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Equinox Theatre chooses play by young Canadian writer

Outlook theatre group brings comedic chili cook-off to the stage.
A chili cook-off during a summer fair sets the stage for a great comedy.

OUTLOOK — While Kristen Da Silva has written only a handful of plays, she is developing a name in Canadian theatre circles as an up-and-coming playwright. The young writer and actor lives close to Toronto.  She is a graduate of York University where she was involved in drama as a founding member of the Vanier Improv Company. She sets her plays in familiar territory, small town Ontario. Her settings translate well to other parts of Canada, including Outlook.

Equinox Theatre’s current play in production, “Five Alarm,” takes place during a summer fair in the town of Killaloe, Ontario.  For the past sixteen years, a highlight of the fair has been a Chili Cook Off named in honour of Wayne Rose a legendary local cook renowned for his chili. While not haute cuisine, his consistently delicious chili earned him a legion of fans.

Since his untimely death, local cooks, including his daughter Ada, have been trying unsuccessfully to replicate his recipe in the annual cook off. Two rivals since childhood square off for the top prize. Earnest and dogged, Wayne’s daughter Ada has competed for the top prize unsuccessfully for the past sixteen years. She searches for the mystery ingredient that her chili lacks.

Connie Gardiner, Ava’s childhood friend and now her archrival, has won the trophy five years in a row. Both competitors have employed sous chefs to do the grunt work.  “She doesn’t know how to boil water” just about describes Ava’s assistant Ellen who has a checkered and non-culinary past. On the other hand, Connie has recruited Tucker a recent graduate from the “Cordon Blue” cooking school. The long-standing contest has attracted the attention of Channel Five’s fledgling reporter, a former resident of Killaloe. He is accompanied by Doug, his bumbling cameraman.

A non-stop series of comic misunderstandings, miscues and mistakes create the plot line. Witty one-liners abound. Tempers flare as the competition heats up. Predictably, the high jinks produce a happy ending.

Tickets for the three performances (Friday to Sunday, Nov. 18-20) can be purchased in person or by phone from Outlook Printers at 306-867-8262.