This is a Play, written by Daniel MacIvor was performed at the Bauer Theatre in Antigonish on February 3rd and 4th. Directed by Chad Relf, the performance was a short, comedic parody of a play that illustrates the common blunders an actor often faces in the theatre business and how they suffer through for the sake of the show.
Aside from the direct explanations that told exactly what each actor was really thinking, MacIvor included a typical, dramatic storyline that was all tied together in the end by heads of lettuce. MacIvor’s This is a Play was brilliantly written to live up to its title by not only being a typical play that an audience would expect to see, but by also shedding light onto what a play is to an actor. The execution under Relf’s direction was very effective in portraying each of these aspects of the show to the audience in a comedic fashion.
Though This is a Play had a cast of only four characters, each one was essentially doubled because their “actor” was also a character in the alternate plot. Therefore, the audience was shown a depiction of four different characters, stereotypical to most plays, as well as the thoughts and opinions of four different actors at different stages in their careers.
The musician filled in several gaps between scenes by asking philosophical questions about originality. He also gave the audience a look at some of the struggles that usually happen offstage, such as having one person scramble to perform too many tasks at one time. An example of this scrambling happened when all three of the other characters made their entrances at the same time, and the musician frantically changed between different instruments trying to play each character’s individual entrance music.
The other three characters showcased actors of different levels of experience in roles that showed different but standard types of characters. First, there was Auntie, the wise but slightly hardened maternal figure played by an experienced actress who was annoyed with the wig she had to wear.
Then there was Joey, the mysterious yet bold stranger from the city who showed up out of the blue, played by an inexperienced actor who was overconfident in his abilities and frequently thought of his inspiration, Robert De Niro.
And thirdly, Sissy, the well-trained actress who was in a dramatic role and frustrated with her inexperienced and non-appealing co-star, Joey. All actors were well cast and did a wonderful job of taking on their character and matching their required skill level. All four actors represented their characters in a convincing and believable way.
This is a Play was very enjoyable and it lived up to its promise of being a comedy. While some of the jokes were more geared toward viewers with a theatre background, they were still accessible to people without theatre experience. It was well written and well executed in that there was an actual story that included only minimal details—just enough to keep the audience intrigued and able to follow. This way, allowing the actors to expose “the magic of showbiz” was not a distraction from the story at hand.
The characters carried out the dramatic plot and the actors carried out the honest experience of showbiz. MacIvor’s This is a Play successfully told a touching story with a surprise ending while also showing the lengths actors will go to in order to live up to the phrase, “The show must go on!”