From racing street rods to steering a fun play

By Geoff Lee

November 10, 2016 12:00 AM

It will take at least another year before Matt Newman can direct a play with fast cars and motorcycles in it.
Newman is a Street Rod Technologies program instructor at Lakeland College in Vermilion,  who teaches students about restoration, preservation and customization of vehicles.
“So there is an artistic component to that,” he said noting his other creative passion is theatre.”
Newman is directing an upcoming comedy play called What Is Susan’s Secret that has no souped up vehicles in it, but he joked he might put cars in his next play.
“We might have to—anything to get people out,” he said.
What is Susan’s Secret is a joint presentation by the Vic Juba Community Players and the theatre itself to run from Nov. 16-18 with show times at 7:30 p.m.
“It’s a fundraiser for the theatre and sustainability for the players,” said Newman.
It will kick off Nov. 16 with a show only followed by back to back dinner and theatre options with theatre tickets sold separately for $25 for adults or $10 for students.
The dinner to be served at 6 p.m. is a $35 add on with cocktails starting at 5:30 p.m.
“The catering is done by the college and it’s a fantastic meal down in the cafeteria and then enjoy the play,” said Newman who calls “highly entertaining.”
The play is about a couple who own an inn and con tradesmen who book rooms for a discount special,  into doing renovations for them.
Newman says the audience can expect it to be absolutely hilarious.
“Obviously, the elderly couple is conning all of these peoples that are coming and in some cases, the tables try to get turned, and in some cases they do get turned.”
He noted the couples that show up for the special are quite odd and unusual characters so there’s humour in that as well.
What Is Susan’s Secret will be the second play Newman has directed but he’s acted in several others.
“I enjoy the theatre,” he said.
There are 14 actors in this year’s Christmas play with practices three times a week that started in September in available space.
Currently, the cast is using the old Lloydminster Nut and Bolt shop in the Glenn E. Neilson Industrial park for rehearsals after their first space got rented out.
“We don’t need much for space—we need a warehouse-type facility,” said Newman.
“Our sets are 10 feet tall and we just need somewhere to call home so we can set up once and run through the physical aspects of it.”
He said with comedy, there’s lots of fast action that happens.
“In this one, there’s six doors and an extra entry, so seven entries for people to come and go and the timing of that has to be quick, otherwise the play goes slowly,” said Newman.
The toughest roles in the play are the innkeeper couple named Michael and Susan played by J. Barr and Jacqueline Bruce who have the most lines to learn.
“My leading lady and man have a tremendous amount of lines and they’re funny lines and they’re are confusing lines—it’s a tough road for them,” said Newman.
Ironically, the authors of the play have the same first names, Michael and Susan Parker.

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