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Fairy Tales

Stage North is inviting residents to take a trip down memory lane and remember what it's like to be a small child in their final production of the season, Kingfisher Days.

Stage North is inviting residents to take a trip down memory lane and remember what it's like to be a small child in their final production of the season, Kingfisher Days.

Reliving the carefree summer of youth, friendship and fantasy are what make up the story of a precocious child and her imagination.

Kingfisher Days, written by Susan Coyne, recounts Coyne's experiences during the summer of 1963 at her family's cottage at Lake of the Woods when she was five years old and her friendship with an elderly man, Mr. Moyer.

As a way to keep Susan entertained, Mr. Moyer starts leaving messages in the fireplace that are allegedly written by a fairy princess named Nootsie Tah.

Susan winds up spending lots of time with Nootsie Tah and her Nixie entourage.

Director Clarice Eckford isn't new to the material - she jumped at the opportunity to bring the show to theatre lovers in Fort St. John.

"In 2007, I played the part of Susan in a production [of Kingfisher Days] in Edmonton and fell in love with the play and then decided one day that I would direct it," she explained.

Already having thorough knowledge of the play has enabled Eckford to put her own special touches on the production, including the creation of some new characters.

The Nixies, played by Claire Temple and Corine Dyke, were not actual speaking roles in the original script, but were added in by Eckford.

"Nootsie Tah, the fairy princess, is so larger than life and she's so regal and grandiose, she kind of needs an entourage. It adds to her persona of being ridiculous," said Eckford. "Claire and Corine are so cute - I originally had them doing backstage work, producing work and that and we started to rehearse, reading the play - and their eyes looked so eagerly at me, I had to put them in."

Temple and Dyke were thrilled to be added to the cast. According to them, Dyke is the Good Nixie and Temple is the Very Naughty Nixie, who always gets in trouble.

"It's going to be so fun, I'm so excited. We get the fun parts," said Dyke, adding that the Nixies get to do the Hokey-Pokey, skate, dance and sing On Top Of Spaghetti.

All this fairy-like entertainment would delight any five year old, or an adult playing one, like Dawn Ljuden.

Being a grown woman playing a small child isn't a new experience for Ljuden, who takes on the role of little Susan.

"Actually, the first time I went to a festival 20 years ago I played a five year old," she said. "It's a lot of fun, it's very freeing. It's a very free feeling to be five and not to be too worried about what anybody's thinking."

She added that she's working in a Kindergarten room this year, which helps her get into the five year old mindset.

Eckford believes that everyone who comes to see Kingfisher Days will enjoy it, and leave with a smile on their face.

"It's a real exploration of what happens to you when you become an adult - how you forget to slow down and take time and that your imagination is really important and beautiful, and it's also about friendship too. So anyone who likes friendship and imagination, which is hopefully everybody, [will like the play]," said Eckford.

Kingfisher Days runs on April 29 and 30, and May 5 to 7 at the North Peace Cultural Centre.