Nasty Shadows Theatre Company start the year off with a new production and a New Brunswick tour.
Nasty Shadows have been producing fearless independent theatre for almost 20 years now. Founded in 1999, the company usually surfaces at least once a year to deliver an intimate, stripped down theatre experience for New Brunswick audiences with performances in Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton.
This week the company will stage Daniel MacIvor’s play, In On It, a work that has been described as a “spiraling narrative about a dying man trying to make plans for the end, a pair of lovers trying to make it work, and two men trying to make a play. A world where accidents happen. A story about control. A play that keeps its options open”.
“The show is masterful,” said director Matthew Spinney. “I’m not sure there is a more succinct way to describe the level of craftsmanship that Daniel MacIvor displays in the writing of this script. So the playwright and the script itself, are certainly reasons why I have been so enthused about directing this show.”
The play features long-time Nasty Shadows company members Scott Shannon and Michael Holmes-Lauder who have appeared in several plays together over the years including The Table Experiments (2011), Rougher Magic (2014), and Brief Interviews With Hideous Men (2015) to name just a few.
“I am always enthused to get the opportunity to work with Scott and Michael,” said Spinney, “and so tackling such a beautiful script with their help is always a thrill.”
Shannon, who is a founding member of the company, has brought a number of MacIvor’s works to the Nasty Shadows’ stage and believes his work is the perfect fit for the scaled-down, bare bones theatre the company is know for.
“I fell in love with Daniel MacIvor’s work when introduced to his plays just over 10 years ago,” said Shannon. “I immediately began gobbling up all the published texts of his plays that I could read and the Shadows went on to stage a number of his works over the following years. In On It was about the third play of his that I read but the right time to stage it didn’t come along until now.”
Daniel McIvor is a Canadian actor, director and playwright whose works have been performed on stages across the country. Known largely for his play Marion Bridge that debuted in 1998 and later went on to become a feature film, MacIvor’s list of playwriting credits spans over 30 produced works.
“Every play of MacIvor’s is a celebration of theatre, each creating a world where the performers and audience are intimately intertwined in the event. As Carol Bolt puts it in an introduction to one of MacIvor’s books, his ‘characters live in a real world of complete theatricality. They are involved in rituals, competitions and events they don’t fully understand … the characters discover they are not alone. They are in a theatre. They have an audience’.”
“The craft and heart that oozes from this play is almost overwhelming, and as a performer, it’s a little daunting,” he said. “There is no room for error in performance, and yet there is also an openness and relationship with the audience unlike many other MacIvor works – the actors/characters are fully aware In On It is a play being performed for an audience, at times seemingly created and written during the moments of performance.”