By David Kenney
Cigarette dangling from his lip, Matthew Currie Holmes smokes and talks with ease. Clad in acid- washed jeans, a worn red T-shirt and black leather jacket, Currie Holmes looks like a lost banger.
In 1986, though, the local actor would have been in all his lighter-waving glory. He laughs, remembering obscure, stupid slang like "gaylord" and black metal shirts. Ah, the hockey hair days.
Remembering those days was easy for Currie Holmes while rehearsing his part in the banger play A Farewell to Kings.
Scripted by local award-winning writer Stephen Massicotte, Kings chronicles Massicotte’s teenage years of heavy metal, partying and friends in Thunder Bay, Ont. Loud and piercing as Geddy Lee’s voice, this is a story any kid who donned a jean jacket and an Iron Maiden shirt can remember. Oh, the foggy memories.
"Everybody sort of knows this story, your buddies you came up with, you stole stuff with, got drunk with for the first time, talk about girls and sex and all that stuff," says Massicotte. "They’re sort of your heroes, your little Gods.
"You find out later that these are the last guys you’ll ever believe in without a doubt."
Still, the play is more than just a farce. Sure the goofy metalisms linger, but so does the reality that, gulp, there’s only one Peter Pan. Even bangers grow up. Comedy still hammers down old Metallica style though. Exit light, enter delight.
"When you watch it, you either wince in recognition, ‘That was me, that was a friend of mine,’" says Currie Holmes, who plays Hudey. "It’s sooooooo true."
True enough. Massicotte even cringed at including some aspects of the play. Lucky for him, Massicotte’s old chums don’t live here. Really though, he wasn’t mean, just honest–brutally honest.
"When you’re writing a play this honest about the way we were, you’re not sure if people would like you to reveal that kind of honesty about them," says Massicotte. "I don’t treat people badly in the play, but I certainly paint them as the way they were and that sometimes might be unsympathetic."
Recognition of the play has been anything but unsympathetic. At the 1999 Alberta Competition, A Farewell to Kings received an honourable mention in the full-length category. Playing May 20 – June 3 at The Ready Room across from the Showcase Grand, theatre-goers can expect to remember and learn–especially the girls.
"[The play] kind of gives away all the secrets of all the things guys talk about," says Massicotte. "It’s definitely a boy play. Girls will like it too because it gives them an ‘in,’ and although the guys are pigs, they were charming pigs who didn’t know any better."