An Irish wake is a traditional way to say goodbye to someone who has dies and rather than being a somber funeral it is a time to share stories of the deceased, drink a pint or two to their life and the living. It’s a celebration rather than a sorrowful event.
From March 16-18, the Sooke Harbour Players will be presenting their annual dinner theatre. This time it straddles St. Patrick’s Day, so the play takes on a definite Irish theme with a wake in the middle of the plot.
Wake When I’m Dead, is another dinner theatre offering from James Daab, the playwright who has written many of the other dinner theatre productions presented by the Sooke Harbour Players.
The entire O’Malley family has gathered for Uncle Sean’s wake. Shocked as they are by the old boy’s sudden and unexpected departure, they’re determined to give him a send off as only an Irish family can. But there’s a mumbling within the clan that the death might not have been an accident. Rumors are flying about changes in the will, and Sean’s outrageous claims about the end of the rainbow.
So break out the Guinness, put on your best green, and join the fun.
Director Chris Lang said Wake Me When I’m Dead is five acts performed during a four-course dinner.
“It’s in a small Irish town and people are coming to the pub to attend the wake for Seamus O’Brien. They come to realize Seamus was throwing money all over the place and they want a piece of the action,” said Lang.
And that’s where the mystery starts. Did someone kill Seamus and his brother Sean?
The cast has been busy since mid-January perfecting their Irish brogues for the March opening. This is the first time Lang has directed but it is the tenth play he has been in and the second time he has worked with producer Mike Kelley.
There are a number of new actors treading the boards on this production. Joel Hanson takes on the role of Timothy O’Reilly, a friend of the two brothers who is a bit confused about his sexual orientation. John Mason takes on a lead role for the first time playing Seamus O’Brien.
“The acting bug has bitten him, he’s going full bore,” said Lang. It’s great to get new blood in.”
Doug Inkpen, another newcomer, had a role as a local bar fly written for him.
Nicole Syrard performs in her second dinner theatre playing the role of Frankie O’Liveri, a non-Irish character who claims to be a cousin. Also in the cast is father and daughter duo Mike Kelley and his daughter Leah. Mike takes on the role of Father Patrick O’Rourke as well as being the producer, and Leah is Mary Margaret O’Mailey, a gold digger and a bit of a flirt.
Opening night (March 16) takes place at the Sooke Harbour House and the two following nights are performed at the Sooke Legion. Doors open at 5:15 with the show begins at 6 p.m. on all nights.
Tickets are available in Sooke at Peoples Drug Mart, Shoppers Drug Mart, The Stick and Bills Food and Feed in East Sooke.