When Karen Slater sat down to write her first play, she decided to explore a subject she knew a lot about — her family.
In particular, she wanted to explore her relationships with her children.
“When my kids left the nest, they flew back a few times over the years. After a while we sort of wondered whether if, at any time, they would actually fly out and find a home of their own,” says the community theatre veteran/mother of two grown children who has combined her family experiences with her writing ability to create Harold, a play about a son who wants to make a life of his own, and a doting mother not willing to let him go.
“I’m excited with my first play. It’s about mothers who sometimes don’t really know when it’s time for their kids to fly from the nest,” says Slater, adding that Harold is part of Random Acts, a performance of one-act plays being put on by the Harbourfront Players at the Harbourfront Theatre in Summerside March 1-2 and 8-9.
Appropriately enough, it stars Slater and her real-life son, who is thrilled to be part of the show.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever been in a play. And the only reason I am doing it is to support my mother,” says Brent, 34.
“I thought it was a big deal that Mom had an opportunity to perform her play at such a great venue, with such a great director. So I thought I would throw my hat in and see if I could live up to what they needed,” says Brent adding that although the play has some resemblance to reality, it’s a work of fiction.
“The thing I most like about this play is it’s not one-sided. At the beginning of the play it seems like Harold is the most pathetic. He needs attention and can’t really do anything for himself. But when this (behaviour) disappears, the mother finds that something missing from her life. So it’s about co-dependence,” says Brent.
The director is pleased with Slater’s work.
“It’s about moms and sons, and God knows how complicated those relationships are,” says Marlane O’Brien, adding it’s one of five plays being presented over four nights.
Harold joins Visitors from Chicago by Neil Simon and James McClure’s Laundry and Bourbon at the Harbourfront Theatre on March 1 at 7:30 p.m. and March 9 at 2 p.m.
Slater’s play will be featured alongside Visitor from Philadelphia, another Simon work, and Still Life by Noel Coward on March 2 at 2 p.m. and March 8 at 7:30 p.m.
“People should check out the show because they are wonderful slices of life. They cover the gamut, ranging from 1935 England to 1970s Texas to a wonderful new script from a local girl. They will bring a lot of laughter and home truths with them,” says O’Brien.
Thrilled to be on the program, Slater is bringing an open mind to the show.
“It’s exciting and nerve wracking. This is the first time that anything I’ve written will be performed in front of a live audience. And I’m excited to see how people will react.”
AT A GLANCE
If you are going
What: Random Acts.
When and where: Harbourfront Theatre, Summerside, March 1, 7:30 p.m., March 2, 2 p.m., March 8, 7:30 p.m. and March 9, 2 p.m.
Tickets: Available from the box office at 888-2500 or toll-free, 1-800-708-6505.