by Tara Thorne
Upstart company Metamorphic Theatre—winner of Best Play for its inaugural production, of Marion Bridge, in last year's Best of Halifax
—launches its new season this week with a brand-new production written by first-time playwrights Ryan Turner and Sarah Mian. Creatures of the Moment will run for four shows from March 29 to 31 at The Space.
Starring Shawn Duggan, Steve Goldbloom, Metamorphic's Samantha Madore, Amy Reitsma and DaPoPo's Garry Williams, Creatures of the Moment is a study of modern relationships, "there's marriage discussion and babies. Hilarity and drama ensue," says director Greg Jackson. "I'm not good at synopsizing, even with my own stuff."
You may recognize Jackson's name from the world of film, where he's been making waves since 1999. A prolific writer and director, he made festival faves The Dishwasher Manifesto, Nothing But the Truth and Vent. This is his first time working in theatre, and his first time directing something somebody else wrote.
"You have so much time to work with them," he says of his cast. "To really get to the meat of each character you have to go through every single line of dialogue and get the motivation of why they're doing or saying this. And with film you get two or three rehearsals if you're lucky and then you break it into a shooting schedule, it's not linear. There's a script analysis that I don't think you need on a film set, but you just don't get it."
Though Turner and Mian are accomplished fiction writers, this is their first crack at playwriting, which Jackson says is one of the reasons Metamorphic asked him to direct, him being a theatre neophyte as well. "When I came on board they said it was final and I read it, and it wasn't," he says of the script. "That happens with film too. It's never done until it goes on. Luckily they were open to a few suggestions here and there, so I kind of took on the role of a story editor, very briefly. We had one or two meetings, little rewrites here and there."
After Creatures of the Moment, Metamorphic will stage a production of Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) at the Chester Playhouse in July. Jackson is currently working on a Film 5 production through the Atlantic Filmmakers' Co-operative, which goes to camera next month. He'll be able to bring some of his new experience to the shoot.
"It's been great practice—it's been awhile since I've done any sort of directing," he says. "This has been a way to jump in feet-first and blind. Luckily I have a very experienced cast to work with. I can't say the words "on the day" anymore."
Creatures of the Moment runs March 29 to 31, with two shows on Saturday, at The Space, 2353 Agricola. Tickets are $10 at the door or you can reserve by calling 429-8742.
View from the top
The ViewFinders International Film Festival for Youth, one of the most important cultural events in the city, launched its line-up this week in style at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, complete with caramel corn (at 10am, mind you). Some things you've seen before, either on television (the weight issues doc Generation XXL, Sudz Sutherland's drama Doomstown) or in last week's Halifax Independent Filmmakers' Festival (The Wake of Calum MacLeod, terrifically funny Oscar-winner The Danish Poet, terrifically tear-making The Sparky Book).
But two very big things will be new to most, unless you were at the Sundance Film Festival in the past two years. ViewFinders will open on April 24 with War/Dance, which won the documentary directing award for Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine at Sundance, and is a story about children being abducted to join the rebel army in Uganda. The closing gala on April 28 will feature God Grew Tired of Us, directed by Christopher Dillon Quinn and Tommy Walker. This two-time Sundance award winner follows three of the "Lost Boys" of The Sudan, who are relocated from their war-torn country to American cities. One of those men has since settled in Nova Scotia and will attend the screening for a Q & A.
That's just a touch of programming for you, and you don't need to be under 18 to participate. Hit atlanticfilm.com/view for a complete schedule of screenings, workshops and panels, plus the box office details.
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