Herbert the Cow Productions and Nasty Shadows Theatre Company join forces once again for another installment in their Fifth Wall series of outdoor theatre performances. And this time, they are taking the show on the road.
After coming together last summer to create an evening of pandemic inspired theatre, two Fredericton theatre companies, Herbert the Cow Productions and Nasty Shadows Theatre Company, have joined forces once again for the co-production The Fifth Wall II – The Shadow Cow Returns!
“When the pandemic started both Herbert The Cow and Nasty Shadows had shows cancelled. The pandemic created a fifth wall for us as indie theatre artists. Figuratively, another barrier to overcome, and literally, we put up plastic walls between the actors,” said Corenski Nowlan, artistic director of Herbert The Cow Productions.
“We had no idea when we would be able to perform again and had we not conceived of The Fifth Wall project we would still be sitting around waiting for the pandemic to be over. And that’s the thing. Even a few months ago we didn’t know when the state of emergency would end and we would be able to access our usual spaces like STU’s Black Box or UNB’s Memorial Hall again. Scott and I actually started talking about The Fifth Wall part II shortly after the first one wrapped last year. We kind of made a pact, if the pandemic is still going on we’ll do another outdoor show.”
Last year’s show was produced in true DIY fashion. Held over three nights in a parking lot at St. Thomas University, The Fifth Wall featured new work by four New Brunswick playwrights including Nowlan and Shannon. This year’s event will be held in Odell Park before hitting the road for shows in other outdoor locations in both Miramichi and Moncton.
Nowlan describes last year’s Fifth Wall project as one of the most successful and positive production experiences in his 22 years of theatre making. With traditional live performances stuck in a holding pattern for most of 2020, Nowlan believes audiences at the time were grateful for a taste of the familiar amidst so much uncertainty.
“I think people just genuinely enjoyed seeing a show again, and being around others, albeit masked and socially distanced,” he said. “On a personal level, Scott and I just get along with each other so well. I am grateful to know him and he definitely feels like an artistic kindred spirit to me. Stylistically Herbert and the Shadows do very different types of theatre, but where we are the same is how we like to conduct our companies and do business in general. With us it’s just about the art. Art for art’s sake. To me, it’s a wonderful sense of freedom to work with someone who shares that philosophy.”
The Fifth Wall II – The Shadow Cow Returns will feature work by both playwrights with Corenski’s The Hole: A Sunny Corner Story and Shannon’s I Left An Entity In My Room?! making for an interesting double bill.
“I have to give a big shout out to Corenski Nowlan’s passion and drive in making these projects happen,” said Shannon. “It’s been absolutely wonderful getting to know him more over the past couple of years and I look forward to future theatrical ventures together.
“For my part, the Nasty Shadows contribution to this year’s Fifth Wall is probably the most loose approach I’ve taken to a show and the most honest. As it was last year, it was much easier to concentrate on creating a solo show, for a variety of obvious reasons. Unlike last year’s more concise attempt at what I might call some sort of poetic form of expression, this year’s one-man creation is a rather wordy, historical-fiction of sorts, but tries to tell a more clear story overall. It contains moments of improvisation for and with the audience, and should hopefully change a bit each night.”
The plays in this year’s lineup are each part of an ongoing anthology series. The Hole is the third play in Nowlan’s Sunny Corner Stories and Shannon’s, the fifth in his series, The Great Seclusion.
“Scott’s play is a drama. Ours is a comedy,” said Nowlan. “What is the same about them, again, is our approach. Scott and I are both working on ongoing anthology projects. Scott’s is called The Great Seclusion and mine is the Sunny Corner Stories. We are both crafting these shared continuities. All these plays that exist in the same world and reference each. Scott has produced a couple of scripts that take place in his world and this new entry is his fifth I believe. As for me, The Hole is the third part in my series. Part one was titled, Opi-Void, and was performed in Fredericton and Miramichi in 2018. Part two never did get performed because of the pandemic, it being strictly an indoor show. The Hole was always intended to be outdoors.”
Fredericton audiences will have three opportunities to see both these new plays with performances happening August 5, 6 and 7 beforing Nowlan and Shannon hit the road for a performance in Miramichi on August 9 and Moncton on August 10. Full details below.
Upcoming Performances: The Fifth Wall II – The Shadow Cow Returns
August 5-7 | Fredericton | Odell Park (enter near Smythe Street Cathedral – 905 Smythe) | 6:30 p.m.
August 8 | Miramichi | French Fort Cove – 21 Cove Road | 6 p.m.
August 10 | Moncton | Riverfront Park – 80 Assomption Boulevard | 6 p.m.
All performances are pay-what-you-will. Suggested donation $10.
I Left an Entity in my Room?!
Undertaking a theatrical exorcism – Part I-X of “The Great Seclusion” myth.
Written + Performed by Scott Shannon
Nasty Shadows Theatre Co.
X is attempting to create a show and needs your help. In his Shadow development, X has realized how vital it is to exorcize the entity holding his theatrical evolution hostage. If the combined presence of Spalding Gray and Daniel MacIvor are not dealt with by X, The Shepardess has her own plan for banishing this unwanted demon of performance.
The Hole: A Sunny Corner Story
An exploration of rural life – Part III of the “Sunny Corner Stories” anthology.
Written + Directed by Corenski Nowlan
Starring – Robbie Lynn + Jason McIntyre
Herbert the Cow Productions
Two good ole Sunny Corner lads. One shovel. Lots’a beer. Way too many secrets. Cousins, Shawn and Donnie grew up under the same roof at their Nan’s house. One stayed. One left. They couldn’t be more different. Or are they? After two years apart they’re together again: way up in the woods, up to no good, in over their heads. It’s time to dig… for the truth.