen each other in lots of places, just passing when we were in different productions but this is the first time we’ve been acting together and, actually, our two characters are just the two [of] them on stage for most of the play,” Mr. Rosser told the Citizen. “Stephen’s character is pretty quirky…”

Mr. Rosser enjoys the humour in Eddie Mann, “It’s a great play,” was his comment. “We’re really enjoying doing it.”

Rehearsals of the play had begun in the rehearsal hall, when things were shut down again. Learning a play and then having to take a break is not necessarily good for staying “off book.”

“Stephen and I went through it on [Face time] and he came over so we could work on it on the veranda – at a safe distance.” He added, “Of course Norah [Sheehan, wife and also an actor] commented as we went along.”

He told us, as an aside, that he and Ms. Sheehan were both working on organizing a commercial business during the pandemic but are longing, as we all are, to be back in the theatre.

“It’s very different to act on stage without an audience. We really miss the energy,” said Mr. Rosser.

Jeffrey Wetsch is the third hand in The Three Lives of Eddie Mann, a lesser role but bringing the unexpected to the tale. Mr. Wetsch comes to any part with a long list of roles on the stages of major theatres across the country and, more recently, in film and television.

For details and to purchase your virtual tickets for the Three Lives of Eddie Mann, go to: or call the box office at 519-942-3423.

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