Unforgettable Experience for Mother & Daughter Duo

The following article appeared in the July 6, 2010 edition of the Haliburton Echo:

By Darren Lum

For the mother and daughter team of Myrna MacBrien and Annie MacBrien-Lyons The Goodbye Girl musical was a perfect fit.

With the premise of the single mother, working in the theatre arts it was more than just uncanny that they would get the opportunity to act with each other in the Highlands Summer Festival play, running now until July 16.

“It’s just weird that Annie happened to be the right age and I happened to be in the right situation,” she said.The Grade 7/8 teacher has been involved with theatre and is raising her 10-year-old daughter in a way quite similar to the play’s premise.

Unlike strangers this team already knew what to expect from each other (for the most part) and it makes the acting experience far more relaxed.

“It makes things easier. I don’t have to worry about her because she is here. She is so experienced. I don’t have to worry about her getting her props or her costumes. She knows what to do so it is actually a lot easier,” she said.

Usually actors use the rehearsals leading up to a performance to make the necessary connections, said her co-star Matt Selby, who was a little envious of the existing bond between the mother and daughter duo.

“It’s the hardest thing for an actor. Some are very natural at creating a bond right away,” he said. “Luckily in the rehearsal period you get to create that bond and usually by opening night you’re good.”

Although this isn’t the first time the mother and daughter have shared the stage, the two got the opportunity to act opposite of each other, which taught MacBrien that her daughter could not only act well, but could learn the script lines better than her.

“That was a bummer. She picked it up so fast and I didn’t,” she said.

Through rehearsals MacBrien was often left surprised by how talented her daughter is and said it took great effort to not break from character to scream it aloud.

Annie always knew her mother could dance, but was given a real showcase of her talents and was impressed she said.

The first time they shared the stage was when Annie was three-years-old. For the single mother it started as a way to remain with her daughter and to pursue her passion that started eight years ago in Scenes from my Dock in Gravenhurst.

MacBrien and her daughter, who used to live in Huntsville, are now residents of Oakville, but have been regular visitors to the area because of friends such as Sue Shikaze and Thom Lambert.

Years before MacBrien taught she worked at the Bark Lake Leadership Centre with Lambert and attended teachers’ college with Shikaze.

She has also worked with local singer and songwriter David Archibald over the years.

It’s the people and the place that has always stayed with her and keeps her coming back to Haliburton.

MacBrien isn’t sure if they’ll get another opportunity to share the stage in such a significant way, but will always remember acting with her daughter.

“You know when people take their family to Walt Disney World and it is that trip of a lifetime you’ll always remember it. It’s sort of like that for me. This is as I’ll always remember it for as long as I live.”

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