Published on May 29th 2012Home » The Billboard » Is basketball a Canadian or American invention? The battle rages on
The debate rages on in the musical, Naismith is Colourblind and He Can’t Drive, being brought back by popular demand to mark the 150th birthday of basketball inventor, James Naismith. The play, performed by the Valley Players and sponsored by The Hub, is a fundraiser for a new palliative care unit in the Almonte area, and will run at the Almonte Old Town Hall, June 8 and 9, 2012.
Naismith, a native of Almonte, was orphaned at the age of 9 and went on to acclaim, earning three academic degrees with proficiency in six languages and becoming a university soloist. He was also known as a gymnast, a professor, a humanitarian and a house builder. And if that wasn’t remarkable enough, he also served as a chaplain in France in WW1, developed tests to determine the health effects of tobacco and alcohol, and was a renowned speaker and preacher.
As a teacher, he focused on developing massage techniques to aid disabled students. Playwright, Fern Martin, uncovered all this during her research for the play about Naismith, who was a Scot and devout Christian. “Great characters also have great quirks,” says Martin. “For instance I discovered that he was a terrible driver.” Accustomed to driving horses, Naismith drove his first car like it was a horse – calling “Whoa” and pulling back on the steering wheel when coming to a stop!
The musical, which pits an American against a Canadian to determine which country can claim credit for Naismith’s game, is enacted by a 12-member cast and includes puppets. Naismith is played by three actors: Ben Guthrie (child), Johanes Stelzner (youth) and Mark Piper (adult). Puppeteer, Stephen Brathwaite portrays Naismith in his afterlife with ‘angel’ Noreen Young. Director Thora Pugh, who has been involved in numerous musical and theatre productions, also edited the play.
The Hub, which is celebrating its 38th anniversary this year, is a non-profit organization that supports community and social programs in the Almonte and Carleton Place area. Naismith is Colourblind and He Can’t Drive will be performed June 8 and 9 at 7:30pm with a matinee on June 9 at 2pm. Tickets are $15 for adults, $7 for children or $35 per family. They are available at (the door?) or in advance at Baker Bob’s in Almonte and the Pakenham General Store.For more information:Fern Martin 613-624-5104Thora Pugh 613-624-5960.The Family—
Back row—-Kyle Podruzny, Gillian Mills,Charlie Jahn, Janet Duncan,George
Front row–Ben Guthrie, Gage Moffatt, Tasha Cochran.