The Novus Actors production of Best Foot Sideways begins with a scene that plays out like a hilarious “what if” scenerio: what if CEOs were brutally honest? At a dreaded and evidently rare all-staff meeting, the CEO of a family-owned company, Blaine Starkar, begins by saying that he’s decided not to use the usual “There’s no easy way to say it” preface in favour of the words, “There’s no easy way for you to hear it.” He then announces his resignation, but rather than blandly citing “family reasons”, he goes on to announce that his marriage to Lavinia Hippincott, the company executive (and daughter of the company’s founder), much to Lavinia’s surprise. When she asks if he’s having an affair, he says, yes, but he’s ending that, too!
With Blaine’s exit, the play focuses on how the remaining employees (all related to the founding Hippincott) continue on with the business, but first, they must figure out what the firm actually does. With the help of two young, unpaid, and vastly more competent interns, the company/family survivors uncover a long-ignored family secret that proves to be the company’s true fortune, with a speculative fiction twist.
Novus productions are always fun. Because this year’s show touches on themes of family and corporate identity, renewal, and responsibility, amusing and enlightening connections can be made to real life and current affairs.
Best Foot Sideways is the latest play written and directed by Stewart Lemoine for the Novus Actors, a troupe of lawyers who began collaborating with Lemoine troupe, Teatro la Quindicina, at a lawyer show to raise funds for the Victoria School of the Arts. The lawyer/actors (Mark Facundo, Jill Gamez, Stacey Grubb, Ed Picard, Jeremy Schick, and Marissa Torndoff) seemed to be having a lot of fun with estate law in this production, while two wonderful emerging actors (Michael Long and Elizabeth Turner) were perfectly cast at the perky new interns. The ensemble worked very well together, fittingly for such a fruitful collaboration.