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Randy Burrows will direct Edge Players at The Guild in January

by Carol Little

François Weber, Joey Weale and Kevin Docherty from The Big Kahuna.The Edge Players are known for tackling edgy, thought provoking material with strong characters, and their January production of The Big Kahuna will follow suit.

Director Randy Burrows says, “Parameters for shows we have chosen are: generally smaller casts, simple set, few set changes, strength in characters and relationships, and edge in subject matter. At the 1999 Toronto Film Festival, The Big Kahuna struck me right away; it met the criteria and had good core players. We were looking for something actors could sink their teeth into.”

Adding to the original flavour of an Edge Players production, Burrows states, “We’ve always done our shows in the round, for me, it gives the feeling of cinema. I like the added intimacy.” Actor François Weber says, “Randy blends his concepts of cinema to theatre. We try to get people who don’t normally watch theatre, with something unique, that you don’t normally see on the Island. We see a niche to be filled.”

The Big Kahuna (aka Hospitality Suite) by Roger Rueff was originally written as a play, but is best known for the film starring Kevin Spacey and Danny DeVito in which three men who work for a company in the lubricant industry are at a weekend trade show with the specific intention of meeting and selling their product to one potential client (the Big Kahuna). In the film version, the three men, with very different backgrounds, spend the evening in their hotel room getting to know one another, talking religion and work, and hosting a low-class gathering with meagre finger foods in an attempt to land the big contract.

In order to create a unique environment for theatre patrons, the Edge Players are organizing a conference style atmosphere. “In the spirit of the show, we’re doing a trade show before hand. We’ll treat it like a sales convention instead of a theatre night,” says Burrows, “it’s an opportunity for small theatre groups to network together.” The trade show is free for all to attend and will include booths from local theatre and storytelling groups, including an Edge Players booth. Weber adds, “The audience will really be able to relate to what’s going on (in the play).” There will be additional trade show themed flourishes to round out the event, including ‘hello, my name is’ tags for audience members. “It will be a far different experience than what you’d expect (from theatre),” says Burrows.

Striving to stay true to the material, Weber states, “We’ve been in communication with Roger Rueff for about two years now. Roger was really impressed with how it went in the workshop version, and our professionalism towards it.”

In March 2005, the Edge Players performed a condensed one-act workshop version of the play at Victoria Playhouse for the PEI Theatre Festival and won two awards: Best Actor—François Weber, and Best Production.

The Big Kahuna, starring Joey Weale, Kevin Docherty and François Weber and directed by Randy Burrows, will be at the Arts Guild in Charlottetown January 19­21 at 8 pm.

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