Video: Drinking Habits had the audience laughing to tears

About 400 people extended their lives by at least a month over this weekend by enjoying a good old laugh. The Bienfait Lions Club once again held their dinner theatre performances on Friday and Saturday as well as the desert theatre on Sunday afternoon. 

For this year, director Paula Lainton chose the Drinking Habits play, and the performance turned to be a big hit.

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“It’s been great. Performances have gone really well,” said Lainton. 

To decide on the play every year she goes through a number of options looking for something that would work the best for the cast. Lainton had Drinking Habits in mind for some time.

“I found this play a couple of years ago and just loved it. I’ve been trying to get it done, and this year we decided we were going to do it,” said Lainton. 

This light comedy tells a story of nuns at the Sisters of Perpetual Sewing, who have been secretly making wine to keep the convent’s doors open. But their secret escapes the press room, when their “devil’s mouthwash” wins a half a million dollars excellence prize and two reporters, who one day used to be fiancees, appear at the convent doors as an undercover nun and a priest aiming at bringing them to light.

A new nun who arrives at the same time, along with other changes spurs paranoia throughout the convent that spies have been sent from Rome to shut them down. Wine and secrets are inevitably spilled.  

The further the play went, the louder was the laughter from the audience. A funny first act introduced the characters, and the second one had everyone on board to dive into a full of hilarious moments life of the small convent. A completely unexpected finale had the audience laugh to tears and received a standing ovation. 

Marion Harper, who helped organize the community theatre, was happy with the turnout. 

“The weekend was good. Every year we are happy that everybody comes out and supports us,” said Harper.

She noted that they had 130 people on average coming for the shows. The attendance varied from day to day, but organizers, all of whom were volunteers, were ready. 

The great performance was put on by a group of amateur artists, who performed very professionally. The cast consisted of Sue Resler, Shauna Stock, James Dobos, Bonnie Pukas, Dustin Hall, Selena Heglund, Katie Dunville and Patrick Dupuis. Paul Carroll and Bill Mann took care of light and sound, while Ken and Suzanne Bonokoski were responsible for the set. 

The cast had just two months to get the play together. They were meeting twice a week since the end of September, and the results of their effort exceeded expectations. 

The group puts the play up for the Bienfait Lions to help raise money for the community. The late Dwight Thompson got this tradition going about 15 years ago, and the evolving group of artists has been bringing different plays on stage ever since. 

All money raised throughout the weekend goes back to the Bienfait community and such organizations as the curling club, the Bienfait rink, the Catholic Women's League, Weldon School and others. 

“It’s a good fundraiser for the community,” said Harper.

The performances attracted people from many different places including Carlyle, Weyburn, Estevan and Regina. And the organizers were very grateful for the support from the community and the volunteers. 

“Without people, nothing works,” said Harper.

And Lainton also extended her gratitude to the artists.

“A huge thank you to my cast. They work so hard and manage to pull it off every year. And a big thank you to all people that come and support us and support the Lions."

© Copyright Estevan Mercury

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