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Feature Article - November 10, 2005

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Feature Article

November 10, 2005

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Delia's Hereafter Society

by Jeff Green

Sydenham resident Jennifer Bennett has had a successful career as a gardening writer for many years, but all along she has maintained an interest in fiction and music.

“I’ve thought about doing a musical for years and years,” Bennett said, “and have written songs for different musicals; and now it’s happened.”

The impetus to finally write a musical came from an unlikely source, however. Jennifer’s husband died several years ago, and she took part in a bereavement group. She observed that bereavement takes many forms, and thought the different says people react to loss could be a good source for dramatic tension, and even humour.

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In Delia’s Hereafter Society, four people are invited for a weekend in a cabin the woods by the Social Worker who had facilitated a bereavement program they all participated in.

Each of the characters has a solo that talks about their own experiences, and their deceased partners make ghostly appearances as well.

Delias Hereafter Society deals with some major questions, such as whether or not there is an afterlife, but “it’s actually quite funny,” Jennifer Bennett says. Some of the humour comes from the characters coping with the rural setting, and some from the way the characters relate to each other and their deceased mates.

Jennifer Bennett moved to the local region in the early 1970’s. She was one of the first members of the editorial staff at Harrowsmith Magazine when it was established in 1975, and she maintained an association with the magazine, either as a staff member or a freelance editor, until they closed up in Camden East in the early 1990’s. She continued to write gardening books, at a rate of about one every two years, for Firefly Publishing, until very recently. Her most recent book was called Dry Land Gardening. At the same time she has continually wrote fiction, mostly in the form of short stories, but has not pursued publishing her fiction too much. She was a founder of the Frontenac Women’s Chorus, and completed her Master’s degree in music at Queen’s in 2002.

Inie Platenius is directing the play, which is being staged in Kingston at the Octave Theatre on November 24, 25, and 26. The producer is John McDougall of Verona. Ann McDougall is the pianist, and their son Rob, who lives near Perth Road, directs the lighting. Geoffrey Murray of Verona is the set designer. Among the actors are Susie Ralph, Dan Robinson and Deborah Spaar, all of Verona and Barb Bell and Wilma Kenny of Sydenham. Loughborough Public School teacher Alan MacDonald, who is well known to supporters of North Frontenac Little Theatre, is also performing. The other actors are Joan Jones and Gord Love. The music director and violinist is Danielle Lennon.

All proceeds from the show will go to Breast Cancer Action Kingston.

“This charity was chosen in part to honour Inie”, Jennifer Bennett said.

The show will run Thursday November 24, Friday November 25, and Saturday November 26 at the Octave Theatre in Kingston. To get to the theatre, take the Sir John A. Macdonald exit south off the 401, then turn immediately right on Dalton, then immediately right into the parking lot of Marie Rivier High School, which holds the Octave Theatre. You can buy tickets from the Grand Theatre Box Office on Sydenham Street, or phone 530-2050. Adults are $15, seniors and students $10.

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