By Debra Downey, Senior Editor
Dundas’ last and longest-serving mayor faded from the political limelight almost 15 years ago, but he’ll be returning to a spotlight of a different kind when Burl-Oak Theatre Group winds up its 2013-14 season.
John Addison, who retired from politics after amalgamation in 2000, is the director of Burl-Oak’s upcoming romantic comedy Real Estate. The play features a down-on-his-luck writer who enlists the help of a perky female realtor extraordinaire to help sell the family home. While she decides both the house and its owner are fixer- uppers, the writer’s ex-wife also shows up with a new beau.
Director Addison said Real Estate is a fairly straightforward and heart-warming show, written by the always entertaining playwright Allana Harkin.
“In some ways, it (Real Estate) is forceful and stern, but for the most part, it’s light-hearted with good comedic writing,” said Addison. “...There are four characters on a single interior set, so the focus is on developing the story, and focusing, with the actors, on developing characters.”
Addison, a teacher with the Halton school board, pulled his almost life-long interest in all things theatrical off the backburner when he retired from a full-time teaching career in 2010. He said his first stage appearance was many years ago, when he was a Grade 5 student suffering from stage fright.
A young Addison was literally “thrown on stage” by an over-zealous teacher, but his interest in theatre was immediately piqued. After the rather unpleasant introduction, Addison was involved in productions through high school and university.
While raising a family, teaching and politics consumed a great deal of his time during the next several decades, Addison has recently been involved Binbrook Little Theatre, Hamilton Fringe Festival and several other local theatre troupes. Addison also picked up a director of the year prize from the Western Ontario Drama League for his work on Having Hope at Home, playwright David S. Craig’s touching story of hope and forgiveness.
Along with his theatrical pursuits, Addison has picked up his previously sidelined passion for travel. In recent years he has visited Russia, Japan, California, South America and India. Once Real Estate wraps up its run in mid-April, Addison plans to head to Istanbul and then Kuwait.
But whatever continent he’s on, Addison said you won’t be seeing his name bandied about as a potential candidate in the Hamilton mayoralty race, or the next provincial or federal election campaign.
Addison said he stepped from the political arena 15 years ago and has no intention of returning.
“I spent 20 years in politics, and I never thought of politics as being a full-time career. My take on it was that this was giving back to the community. It was about community, not yourself,” he said. “It was a great time and I loved it, but I needed to get out and do some other things.”
First elected in 1978, Addison was known for his colourful prose and often bombastic style. For those reasons, he said he also wouldn’t fit well into the role of a politician towing the party line.
“That was the thing about municipal council,” said Addison. “You don't have to answer to anyone but the electorate and council.”
Real Estate runs at the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts, 130 Navy St., Oakville, Wednesday, April 9 to Saturday, April 12 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 13 at 2 pm.
Led by director Addison, the cast includes Jennifer Thompson, Damian Williams, Kristen Horner da Silva and Adam Langton. Tickets are $25. Groups of 10 or more receive a $2 discount per ticket.
Buy tickets online at www.oakvillecentre.ca or by phone at 905-815-2021.