It was a lovely moonlit summer night 20 years ago in Conception Bay, NL, where I first saw Salt-water Moon performed live on stage. I was thoroughly impressed by the two actors who memorized ninety minutes’ worth of dialogue between them in order to bring award-winning playwright David French’s writing to life so believably, and perform their roles so dynamically, that I was mesmerized for the duration of the show.
At the end, when the stage went to black and the lights came back up for the actors to take a bow, I was the first of the audience on my feet to give a standing ovation and with a grin from ear to ear. This magical piece of live theatre had successfully cast its spell on me, carrying me along the breadth of its tale like a boat being carried on the undulating flow of the Labrador sea, inciting a gamut of emotions within me as varied as the waves – sometimes caressing, sometimes crashing – upon the Newfoundland shore, and as vast as the stars in the heavens, alighting the night sky, culminating in a feeling of satisfaction and achievement, like I’d been on a real journey alongside the characters on stage... a journey “over the salt-water moon.”
I made a promise to myself that night that someday – “when the time was right, b’y!” – I’d play the role of Jacob Mercer in Salt-water Moon, lah! The next challenge would be to find an actress of high caliber to play the role of the heroine of the play, the beloved Mary Snow. It has been said that patience is a virtue. It’s also been said that hard work pays off and we reap what we sow. Well, 20 years after, you might say “the stars have aligned” because my dream has finally come true in the form of this tremendous opportunity to make my directorial debut, while also playing the role of Jacob Mercer in this, the first of Theatre NorthWest’s 2021-2022 Stage Reading Series. You might say “I got lucky” I believe that honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness are “how” we succeed when our preparation meets opportunity!
It was two months ago, on July 10, closing night of the stage reading of Botticelli in the Fire, directed by Julian Legere, in which I played the role of Poggio di Chullu, at Theatre NorthWest, that I pulled the proverbial trigger. After the show, still full of endorphins, adrenaline, and optimism, I ran the idea past Marnie Hamagami to present Salt-water Moon in the upcoming season’s Stage Reading Series. To my delight, I received a favourable response!
I went to work straight away in casting an actor in the role of Mary Snow, the female lead, without whom there would be no show! You might say “my ship came in” when actor/ singer/ choreographer/ director/ playwright, and TNW Artistic Associate Anna Russell graciously agreed to take on the pivotal role. In this timeless Canadian love story, will shame and resentment tear hearts apart, or will forgiveness and redemption triumph under the Salt-water Moon? Buy your tickets, invite your friends, and bring your nearest and dearest to the show to find out!
Tickets for Salt-water Moon, and for the rest of our Stage Reading Series, can be purchased at tickets.theatrenorthwest.com or by calling the TNW box office at (250) 563-6969 ext. 304.
Andrew Keilty will direct and star in the stage reading of Salt-water Moon on Sept. 17 and 18 at Theatre NorthWest.