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SALLY COLE: The Four Tellers ready to have one last laugh

Members of The Four Tellers take a break from a planning session for the Last Laugh Tour which kicks off Monday, June 25, at the Kings Playhouse in Georgetown. From left are Gary Evans, Alan Buchanan, David Weale and Dennis King.
Members of The Four Tellers take a break from a planning session for the Last Laugh Tour which kicks off Monday, June 25, at the Kings Playhouse in Georgetown. From left are Gary Evans, Alan Buchanan, David Weale and Dennis King. - Sally Cole

Dennis King, Alan Buchanan, Gary Evans and David Weale to perform shows in Georgetown and Victoria this summer

There’s a rumour going around P.E.I. that it might be the last summer for The Four Tellers.

I heard it from a source in Montague.

At first, I couldn’t believe it.

But, after seeing it on their official poster on the wall of Timothy’s Coffee in Charlottetown, I knew it was true. The storytellers are doing The Last Laughs tour this season.

So, I decided to pay the boys a visit and find out why their rib-tickling storytelling sessions are coming to an end. We met in David Weale’s kitchen, seated around his large table, drinking cups of hot tea while the fire in the wood stove crackled, providing warmth on a cold, rainy day.

It wasn’t long before I asked the “why” question. Dennis King is the first to respond

“We’re not really disguising it. We’re calling it the Last Laugh Tour for a reason and we hope to go out on a high,” says King, a member of the group that also includes Alan Buchanan and Gary Evans.

But, Buchanan is more precise in his response.

“It’s the last year that we’re going to do something in this format. There may be iterations and combinations of us – variations on the theme.”

As the conversation continues, the real reason is revealed.

Turns out Weale has a book to write and is moving out to the country to do it.

“I got a new hip this year and I’m afraid they think I’m getting too old,” he laughs.

And, as it turns out, the others are looking forward to having a bit of a break.

“Although we have a ball doing this, it is a big-time commitment. And over the course of a whole year things have to be put on the back burner,” says Evans.

That’s especially true in the summer, when there are lawns to mow, visitors to entertain and vacations to enjoy.

The good news is that before they pack it up they are giving audiences one last giggle.

The group, which has been together for four years, will perform Mondays, June 25 to Sept. 3, at Kings Playhouse in Georgetown. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Later in the summer there are performances at Victoria Playhouse on Sept. 7 and 8, 7:30 p.m., and Sept. 9, 2 p.m. Music will be provided by Rachel Beck and Bennett Buell.

It's a basic program.

“The first half of the show is all new material. But, given this is the last laugh we thought that maybe, in the second half, we’d take some time and do the ‘Best of the Four Tellers’, ” Buchanan adds.

These are the familiar stories, such as the Dali Lama (and Lawrence MacAulay).

“We want to make the second half more intimate and interactive with the audience,” adds King.

“But, above all, we will encourage each other to tell the stories that we love.”

And because it’s the final episode there’s a focus on the craft and the beauty of stories, says Weale.

“We’ll be exploring some of the things a story can accomplish. And one of these things is the notion that stories raise the dead. That’s because all these people, who are gone, come back in our stories.”

Sally Cole is an entertainment writer with The Guardian. She welcomes comments about her column as well as suggestions for future columns from readers. She may be reached at sally.cole@TheGuardian.pe.ca or by phone at 902-629-6000, ext. 6054.

If you are going

- What: The Four Tellers: Last Laugh Tour.

- Georgetown shows: Mondays, June 25 to Sept. 3 at Kings Playhouse at 7:30 p.m.

- Victoria Playhouse: Sept. 7 and 8, 7:30 p.m. and Sept. 9 at 2 p.m.

Website: Go to http://www.thefourtellers.com.

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