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MEN DRESSED up as privateers and soldiers were already milling about the streets, so that even the locals had to peer into the disguised faces to recognize who they were. It was as if the whole of Liverpool was reliving, and enjoying, a time when it was one of the largest seaports in Canada, when it was prosperous and there were privateers and wealthy merchants everywhere. Liverpool had, overnight, slipped back more than two hundred years.
The streets were crowded and smiling faces were everywhere. Visitors had come from far away and they mingled with the locals, along with former residents who had returned, as they always did, for the annual celebration. Horse-drawn wagons were filled with paying customers who were taken on a guided historic tour. Adults and children clambered aboard the rented kayaks and paddle boats as dozens more lined up for their turn. Children’s laughter could be heard over the sound of the bells and whistles that came from the midway. Vadoma’s curious customers walked out of her tent in a daze after hearing what their future held. Some were anxious to go back to hear more. Gregore’s long line of customers didn’t shrink much, as one by one they left his tent, leaving no doubt as to who was adventurous enough to get a ring in that advertised place. Visitors strolled along Main Street, in a ribbon of colours, to check out the re-enactment of events of 1812 at Fort Point Lighthouse, while others veered off to get lunch…or a beer.
Scarlett thought back to the day of the auditions when she had nervously selected her cast, wondering then if she had chosen wisely. Now that rehearsals were behind them, and with the opening just hours away, she could not feel more confident in the choices she had made.
The role of Simeon Perkins had been handed to Christian Briggs for he didn’t even have to audition really as he was the image of Perkins. Scarlett had approached him long before auditions had even started, wanting to secure her main actor well in advance. Christian, twenty years her senior, was Scarlett’s mentor and drama teacher in high school and it was he who had cast her in her first role.
Elizabeth, Mrs. Perkins, was played by Scarlett’s aunt, Alexis Saunders, who had been cast in dozens of roles over the past decades. She was a director’s dream, a natural on stage and took direction well.
Blair Matthews, a Nova Scotian, from Antigonish, who now lived in Toronto, would play Juba. He had just spent a year in a play off-Broadway and since he was home for the summer he welcomed the chance to help the local production. Scarlet had not met Blair before the auditions, but he was well known in the Maritimes and already a fondness had developed between them. That was one of the many joys of theatre, for even after a production closed she had found that lasting bonds had been built. Scarlett’s Facebook page was proof of that.
Gary Bowers had the role of Roger Perkins, the eldest son. Simeon Perkins Jr., the second son, was acted by David Mosher. Ella, the maid, was played by Theresa Roy. All three of those actors were locals who had old family names that dated back to when Simeon Perkins actually lived in Liverpool. And, like Scarlett, they lived in their old family homes near the lighthouse, along Main Street. Scarlett had known them all since childhood and long before they were in the same drama class. In school they had played on the same swings and baseball teams. But, unlike Scarlett, none of them had ever left Liverpool; not for career advancement nor even out of curiosity.
The role of Samson was played by Tom Hanson, now living in Toronto but who had grown up in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Scarlett had met Tom at a Toronto theatre and they had done a number of roles together. Her powerful personality matched well with Tom’s easy going ways and it took little to convince him to spend the summer with her and to take the role of Samson. She had even offered him the little apartment above her garage which he had happily accepted.
Mr. Clopper was played by another local, Peter Bryce, who was born and raised in Liverpool. Even though he was four grades ahead of Scarlett in school she knew him well, as it was with most people in the lightly populated town.
There were a lot of disgruntled locals when she had cast the roles to people from away but Scarlett, who had lived in Liverpool practically her whole life, had handled their moans and groans very well. Minor roles included twelve children of various ages, the many ships’ captains, as well as various local citizens who wandered in and out of Perkins’ home. In his lifetime, of course, all these people had reported everything going on in town to Perkins, which he carefully and assiduously recounted in his diaries.
Scarlett knew without a doubt that every actor would arrive in plenty of time for dress rehearsal and she could almost hear them whining when she would tell them of the final scene change. They would arrive expecting to do only the last minute fittings and tweakings. Thankfully, the changes were only a few lines and would only involve just three of the main characters.
Katy, the costume lady, would be on hand for any minor changes. Heather would be fidgeting, anxiously ready to apply makeup and to fit wigs. Darren, the stage manager, would be readily at hand noting down every new move and cue.
In spite of all their complaints they liked the changes to the last scene and congratulated her, saying that the show now had a neater finish. Their assurances made Scarlett even more confident about opening night.
They entire cast was to meet later, at the Mersey Hotel for food and drinks. Scarlett relaxed knowing that Marc, her fiancé, would be there. He had a way of always putting her in a relaxed state of mind. Marc’s older brother, Oscar, had leased the lounge and restaurant for Privateer week-end and it would be open until well past midnight every night, up to and including Monday after the Canada Day fireworks.
END OF CHAPTER TWO
“Linda has published fifteen books. She blogs about the publishing world, posts useful tips on the challenges a writer faces, including marketing and promoting your work, how to build your online platform, how to get reviews and how to self-publish.”