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      WHAT'LL IT BE? A SPOON COLLECTION OR A PET PIGEON? by Barbara Biddison

      b 11 21The Georgia-talkin' lodge owner had a spoon collection.  I guess when you're "gettin' old, runnin' down" that's a good thing. And it serves to provide the idea for a perfect hostess gift.  Or so thought a Brit called Froggy when he arrived at the lodge with THE FOREIGNER.  So, Betty the lodge owner, accepts the "spoons!" that Froggy has brought.  Three of them.  One was given to him "by one of the aborigines of Canada," another is from "The Mysterious East" which Betty confirms in awe as she reads "Made in Taiwan" printed on the spoon, and the third is from Tijuana and about this one Betty says, "Oh, look.  I turned it upside down, 'n' all her clothes come off!"  

       

      THE FOREIGNER was my first full-length main stage play with Hamilton-Gibson.  And what did my husband give me on opening night instead of flowers?  An ornate serving spoon, which has lasted much longer than a bouquet of roses.  The year was 2005, the stage was in the Don Gill all-purpose room, and the cast was Thomas as the Foreigner, me as Betty, and Craig Evens, Bill Robertson, Kerry Miller [now Nelson], David Casella and Noel Bastain. rounding out the cast.  A cast of 7, spanning 6 decades from teen through 60s.  AND this was the one where Bill Kovalcik filled in at the last minute on opening night because a cast member had a family member seriously ill.  For me the whole thing was quite an introduction to the Hamilton-Gibson experience.

      So, would you rather have a pet pigeon?  Hang on!  We'll be 7 stories up.  Lillian is 100. She lives way up high in a building with 7 STORIES.  There is a man on the ledge thinking about jumping.  When he tries to talk through her window Lillian hopes that it is Albert the pigeon who has come back.  Nurse Wilson tells her that Albert is gone, he flew away, because he's a bird!   Lillian observes that when "they" took away all the stuff she had piled against the window, Albert saw the world outside  and "his little head was suddenly filled with big ideas."  Lillian still hopes he'll come back when he's had enough of flying.  She herself hasn't been out for at least 50 years.  

      I played Lillian.  As that absurdly sensible woman,  I told about going to Paris to see the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, probably the largest building in the world, where it turned out that the Mona Lisa is very small, and crowds were looking for something big.  "And there she was--smiling as if she knew."  And I told about a despairing Frenchman who I tried to comfort by saying (the only thing in French I had ever learned), "La pamplemousse est sur la table."  Apparently the Frenchman's mood changed for the better, even though it simply meant that "The grapefruit is on the table"  So we'll leave Lillian with that philosophy to live by.  SEVEN STORIES alternated with UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL in 2010 as the first two shows in the new Warehouse Theatre.  So much history.  So much enrichment and empowerment.

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