Monday, 9 July 2012

Lots of laughs in Theatre Newfoundland Labrador’s “Cod on a Stick”

by Keith and Heather Nicol
             The names Cathy Jones, Mary Walsh, Greg Malone and others friom the original Codco crew are now well known Newfoundland comedians. In 1973 they were just getting started in Toronto when they were distressed by the stereotypes that Ontarians felt applied to all Newfoundlanders. So they fought back with the play “Cod on a Stick” which pokes fun at Torontonians and Newfoundlanders alike. “Cod on a Stick” is part of this summer’s performances at the Gros Morne Theatre Festival and we recently saw the play in scenic Cow Head in Gros Morne National Park. There are many great skits and one of our favourites was the “happy province” segment where the characters try to “out do” each other with how “happy” they are.  The actors also do a great job of adopting a “tick” Newfoundland accent when required as well as speaking in “upper Canadian” as they satirize Torontonians. Another plus for this production is that one of the original Codco members, Greg Malone came up to Cow Head to direct it. Amazingly even though almost 40 years have passed since it was performed in Toronto in 1973, most of the material is still just as relevant today. In fact, one skit deals with trying to catch the last “wild” cod, and this year we are “celebrating” 20 years since the cod fishery was closed by the infamous 1992 cod moratorium.  For more information on Theatre Newfoundland Labrador’s summer schedule of plays in Cow Head see:

A scene from "Cod on a Stick" (photo Johnny Cann)
View from a porthole window in the Marine Station
        If you want to learn more about cod and the other species that live in the adjacent Gulf of St. Lawrence then be sure to book a tour with the Bonne Bay Marine Station in Norris Point, which is just south of Cow Head.  Our guide, Kathleen Stevack, did a very good job of presenting information about what is beneath the surface of the salt water surrounding Gros Morne National Park. The Bonne Bay Marine Station has many aquariums and you can see what types of fish and other organisms reside in the nearby ocean environment and in many cases she dipped her gloved hand in the tank to pull out various crabs, lobsters and other shellfish.  She even fed the resident wolf fish while we were there and it was quite something to see the wolf fish clamp its jaws around the spiny sea urchin! Another big hit, especially with the kids in our group, was the “touch tank” which has many small crabs, minnows, mussels, and flat fish in it. The hermit crabs are especially interesting since they take over abandoned shells of other species. Guided tours run for about 1 hour and are scheduled on the hour and ½ hour through the day so you can almost always drop in on a tour. The Bonne Bay Marine Station (BBMS) is located on the waterfront in Norris Point and is easy to find. For more information on the BBMS see:
Our guide Kathleen Stevack shows a hermit crab to budding "marine biologists"

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