The Massey Murder

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Photo by Jim Smagata, © Theatre Erindale

I am in a play. About time, right?

Whenever I talk about this play to people who aren’t in my theatre program, I get a little frustrated that they don’t understand how big of a deal this is. It isn’t their fault; often I don’t even understand my own program. But I want them to understand that this is a really big deal.

This is a big deal because it isn’t the community theatre/high school play you may be familiar with. This is legit theatre, performed in a legit theatre, with some real legit costumes, set, props, and crew members. Plus it’s actually a required class in the program. So I am paying to do this show. I am a paying actor. Not to be confused with a paid actor. Point being, this is very real theatre.

It’s also a big deal because two months ago, this play didn’t even exist. The third year collective is a project in which my class takes a book and turns it into a play. With the approach we took, we didn’t write scenes and then stage them; we devised theatrical moments through improvisation and movement techniques, and then eventually wrote them down. We made this play. And that is pretty freaking cool.

You can read a description of this book, The Massey Murder by Charlotte Gray, anywhere on the internet, and you can research the historical event for days. So I won’t bore you with that. I’ll instead talk about what our play is about. It is about the portrayal of events through physical movements. It is about the exploration of ambiguity in telling history. Is it about expressing feeling as people and actors, and also creating feeling within an audience, by putting artistically impactful moments on stage. It is about coming together as a group of people to tell a story through our own points of view, and in turn coming amazingly close as a group of individuals.

It has been an incredible experience creating this play, because we were able to create it from next to nothing. I have always believed that art is about the process, not the end product, so this collective project has been so enjoyable for me. And because of that, it’s odd that we’re now performing it. Of course over the next two weeks we will continue to grow and discover and develop the show, but the time to just work and rework is over. But I am thrilled to present to our friends and family what we have been devising over the past two months, because I am so proud of my class for creating this piece of theatre.

Come see it. Because it’s “real dope” (direct quote from Charlotte Gray). November 13-23. BUY TICKETS.

http://www.utm.utoronto.ca/english-drama/online-tickets

Really, if you are available please do come see it. It would mean a lot to me. And if you sit stage left I may just call you a Jewish man.

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