My play Smart Ass, which had received an Ontario Arts Council grant for a professional reading the previous August 2005, had been rejected by the local theater. I had offered it to them for free but there was no interest, so I was in the process of mailing it out to theaters across North America . Port’s on-line newspaper, portstanleynews.com., operated by the late Francie Dennison and her partner, Doug Harvey, had given Smart Ass a good review, so I e-mailed Francie for permission to use it in my mail- out.
Doug was looking for a project and suggested to me that we video a full production of Smart Ass. I thought that too daunting a task, but suggested that we instead make a docudrama about love and romance in Port Stanley, to be titled 782-LOVE.
Doug, a technical wizard and perfectionist to boot, was the perfect choice as a production partner. I rounded up a local cast, including himself, friend, Rob Faust, local bartender Dee Balser, hairstylist and motorcycle mama, Val Miller, veterinarian Mary Yett, and others, ranging from nurse Brenda Murray, to New Age savant Harry Adams, and restaurant icon, Jimmy C..
I came up with a story line revolving around a bumbling middle-ager, Rob (Faust) looking for love in all the wrong places under the dubious advice of his best friend (me). Interspersed with this story comes advice and commentary from the locals, culminating in a climactic dinner scene where Rob courts his new-found sweetheart, (Kathy Stirrat.)
Not only were our children included in 782-LOVE, so were Kathy and my pooches, Reese and Benny, who play a pivotal role in the story. Both proved to be excellent method actors.
Those dogs were troupers. And like the rest of the cast they played themselves, operated without a script on a one-take basis and improvised all their dialogue!” 782-Love took place on location in Port Stanley during December and January 2005-2006, and the result is a local classic, a full length adult feature that deals with everything from tattoos to sex toys.
Below: What have I done?
The real hero of the piece is Doug Harvey, who spent countless tedious hours taping, adjusting sound and light, and adding music to this polished product, using his top of the line equipment and software. His was a labour of 782-Love!