Mellville boys explores emotions and relationships

Nanaimo Theatre Group opens its season with The Melville Boys Oct. 11.



Comedy and heartache collide onstage during Nanaimo Theatre Group’s presentation of The Melville Boys.

The play opens the theatre group’s season on Oct. 11. The Melville Boys, written by Norm Foster,  is a story about two brothers, Owen and Lee, who arrive at a lakeside cabin for a guys’ weekend. Their plans are thrown out of whack when two sisters, Mary and Loretta, arrive.

Lee is married and Owen is engaged.  However, soon Owen and Loretta, played by Cindy Peters, appear to be developing a relationship. The older siblings are left trying to rein in their younger, more immature, sister and brother. Lee and Mary, played by Heather McLeod, find themselves spending time together in the cabin while their siblings are off engaged in other escapades and start sharing personal stories.

Director Dave Eaton has directed plays for other theatre societies, but it’s the first time directing for the Nanaimo Theatre Group. He said the play explores real people and their emotions and relationships.

“Its real people talking about real situations… it’s not all funny, there’s life, there’s heartache in the story too. A comedy without a serious side isn’t as funny,” said Eaton. “This one only takes place over a day and a half, but there is still room there for characters to change and develop from the moment they walk on stage until their last scene.”

The situations the characters are in are relatable for audience members and Eaton said people often recognize one of the characters as someone they know. The relationship between Lee, played by Chris Ostaffy, and Owen, played by William Anderson, is often a relationship people can understand and connect with if they have siblings, said Eaton.

Ostaffy, who plays the quiet responsible married older brother of Owen, said he loves the dialogue, the humour and subject matter in The Mellville Boys. He drew from personal experiences and put himself in Lee’s situation to become the character.

The actors created backstories to take on their roles. They added details fabricated out of what the script told them to become the characters onstage. Ostaffy said it’s important to create that backstory to establish motivation and consistency.

“I want the audience to engage themselves in the story. I want them to recognize themselves or people they know in the story,” he said. I really want them to enjoy it and have fun with it.”

Eaton, who is a Norm Foster fan, said he loves the script and as a director he tries to keep true to the playwright’s intention.

“I’m a traditionalist. I like to see the play done according to the playwright’s intent,” he said. “That’s my job, to honour the playwright. It’s set in the early 1980s so our job is to be true to that time as well.”

The Melville Boys debuts Oct. 11 at Bailey Studio, located at 2373 Rosstown Rd., and runs every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. until Oct. 27, with 2 p.m. matinees on Oct. 14 and Oct. 21.

Tickets are $16 for weekdays and matinees and $18 on weekends and are available by calling 250-758-7224 or going to

Just Posted

The Nanaimo Business Awards are accepting nominations now. (Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce image)
Nanaimo Business Awards accepting nominations of worthy winners

This year’s awards aren’t until the fall, but the nomination period ends June 28

Retailers say they’re ready for the ban on single-use plastic checkout bags in Nanaimo when it takes effect July 1. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Retailers report they’re ready for Nanaimo’s single-use checkout bag ban

Business operators say there’s been plenty of time to plan and prepare for bylaw that kicks in July 1

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews on scene at a boat fire near the boat ramp at Long Lake on Sunday, June 20. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Boat burns up on Nanaimo’s Long Lake, man and child unhurt

Jet skiers attempt to put out fire by circling around to spray water on burning boat

Gabriola singer-songwriter Sarah Osborne, Cowichan Valley duo Heartwood, Vancouver singer Kelly Haigh and Nanaimo bluesman David Gogo (clockwise from top-left) are among the performers in this year’s Cultivate Festival. (Photos submitted)
Gabriola Arts Council presents COVID-conscious Cultivate Festival

Theatre, music and art festival returns to Gabriola Island after 2020 hiatus

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

John A. Read, who was inspired to leave his former career to become a professional astronomer by the purchase of a $13 telescope, will give beginning astronomers key pointers on how to set up and get the best performance from their instruments at Nanaimo Astronomy Society’s meeting June 24. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Read)
Astrophysicist will talk about getting the most out of a telescope at Nanaimo astronomy meeting

John Read’s purchase of a $13 telescope led to a degree in astrophysics and a career in astronomy

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

Most Read