Garage Theatre at its Finest

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Nasty Shadows Theatre Company Prepare to Launch Season with Rougher Magic: A Cubist Shakespeare

rougher-magic-1-4-webFrom the beginning, Nasty Shadows Theatre Company has always worked to deliver a memorable audience experience. Their stripped down, minimalist approach to theatre has helped them carve out something completely unique among the city’s diverse theatre offerings.   And as the company prepares to launch its new season after a one-year hiatus, they have yet to break from their original goal.

“For the most part, it’s just the actors and the audience,” said Scott Shannon, company co-founder and director of the season’s first production, the Robert Moore play, Rougher Magic: A Cubist Shakespeare.   “It’s going to be a very intimate experience. I’d say more like a campfire story than a traditional play.”

Shannon has a long relationship with Rougher Magic, initially encountering the play in his university years, and revisiting it a handful of times since.

“When I was first introduced to this play, it had a huge influence on me in terms of the possibilities of theatre,” he said, in reference to the original class production, which served as his introduction to the play. In transforming a classroom into a performance space with makeshift lighting and sound design, Shannon gained a serious appreciation for the minimalist approach to theatre that would eventually be the crux of his vision in helping to form Nasty Shadows in 1999.

“The play and our initial approach to it led me to a place of recognizing honesty and lack of pretense in theatrical production,” said Shannon. “I honestly hadn’t really taken note of that before, and it’s this type of theatre I now enjoy and want to make. Coming off a yearlong hiatus, I found I wanted to reach back to those roots of honesty and not try to create larger or more fancy shows just for the sake of presentation. My heart’s not in that. My heart is in the act of theatrical creation at the base level. Actors telling stories. We’re stripping everything down to a more Garage Theatre type of production value. I’ve referred to us as Garage Theatre for years, but we’re really embracing that now.

Scott Shannon & Becky Forbes in Sam Shepard’s Tooth of Crime (2nd Dance); photo by Diane Cole (2011)

“This time I’m definitely seeing it evolve as a new and different play with the cast that we have. I’m also trying to push myself to approach it quite differently this time than I have in the past as well.”

As the name states, Rougher Magic: A Cubist Shakespeare is rooted in Shakespeare, yet Shannon is quick to point out that the story is presented in a way that even non Shakespeare aficionados will enjoy.

“It’s a play in and of itself even though the characters are taken out of Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest. If you know The Tempest, you’ll have an alternate lens in one regard, but if you’re a pop culture person, there’s a lot of context that will draw you in.

“Just like Shakespeare, the play includes those really metaphysical thoughts and ponderings all the way down to base-comedy at its crudest. It covers the gamut for sure.”

Rougher Magic: A Cubist Shakespeare:

November 14, 2014 at TNB studios, 55 Whiting Road, Fredericton

November 21 & 28, 2014 at The Sanctuary Theatre, 228 Germain Street, Saint John

December 5, 2014 at TNB studios

All performances are $10, tickets available at the door. 7:30pm.

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