Monday, 18 July 2011

TNL’s “Tempting Providence” gets better with age

A scene from Tempting Providence
  by Keith and Heather Nicol
      Nurse Bennett was a true Newfoundland hero who was dedicated to serving the health care needs along Newfoundland’s rugged Northern Peninsula for over 50 years beginning in 1921. She was known as the “Florence Nightingale of the North”, delivered more than 700 babies and amazingly reattached a logger’s foot that had been severed in an accident! And “Tempting Providence” is Theatre Newfoundland Labrador’s (TNL) excellent play about her life along this shore. We had seen the play in its early days about 7-8 years ago and loved it then but after seeing it again last weekend in Cow Head we think it has gotten better with age. It has masterful staging (it is hard to believe how many uses a white table cloth can have) and it is well presented. Since this play opened in June 2002 it has been performed in over 440 performances to over 63,000 people in places as far flung as Australia, Scotland, Ireland, England and across North America! At the end of the performance the packed crowd leapt to their feet for a standing ovation.  If you only see one play at Cow Head we guaranty that you won’t be disappointed with this one. 
The kitchen table that also doubled as an operating room
            While you are in the area we also recommend seeing the house that Nurse Bennett shared with her husband and children and also acted as her operating room and patient care facility. The house is in Daniel’s Harbour which is a ½ hour drive north of Cow Head on highway 430 and be sure to watch closely for signs since it is easy to drive right on past the community with the new by pass. The Nurse Bennett Heritage House provides guided tours which gave us many insights into this remarkable woman. We particularly liked the story about the kitchen table which also served as an operating room. The legs were evidently carved by the famous fiddler, Rufus Guinchard, in exchange for a pulled tooth! Also there was no railing on the stairs so that a stretcher could more easily be maneuvered up the steep staircase.  As well, enroute to Daniel’s Harbour, be sure to visit the Arches which in noteworthy not only for the striking rock formation but also for its colourful rounded rocks that have been wave tossed for millennia. 

The Arches is a great place to explore the shoreline
        TNL is performing 7 plays this summer and seeing a play about the area you are visiting really adds to the visitor experience. When we travel we like to hike, beach walk or go sea kayaking by day and then if possible, listen to traditional music or take in a local play in the evening and Gros Morne National Park is ideal for this in the summer. For more information on the Nurse Bennett house contact- 709-243-2601 and for more information on TNL’s Gros Morne Theatre Festival schedule or to book tickets to a show see- or call 1-877-243-2899.

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