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Irish Play for St. Paddy's Day

By Celina Ip

The Knights of Columbus are back in full swing with their traditional Irish Play, just in time to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.


For the past 116 years, the Knights of Columbus Dramatic Club have been entertaining the Ottawa Valley with their Irish Play – an annual comedic and musical production – during the week of St. Patrick’s Day.

This year, the dramatic troupe is presenting Nana’s Naughty Knickers, a comedic play that was originally produced at the Rainbow Dinner Theatre in Pennsylvania in the Spring of 2010.

The slick comedy tells the story of Bridget and her grandmother who are about to become roommates for the summer, before Bridget enters law school. During her stay, Bridget discovers that her grandma has a great zest for life as a secret about her life comes out – that even grandma’s best friend Vera was unaware of.

The eight-member cast includes Arijana Haramincic, Kelly Coulas, Kaeli Mulvaney-Courtois, Mike Taylor, Mike Zabloski, Anna Clinton, Flynn Fortier and Dave Harris.

After supporting the production in an acting role for the past 10 years, first-time director Elizabeth Reid said that she was pleased and honoured to accept the baton from Muriel Verch and be invited to serve as this year’s play director.

“This is my first year as director, but I’ve been involved with it for about 10 years in various capacities both on stage and off. Muriel Verch was the previous director for 25 years and after she decided to step down so that she could just enjoy watching the play, the invited me to be the director,” said Reid. “To me it means carrying on the tradition as it's a good community event with the Knights of Columbus and they help out other non-profit organizations so I feel it's an important thing to keep going. What I have found is that people just enjoy it and it's a regular event that happens every year and as you can tell by the dynamic in the room, a lot of people have been coming here their whole lives and I don’t think they’ve missed a play since they were a kid. So it's really nice for them to come and share this year after year with us and it’s really become a community tradition.”

This year’s production rolled out with their matinee debut on March 11. Following introductions from Reid and Mayor Mike LeMay, the audience was entertained by a round of reels, jigs, singsong and fiddling fun, before the play began.

“Current research has indicate that humour, specifically laughter, counteracts the devastation of stress on the body and the immune system. Laughter is one of our great healers,” said LeMay. “Congratulations and thanks to you for providing this preventative medicine year after year to members of our community.”

The remaining shows will take place on March 15, 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m. All performances are being held at the Knights of Columbus Hall (170 Ellis Avenue) in Pembroke.

Tickets are $15 advance and $18 at the door, and are available at all three of Mulvihill's Pharmacies in Pembroke, the CNIB Corner Store in Walmart and O'Grady's Flowers and Gift Baskets in Eganville. 

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