New Canadians hit the Calgary ice in curling comedy

It’s a wide range of characters taking to the mock-ice surface for a rehearsal at Alberta Theatre Projects in downtown Calgary.

The set depicts a small town curling rink for ATP’s production of “The New Canadian Curling Club”.

The comedy tells the stories of several new arrivals in Canada, as they try their hand at curling.

“I’m a Chinese physician,” actor Jonathan Ho said. “Who has come to Canada for med school.”

“I play a Syrian refugee,” actor Sepidar Yeganeh Farid said. “Very recent in Canada, two months only.”

The character introducing them to the sport is played by veteran Calgary actor Duval Lang.

“I’d be the cantankerous old rink rat,” Lang said. “Who’s been roped into teaching these newcomers how to curl.”

“The whole story is just about getting over each other’s differences,” Ho said. “And just getting to know the person, to recognize each other as human beings, rather than as the Jamaican or the Chinese guy.”

“I was so happy when I got to do this show,” actor Richard Young said. “My parents were immigrants and I feel like this play is like a testament to not just the people coming in here and their struggles, but also to how good Canada is.”

Most of the actors are brand new to curling, the sport holding many surprises.

“How heavy the rocks are!” Farid said with a laugh.

But Lang is right at home in the rink.

“I’m the curler, started in high school,” he said. “I still play on a regular basis.”

Lang is enjoying sharing his skills with his fellow actors, serving as the production’s curling consultant.

The cast and crew are making room on stage before each performance for some special guests.

“We’ve invited curlers from clubs all throughout Calgary and southern Alberta,” Lang said. “To come up half an hour before the show and throw some rocks.”

There will also be a bar open during that period, with audience members invited to head to the concession stand on the set.

“There’ll be someone behind here,” Lang said. “Selling drinks.”

“The New Canadian Curling Club” opens March 5 and runs until March 23 at Alberta Theatre Projects.

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