Summer of My Amazing Luck is a novel published in 1996, by author Miriam Towes, also the author of A Complicated Kindness. Chris Craddock, is a playwright who adapted the novel for theatre.
Sage Theatre has remounted the touring play, putting an intimate spin on a big story.
Summer of My Amazing Luck tells of single mom Lucy, who is struggling to take care of her son in a housing project in Winnipeg. The story unfolds and the audience is thrown into the story of Lucy and the people who are in her life.
Sage Theatre creates an amazingly intimate story using unusual props and mutiple role changes. At the Pumphouse Theatre, where space is limited anyway, the narrative fills the theatre to the brim. The play opens with Lucy telling us, that we may think we are in a theatre, but we’re actually in a car. I’m always weary of plays that openly address the audience, because I’m afraid they will verge on corny. Which isn’t to say that I haven’t seen plays that do well in that style, just that I’ve seen quite a few that haven’t. But Summer of My Amazing Luck is anything but corny. It’s touching and hopeful and funny.The babies in the story are substituted by teddy bears. Toys litter the floor and the entrance way. All of the props are based in child’s play, and they simply get integrated into the narrative. One of Lucy’s friends is always smoking and the audience sees a crayon. But as the play progresses, you don’t see a crayon, you see a cigarette.
Lucy introduces her father, her best friend and the people she lives with. She tells of how she got be where she is, (mom died and I didn’t grieve right; we were in the arms of Canada!) and director Kelly Reay manages to incorporate flashback and humour and heart in a small little space. Summer of My Amazing Luck is a warm story of the struggles of a single mother and is a realistic examination of the challenges and hardship that this particular demographic faces. The play isn’t without political commentary. The fact that social programs and assistance are in existence is juxtaposed by the judgement and ill treatment this part of society experiences. Lucy mentions that she’s trying to survive on nine thousand dollars a year.
The many characters that are played by the same actors, often in the same span of motion is impressive. Graham Percy is spectacular both as Lucy’s soft spoken father and then as her love interest. Myla Southward’s performance as Lucy’s mom and then as Lish is strong. Caley Suliak is great as Lucy.
Summer of My Amazing Luck is compelling and funny and full of heart. It runs until Saturday.