Kim MacMillan, Randy Brogden, Julia Body and Lois Archer-Duell rehearse a scene ahead of Shuswap Theatre’s upcoming production A Red Plaid Shirt on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. (Jim Elliot - Salmon Arm Observer)

Shuswap Theatre tackles challenges of keeping busy in retirement

A Red Plaid Shirt offers humorous and heartwarming look at adjusting to life after career

By Barb Brouwer

Contributor

Trading a career for retirement is not always easy, but it can be funny.

In A Red Plaid Shirt, Shuswap Theatre’s next MainStage production, two friends have left the workforce and aren’t quite sure how they are going to fill in their time.

Used to their careers forming their identities – days loom long for the English teacher and the accountant.

“In general, people look forward to retiring, but when they get there, it sometimes kind of smacks them in the face and they’re at a loss as to what to do,” says director Frank Manning, who has been with Shuswap Theatre since 1981. “While it is a comedy, there are issues.”

Marty has been retired for six months and decides he wants to buy a motorcycle. But his wife is concerned about danger and that their relationship will suffer because he wants to do things on his own. She gives into his plan but buys a sidecar.

Fred has been retired for a year and his relief from boredom is hypochondria, says Manning.

“They get together to try to find something productive to do and, despite the fact they have never had a hammer in their hands, take a woodworking course,” he adds, pointing out there are some incredibly funny scenes between the spouses, one of whom makes clear she married for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, but not for 24-7.

“Both couples have been married for over 30 years and what appeals to me are the hilarious moments we recognize in ourselves,” Manning says.

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The talented cast well known to Shuswap audiences, includes Kim McMillan, Julia body, Randy Brogden and Lois Archer-Duell.

Also a retired English teacher, Manning says it is difficult to find plays that are appropriate to the age group and that the play about retirement resonated with him.

But he assures, the heartwarming and funny play is appropriate for younger adults as well. And everyone is encouraged to get into the spirit of the play by wearing their own plaid shirt to the play!

A Red Plaid Shirt runs Feb. 21 to 23, Feb. 27 to March 1 and March 5 to 7 at 7:30 p.m. except for Sundays when there is a 1:30 p.m. matinee only.

Tickets are available online or at the theatre’s new downtown ticket seller Re-Market at 121 Hudson Ave, which is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Randy Brogden and Kim MacMillan rehearse a scene as their characters Marty and Fred for the upcoming Shuswap Theatre production A Red Plaid Shirt on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. (Jim Elliot - Salmon Arm Observer)

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