Matthew Payne rolled into town earlier this week, bright eyed and bushy faced after a long month on the road touring his one-man show in B.C.’s central interior.
After a day’s rest, Payne, his trusty sidekick and stage manager Spencer Sacht-Lund, and the team at Theatre SKAM are ready to mount Cariboo Buckaroo at the Intrepid Theatre Club, beginning on Klatsassin Day (Oct. 26), which commemorates the Chilcotin War — one of three important real-life events recounted in this historically accurate production.
“I was interested in writing about, and learning more about the first cowboy in B.C.,” says Payne, Theatre SKAM’s artistic producer and Cariboo Buckaroo’s writer and sole performer.
“I did some research and discovered that the cowboys were here because they were driving in beef. The government of what was just becoming our province at that time in the 1860s was encouraging the importation of sheep and cattle to feed all the miners.”
Directed by Ross Desprez, Cariboo Buckaroo follows a young vaquero and an old hand as they drive a beef train north to the goldfields.
What they encounter on the way is the stuff this province is made of — epic tales of love, loss and perseverance conveyed with passion, humour and Ken dolls.
While Cariboo Buckaroo is recommended for children eight and up, Payne says children of all ages have had amazing reactions to the play throughout the tour. Children also get the added pleasure of learning a special for-kids-ears-only secret Payne tells at every performance.
Following the Oct. 26 matinee performance, Payne will be joined by the Friends of Nemiah Valley for a talkback commemorating the Chilcotin War of 1864. M