The dean of a military college and her sidekick secretary will be played by two Maple Ridge residents in Stage 43’s upcoming production of M*A*S*H!
Judy Long will be playing the role of Dean Mercy Lodge, dean of a medical college, and her husband Geoff will be playing her secretary Mr. Randazzle.
“Basically, it’s more along the lines of the movie more so than the TV series,” explained director Dale Kelly.
“It blends a lot of the aspects between the book and the movie and the aspects of the series altogether. So when we set out to do it we decided to try and capture the spirit of the piece as opposed to 100 per cent accurate. Because you can’t be to any of the three aspects because they are all unique in their own way,” he said.
M*A*S*H is a mobile army surgical hospital and the idea is that these mobile units could open up close to an area of conflict to treat injured soldiers sooner than if they had to travel to a hospital.
M*A*S*H takes place during the Korean War.
“The whole setup is that the doctors become a little crazy themselves in order to deal with the insanity. They try to make light of it themselves and not follow proper protocol in order to keep their own sanity,” chuckled Kelly.
Richard Hooker wrote the book, MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors, following his own experiences as a doctor in a MASH unit in Korea. The stage adaptation by Tim Kelly followed the book as well as a feature film and the television series.
There are 29 actors in the cast, the largest Kelly has ever had to work with.
“In the actual play, we did a role reversal, the dean is played normally by a man and it’s Miss Randazzle, a woman. But, they are a husband and wife team so we decided to reverse it. We decided to place her as the dean of the medical college and him working as her secretary, or her man Friday,” said Kelly, about the Maple Ridge couple’s roles.
In the play, Ho-Jon, a Korean teenager employed to clean the unit and perform tasks for the physicians, is promised by Hawkeye, chief surgeon of the unit, that he will try and get him into medical school in the United States. Dean Mercy Lodge informs Hawkeye in a letter dictated to Mr. Randazzle, that the school will accept Ho-Jon but he will have to cover his own expenses. So Hawkeye and company bet on winning a game against General Hammond’s football team, the highest ranking officer whose team has never lost a game.
Stage 43 is a not-for-profit theatre group based out of the Tri-Cities area for more than 30 years. In 2016 they started the not-for-profits helping not-for-profits campaign where they partner with another local not-for-profit organization on each production to help raise awareness of important issues.
For this production, they have partnered with Honour House Society which provides a free of charge, temporary home for members of the Canadian Armed Forces, veterans and emergency services personnel and their families while they travel to receive medical care and treatment in the Metro Vancouver Area.
Partial proceeds from each ticket sold for M*A*S*H ’s two-week run will be donated to the organization.
M*A*S*H runs from Oct. 11 to Oct. 13 and Oct. 17 to Oct. 20 at 8 p.m. each night at the Evergreen Cultural Centre, 1205 Pinetree Way in Coquitlam. There will be a matinee at 2 p.m. on Oct. 14 only.
• Tickets can be purchased by calling 604-927-6555 or at stage43.org/tickets.
For more information on Honour House Society go to honourhouse.ca.