At the Union Theatre, 241 Dublin St, Peterborough, Ontario. Seen here are excerpts from the March, 1997 production and a recording of the CHEX-TV news report.
The Distraction was one in a string of plays written by prolific writer/musician/composer/painter Philip Kummel that were produced throughout the 1990s, often via Peterborough's Union Theatre. Kummel's plays either frustrated or delighted audiences, with dialogue full of puns and non sequiturs, and plot lines that were either non-existent or only made sense in the author's mind. As actor-turned-critic Matt Gilbert dryly wrote about the much-anticipated production, Kummel's plays "have managed to stir a lot of excitement and confusion in the past."
Kummel’s challenging scripts attracted veteran theatre types content to work alongside the budding theatre artists who comprised the Union’s core. Among the former working on The Distraction were actors Robert Winslow, David Bateman (not seen in these excerpts) and Thom Schroeter, as well as Martha Cockshutt. As she did here, Cockshutt produced and designed costumes for many of Kummel’s plays and in this rare case stepped in as a performer. Nick Probst directed and can be seen/heard talking about it in the CHEX-TV news story (at 2:58).
Other valiant cast members seen here are Eric Burns, Tim Crease, Stephanie Macmillan, Caron Garside and Catherine Hume. Not seen here were Dug Paisley, Anya Gwynne and David Hoyle. Hoyle also designed, built - and operated! - the mobile set pieces used in the show to represent its medieval-like traveling stages.