His first play was in 1959. It was 10 years later that Bill McFadden got paid to act. And in the 31 years since then, Bill has been plying his trade from coast to coast. But he’s also been capturing experiences, tales and personalities that he can put into use at some later date.
No spoiled star status for McFadden, who is peforming in his second play in as many years with Theatre North West. No matter where he goes, he makes an effort to become a part of the community usually by going into seniors homes and reading aloud to them.
“I do that a lot,” says Bill. “I just enjoy reading and as I tell them, no one has more fun than me.”
Scheduled to hit four senior’s homes and a couple of day cares, McFadden isn’t sure what he will be reading this time. “Last time I read some tales from PEI. Some I’m wondering what I’m going to read. I might start by reading them some scriptures,” he says.
An occassional preacher at his home church in Prince Edward Island, McFadden says he has a voice that carries “which is good in a seniors home.”
The visits will start after the play opens. When TNW artistic director Ted Price called McFadden about doing The Drawer Boy, the actor hadn’t read the play.
“I feel very comfortable with it,” he says, noting it is set in a farming community. “It’s just a lovely story and all through the play you’re up and down, you’re laughing, it makes you think.”
His character is slightly brain-damaged and McFadden, along with the director, met with members of the local brain injury group. “You can go right off the deep end and make it into a cariacture.”
The Drawer Boy opens this week and then McFadden will be free to renew some old acquaintances. “You know, if you read the gospels right, the people should be saying, Yeah, I’ll let the lions eat me,” he says with a smile.