THE CAST: Linda Gehringer, Corey Brill, Kyle T. Hester, Daniel Chung and Corey Dorris.
To bring to life Adam Bock’s new comedy, The Canadians, the five cast members wear a lot of different hats. Literally. They portray more than 15 different characters and go through more than 40 costume changes during the show.
This hilarious romp from the Great White North to the Caribbean follows Canadian Gordy, who's more interested in The Magic Flute and pottery classes than he is in Thursday night hockey and beers in Winnipeg. When he embarks on an all-expenses paid gay cruise with his pal, Brendan, and a shipload of memorable characters, it's possible that small chances could lead to big changes if Gordy can step out of his comfort zone.
To a person, the cast members love how award-winning Bock writes—colorful, funny, details and moments, true to life. Read below as the actors talk about The Canadians, the playwright and whether they could find a line from the Canadian national anthem, “O, Canada,” to use in everyday conversation.
I portray Bobby, Trish, Andy, a White Rabbit and a Man on Deck Nine.
My SCR credits include Shakespeare in Love, Office Hour, Of Good Stock, Five Mile Lake, Smokefall and Pride and Prejudice.
My other credits include The Best Man and Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (Broadway), Cabaret (national tour); performances at numerous theatres including The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Antaeus Theatre Company, The Old Globe, Hartford Stage and Williamstown Theatre Festival; and “The Walking Dead,” “Chicago P.D.,” “CSI: Miami” and The Normal Heart (HBO).
Things in this play that make me laugh are the consonants. But also the vowels. No, seriously: try saying “F**king work instead of hockey? J***s Murphy” a few times and see if you don’t smile at the musicality of the experience.
What I love about Adam’s [Bock] writing are the moments when his characters passionately discuss the small, but important, details of their lives. There’s something about these exchanges that feels very true-to-life—and, while they seem tiny, they add up to something much larger.
I’ve never been on a cruise, but I was a canoe guide in Ontario for two summers in my youth—that must count for something in this world. In fact, I think my first beer was a Molson. Ah, the memories!
Would I use a phrase from “O, Canada” in conversation? Hmmm. With all those references to defending the True North and standing guard, I guess I’d wait for “Game of Thrones” to come up as a topic!
I don’t have a favorite cruise ship drink, but I’d love to research this!
I portray Brendan.
This is my SCR debut, although I was in the NewSCRipts and Pacific Playwrights Festival readings of The Canadians.
My other credits include Office Hour at Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Long Wharf Theatre.
There’s always something new and different that makes me laugh about this play. Whether in Manitoba or on the cruise ship, the characters, if related or not, feel like they’re in a family; and these family members have a particular earnestness that just makes me laugh; it's even funnier because family is always funny.
What I love about Adam’s [Bock] writing is that it’s an actor’s ideal playground. Ostensibly, the writing may seem simple at times, but we have found that there is so much to unearth for each character. I've truly enjoyed that exploration of these characters' lives.
I haven’t been on a cruise ship, but I’ve been on a much smaller vessel. My favorite memory is lying under the sun, enjoying a beautiful breeze and viewing the blue, blue water.
I’ll rephrase a line from “O, Canada” so it reads “From far and wide, O Ketchup Chips, we stand on guard for thee.”
I portray Beth, Little Harry, Wally and a Man on Deck Nine.
This is my SCR debut, although I was in a reading at the 2019 Pacific Playwrights Festival for Melissa Ross's Unlikable Heroine.
My other credits include Dutch Masters (Rogue Machine Theatre); Trail to Oregon (off-Broadway); The Guy Who Didn’t Like Musicals; “Futureman,” “The Grinder” and “Stuck in the Middle.”
The characters in the play make me laugh because they’re funny and they take up a lot of space—unabashedly so. Seeing them interact with each other, and especially the characters who don't take up as much space, is really fun.
Adam writes the characters to have the potential to be extremely big, but he sprinkles in moments where they show us who they really are, deep down, and why they care. Those are gifts to us as actors because not only is it a challenge, where we get to play both sides, but it also helps us easily add dimension to the characters.
I recently went on a party cruise for a few hours. I remember another cruise ship passed by ours and there was a black tie affair happening on board. I could see every single person on the other cruise ship stop what they were doing to look at us, with jaws dropped. I'm not sure what we were doing that was so interesting, but I hope to bring some of that to the play!
Now, about a favorite cruise ship drink, those sound expensive. Can I sneak my own on board?!
I portray Johnny, Mayor Claudette, Oliver, Indian Princess and a Man on Deck Nine.
My SCR credits include 21 productions! Most recently The Roommate, Going to a Place where you Already Are and How to Write a New Book for the Bible.
My other credits include Lady in Denmark (Goodman Theatre); Vicuña (Kirk Douglas Theatre); Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; Surf Report; The Women; “S.W.A.T.,” “Fear the Walking Dead,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Justified,” “The West Wing” and Into the Storm.
What makes me laugh about this play is the fact that it’s so unique and original and surprising. This is comedy with heart and meaning—my favorite!
I love Adam’s [Bock] writing because it is lean and so, so colorful. He creates a whole, beautiful world with very little.
I have never been on a real cruise, but I have been out on a whale-watching boat. We were sailing in huge waves and my whole family, including grandkids, ran to the front of the boat. I stayed back and prayed they would live (!) and they DID!!!
How would I use a line from “O, Canada”? I think it would be “With glowing hearts we see thee rise, and hope The Canadians will rise with thee”!
While I don’t really like fruity drinks that seem to be served on cruises, I do love how beautiful those drinks are. So, if I had to choose one, I’d pick a drink that had the most color!
Kyle T. Hester
This is my SCR
debut, although I was in the 2019 Pacific Playwrights Festival reading of The Canadians—
My other credits
include Wild Goose Dreams, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
and Death and Cockroaches.
The deep investments in little moments in this play make me laugh.
Like Brendan warning me, Gordy, not to use my cell phone in international waters—as though my life were in danger. Or Johnny and Bobby announcing the arrival of Nadine, with wild, ferocious relief. Even Wally losing his actual mind when he realizes there’s a shrimp bar at the party.
What do I like most about how Adam [Bock] writes?
Aside from the fact that he’s just plain hilarious? Adam knows how to create layers: little words like "Huh" or "Okay" become miniature worlds of meaning that express a huge range of contradictory and immensely human emotions. A simple everyday phrase that we might have heard earlier in the play, without really taking note of it, is suddenly imbued with some new, beautiful meaning the second time we encounter it. Pain and joy push up against each other in really satisfying and unexpected ways, and there's always something new to discover the longer and deeper you look.
How would I use a phrase from “O, Canada” in general conversation?
Well, if I was at the gym and I saw a particularly beautiful man doing squats, I might murmur to myself, “O, Canada!” in a lusty whisper.
I don’t have a favorite cruise ship memory because,
unfortunately, I’ve never been on a cruise ship. Can you tell from my performance?!!
But, with regard to cruise ship drinks,
I would ensure that, no matter what time of day it was, I would constantly have a margarita in one hand and a piña colada in the other. This is why it's probably good I've never been on a cruise ship!
Learn more about The Canadians and buy tickets.