“We got the wrong play. We got the wrong director. We got the wrong actors. Where did we go right?” – Max Bialystock, The Producers
The Producers tells the story of two men who, driven by greed, set out to create a Broadway flop. When it comes to the company that is staging a production of the Mel Brooks musical, it’s clear life doesn’t always imitate art.
Unlike the characters Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom, members of Saskatoon
Summer Players volunteer countless hundreds of hours to put on quality productions, with no other motivation than the love of theatre.
“A lot of the cast members are also taking care of the sets and the painting. They’re working basically every evening, either rehearsing or working on the sets,” said manager Veronique Eberhart. “It’s really a lot of dedication.”
That passion for production and willingness to work for free has kept the company in business for 48 years.
“That’s one of the strengths of Saskatoon Summer Players. We can put on huge shows, and that would be impossible if it were professional.”
There have been a few changes over the years for SSP; they recently hired Eberhart as their first-ever paid manager. The classically- trained singer, who spent the past four years managing la Fédération des Francophones de Saskatoon, calls the job a perfect fit for her as it calls on both her artistic and managerial skills.
In addition to promoting and strengthening the program, one of Eberhart’s goals is to find a more permanent home for SSP. Often the various stages of production are scattered throughout the city, including on this day as the performers rehearse on a spot typically occupied by the first sheet of ice at the Nutana Curling Club.
“We realize we can’t keep going the old way,” Eberhart said, “The organization has to be upgraded and I’m the first step.”