CAST & CREW – Happy As The Larks
Director’s Notes, Mike Dietrich
In this strange new world, one of the many things I missed tremendously was being involved with community theatre. So, when one of the producers of Happy as the Larks called me to inquire if I would be interested in directing a radio play, I jumped at the chance. Not only was it a welcome opening to become re-united with the theatre but it was also a great opportunity to gain new experience.
Happy as the Larks was written specifically as a radio play, in the style of pre-television radio comedies. One of the “benefits” of directing an audio production was that we didn’t have to be concerned with stage blocking, set design, set dressing and props, costumes, make-up and hair or lighting. This is also one of the drawbacks, because without visual clues aiding the telling the story, the entire success of an audio production lays on voice, music and sound effects. Luckily, the cast of Happy as the Larks are seasoned and consummate community theatre actors who rose to the challenge with vigour and professional acumen, making them an easy cast to direct for a first-timer.
We had a rare honour for community theatre, of being joined in our initial read-through by the playwright, Greg Finnegan. He provided the cast and crew with interesting insight into the characters and how he developed them, and we appreciated his interest in our production.
Happy as the Larks is a fast-paced comedy that takes us into the home of the Lark family where Aunt Fran is hoping to find love within the local fire brigade. Her antics come under the watchful eye of her disapproving nephew Larry, his sceptical wife May and their supportive daughter June. You’ll have to tune in to see if Fran manages to “reel-in” her rescuer, fireman Franklin . . .
I thoroughly enjoyed directing this production and I wish to thank my awesome cast Carol Fowler, Kelly Kijek, Christian Ostaffy, Lesley Lee, Sharron MacLeod and Lyndon Bzdel for making it seem easy as well as fun. I’d also like to thank my technical director, Charles Harman, who without his skill, perseverance and diligence, none of this would have come to pass. A special note of gratitude as well to co-producers Dave Ehrismann and Bruce Ormond who rose to the organizational and logistical challenges caused by the pandemic and allowed us to once again, be involved in community theatre!
Lyndon B. served as Director on the LLT Board for three years, volunteered as a Stage Manager for several productions and co-facilitated the LLT “Off The Cuff” Improv Group.
Aunt Fran Lark
The cast & crew of Happy As The Larks enjoyed having Carol’s participation as Aunt Fran, hopes she found it to be a fun experience and thanks Carol for her time and commitment.
Many thanks to Charles for all his time putting all the sounds together for the Larks family as well as writing and composing the musical assortment.
Wilbur Franklin (fireman & gentleman caller)
Pre-Covid times, Kelly was last seen portraying the part of Felix Unger in Neil Simon’s classic and seminal comedy The Odd Couple via the Nanaimo Theatre Group in October of 19′. Now, in Covid times, Kelly has a face for radio while inhabiting the part of Wilbur Franklin in Happy As The Larks written by Greg Finnegan and directed by Mike Dietrich. Kelly hopes you are as engaged listening to this play as he enjoyed being in it with such a wonderful and supportive cast and crew. Enjoy the show!
Lesley last appeared onstage at Ladysmith Little Theatre in Spring Shorts, and her voice can sometimes be heard in the radio plays The Chat and Blackout. She appreciates the opportunity to participate in these radio plays and to connect, at least digitally, with theatre friends and our audiences. A big bonus is not having to memorize her lines! Thank you to our director Mike, sound editor Chuck, playwright Greg, and fellow members of the Lark family and the fire department.
Sharron has been in a few Little Ladysmith Theater performances such as Dorothy Gets Scrooged, Divorce Sale and Musical of Musicals and has spent some time in the booth helping with tech as Lighting Operator.
She has always enjoyed her time volunteering on and off the stage. Being a voice actor in Happy As The Larks is a new and exciting adventure in her theatrical journey. She hopes you enjoy this lovely little story and thanks you for supporting local theater at this strange and unusual time in our history. May you stay safe and she looks forward to seeing you all live and in person one day soon.
Last seen (or heard from) in Ladysmith Little Theatre’s radio play production of Black Out, here he is, again. Christian Ostaffy as Larry Lark in this fun filled, fast paced comedy, Happy As The Larks. Oh, the lengths some people will go to for romance. “Do you smell smoke?”
Happy as the Larks radio play marks Mike’s directorial debut. Previously he designed and operated stage lighting at Ladysmith Little Theatre and he’s performed in LLT’s The Musical of Musicals, The Musical, Divorce Sale, Absolutely, Perhaps and Once Upon a Mattress as well as Nanaimo Theatre Group’s The Odd Couple. Mike had a lot of fun working with the cast and crew on this production and thanks them for their hard work and dedication to the craft and for their patience with the “newbie”. He also thanks the Producers for allowing him the opportunity to expand his theatrical experience and to his husband Ted ♥ for his zealous and unbridled support and encouragement. And, thank you Bill ♥.