Re-Generation tells a tale of Haliburton 

By Sue Tiffin

Published July 25 2017

After weeks of rehearsal actors performing in Re-Generation: A Haliburton Tale are mostly off-book and definitely ready to take to the stage.

In this case the stage is a variety of outdoor settings at or near the Haliburton Highlands Museum including a log cabin the porch of the Reid House the baseball diamond and the stone fence.

“It’s really working quite well” said Michael Clipperton director and writer. “I’ve really quite enjoyed it.”

Clipperton said he had the idea for Re-Generation a fictional story that takes place from 1867 to 2017 rattling around in his head for about five years. The former educator had written part of it for a community theatre in Collingwood but really made it work after moving here because of being inspired by a SPARC conference held in Haliburton in 2014.

“I was fascinated by the whole thing and six months later here I was owning a house in Haliburton” said Clipperton who had previously owned a cottage between Bancroft and Cardiff for 20 years.

After being in the area Clipperton learned of Haliburton’s history and worked Re-Generation: A Haliburton Tale into a play to celebrate Canada’s 150 celebration this year.

The story follows a family through four points in time: Canada’s year of Confederation the First World War draft dodging in the ’60s and brings them – and the audience – to present day. It features local actors Clipperton Kate Butler David McGill Guy Pritchard and Victoria Bingham who plays both a 10-year-old and a 93-year-old.

Anne Wilde joined the cast from Bancroft and Phyllis Johnson and John Copeland joined from Orillia. Between 50-year gaps in the timeline of the play narrators in the voices of Queen Victoria Mary Pickford Nancy Greene and k.d. lang catch the audience up on what has occurred between scene changes.

Clipperton has been directing the play that he wrote which he said means he’s sometimes watching with two heads.

“I’m always listening to the actors” said Clipperton. “If they stumble over something or there’s something wrong with that sentence I need to rewrite it just a little bit.”

When he’s not writing Clipperton has embraced retirement by continuing to work. He’s an outreach co-ordinator part time for SPARC teaches part time at Lakehead and finds he does a lot of directing and occasional writing of plays left in drawers.

“Better than sitting around the couch staring at a screen” he said.

Rural Rogues a newly organized theatre company intended to bring local plays and writing workshops to the area is producing the play. Clipperton said they’ve kept costs down for this their inaugural presentation and that funds raised from ticket sales will support “whatever project is next.”

Re-Generation: A Haliburton Tale will be presented on Saturday July 29 at 7 p.m. and Sunday July 30 at 2 p.m. Light refreshments will be served after the shows.

Tickets for the play cost $20 and are available at Haliburton Highlands Museum Master’s Bookstore in Haliburton and Sassy Digs in Minden as well as at the door. Audience members are asked to bring their own seating (a blanket or lawn chair). Limited seating will be available in case of rain.