High-pitched howls are about to echo off the hills near Armstrong, when Caravan Farm Theatre opens its 41st summer season with the romantic musical comedy, The Coyotes.
From the creators of Caravan past productions, The Ballad of Weedy Peetstraw and Law of the Land, The Coyotes, is a nuanced fairytale that brings back both familiar and new faces to the farm to tell the story of a family, a ghost, a bottomless well and a coyote that falls in love with a human.
“The Coyotes is a fantastical comedy with a lot of heart. It has an underlying theme of water and is set in the not-so-distant future when water is becoming scarcer, but it also has themes of hope, love, magic, and also hilarity in the form of three wily coyotes,” says Caravan artistic director Estelle Shook, who is helming the production.
“This is a fantasy staged in our gazebo, which sits out on a hill that is surrounded by trees. It will have beautiful, magical moments, emotionally stirring moments, and some theatrical surprises in store.”
Created by award-winning playwright Peter Anderson, with music by John Millard, the production stars a professional cast and crew hailing from Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and even Helsinki, Finland.
Natascha Girgis, who can be seen in Syfy’s hit show Wynonna Earp, has returned to Caravan to take on the part of the mother, Agnes, while Christine Quintana and Kaitlin Yott are back at the farm to play the daughters, Vida and Leoty.
“We are also proud to introduce Secwépemc storyteller and drummer Kenthen H. Thomas from the Neskonlith Nation, who will act as the ghost of their father,” says Shook.
Caravan veterans James Fagan Tait and Tom Jones play the so-called villains, Wanda and Bigelow, while Michael Kennard, Aaron Wells, and Anderson perform as the Coyotes, Muzzleguts, White Shadow and Slobberjaw, respectively.
“They have gotten a little older over the years, but no wiser, and at the same time they are eternal and still imbued with their undying trickster spirit,” says Anderson, who created the original coyote characters in 1978.
Along with props and masks made by award-winning mask-maker, Melody Anderson, the production crew includes Molly March (set design), Tracey Power (choreography), Victoria Wallace, (costumes design), Jillian White (lighting design), Jan Hodgson (stage manager), and Geoff Jones (assistant stage manager). Performing the original musical numbers are Matti Pulkki on accordion, Ajineen Sagal on violin, and Marguerite Witvoet on piano.
The Coyotes takes the outdoor stage at Caravan Farm Theatre from July 16 to Aug. 11 (no performances on Mondays). Gates open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30. Tickets are available by calling the Caravan box office toll-free at 1-866-546-8533 or order online at www.caravanfarmtheatre.com.