The Conniagre Players (students hired by the Town of Harbour Breton to work at Elliott Premises) will be entertaining residents and visitors alike during August with a number of fine performances.
Stacia Smith, the director of the Connaigre Players, said that one of the plays the students are performing is ‘My Happy Years’ which was written by Harbour Breton resident Doug Wells.
‘My Happy Years’ is a play based on Ted Russell’s three years of experiences as a teacher in Harbour Breton in the 1920s.
Ted Russell went on to become a magistrate, a provincial politician and a famous Newfoundland writer.
Ms. Smith said, “Ted Russell is an important character in Newfoundland culture, history and literature. He became a prominent character in our province’s literary community in the 1950s and 1960s from his stories based on the fictional Newfoundland community that he created called Pigeon Inlet.
“I agree with Mr. Wells in that we should make people aware of the point that Ted Russell taught in Harbour Breton for three years in the 1920s, a period of time he referred to as his happy years.”
The Conniagre Players will also be performing monologues and/or recitations based on stories and poems written by Ted Russell concerning the famous characters he created as residents of Pigeon Inlet.
In ‘A Glimpse of Pigeon Inlet’ the students will perform “Smokeroom on the Kyle”, “Stealing the Holes”, “Algebra Slippers” and “The Hockey Game”.
‘The Smokeroom on the Kyle’ is probably Ted Russell’s best know poem about Pigeon Inlet. The boys from the community are on their way back home from fishing in Labrador. Sitting around the smokeroom on the famous ship ‘S. S.Kyle’ they decided to start tell tall tales about incidents they had heard about or had actually witnessed.
While all the tales told were pretty tall, the tallest was the story told by Grampa Walcott about the famous squid jigging incident that happened in Pigeon Inlet in 1888.
“Stealing the Holes’ is based on an event in Pigeon Inlet when Solomon Noddy, the community’s hangashore stole two holes in the ice that belonged to Lige Bartle. Well, the case ended up in court where Solomon, who wasn’t the hardest working person in the world, turned out to be a pretty good lawyer.
The third play - ‘The Talk of the Town’ - is based on the famous story that apparently happened in Harbour Breton in the 1880s. Mildred Baxter came to the community all the way from England disguised as a man to bring shame on her former boyfriend who had promised to marry her. Whether or not this story is actually true, it makes for great entertainment and is a fascinating bit of the community’s lore and culture.
Any resident wanting to see any or all of the performances may phone 885-2221 for scheduling information.