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‘Drawer Boy’ opens at Playhouse

Like any director, Christopher Fidram always keeps an eye out for new projects.

About a decade ago while doing research, he kept seeing a title he didn’t recognize showing up on lists of the most produced plays — a Canadian comedy-drama called “The Drawer Boy.” He ordered the script and found Michael Healey’s writing funny and the characters instantly likable.

Still, it took 10 years for the show to make it to the Youngstown Playhouse stage, where it will play for two weekends in the Moyer Room as part of the community theater’s Griffith-Adler Series.

“That happens a lot,” Fidram said. “You find a title and want to do it, but maybe this season is too male-heavy so you wait until next season or maybe you don’t have space for it on the schedule. It just came at the right time now with the right space for it.”

The play is based on the true story of an actor from Toronto who arrives in rural Ontario and stays with two bachelor farmers. The actor plans to gather stories about life on the farm for a play, but their interactions irrevocably alter all their lives as the line between truth and fiction is crossed.

The cast features Hunter Thomas as the actor and Craig Petrie and Terry Shears as the farmers. Jeanine Rees is the stage manager with set construction by Johnny Pecano and lighting design by Ellen Licitra.

“I’ve been thinking about this show for so long, I can see it in my head, but the three actors have really made these characters their own,” Fidram said.

“As a director, there are some scenes where I know exactly how I want this scene to go. Other parts, as the story moves on, I can read the scene, but I need the actors to tell me what’s actually happening in the scene. That’s what they do in their performances, basically steering the conclusion of the play.”

Jeanine Rees is the stage manager with set construction by Johnny Pecano and lighting design by Ellen Licitra.

The play has scenes that take place both indoors and outdoors, Fidram said, which provided some challenges in creating a set in the intimate Moyer Room performance space. They opted for something simple that uses sound effects and other techniques to create the proper atmosphere.

Fidram, 53, has been a familiar face on local stages for decades as an actor and behind the scenes as a director. While he would “never say never,” Fidram said he expects “The Drawer Boy” to be his final show. He’s ready to take a break and make room for the next generation, and he believes “The Drawer Boy” is the perfect choice for a final production.

“What’s beautiful about the play is it’s a tribute to friendship and the power of storytelling through theater.”

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WHAT: “The Drawer Boy”

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday through Nov. 17

WHERE: Moyer Room, Youngstown Playhouse, 600 Playhouse Lane, Youngstown

HOW MUCH: $16 for adults and $13 for students and senior citizens. Tickets are available online at www.theyoungstownplayhouse.com and by calling 330-788-8739.