Ian MacDermid has a rule when it comes to plays or musicals that have been turned into films.


“I end up with pre-conceived characters,” said the community theatre director.


“And, whenever I cast people, I ask them never to go out and watch a movie because I want them to develop their own characters. Some listen to me, some don’t.”
McDermid’s newest Dartmouth Players production is a stage version of The Spitfire Grill — a 1996 film starting Ellen Burstyn.


It is about a young woman who moves to a small town in Wisconsin, where she slowly starts to change the lives of those around her.


“I loved it,” McDermid said about the story.

“I like characters with some depth to them, and some interesting quirks. Plus, I love musicals. So when I can combine the two of those, it’s magical.”

The music, he added, is also hummable.

Unlike the film version, this is a modern day musical, with lyrics and music written by James Valcq and Fred Alley.

“This is the first play I’ve done which is based on a movie, but there are plays I have done which were turned into films,” MacDermid said.

“I directed Bus Stop last year, and it wasn’t until the run was over that I watched it.

“I thought our production was better.”