The matter of Invisible Atom

2b's award-winning one-man show returns to Halifax.

Nick Rudnicki

It's been a wild ride for 2b theatre since Invisible Atom first premiered in Halifax in 2006. The one-man show, written by and starring 2b's co-artistic director Anthony Black, has touched down in cities across Canada, as well as in New York and Cork, Ireland. It recently returned from a run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where Black received a Herald Angel award from the festival, presented by actor Clarke Peters (The Wire and Treme), and a four-star review from the The Guardian. Invisible Atom is slated to hit Australia and Nashville, Tennessee, in the new year, but first it returns to Halifax for a limited run at The Bus Stop Theatre, December 1-4 at 8pm, with weekend matinee performances at 2pm.

"This show has definitely been well-received," says Black over a cup of Earl Grey tea on a Sunday morning at FRED. “I think part of that's due to the fact that we have an incredibly polished production design that merges well with the writing and performance. It's really slick."

Invisible Atom is the story of a successful stockbroker named Atom who begins to doubt the ethics of his work and who experiences a tragic reversal of fortune. The show takes place with the shattered Atom literally stopped mid-jump while the regular laws of physics are suspended, giving him the opportunity to ruminate on everything from his dysfunctional family to particle physics to free-market economics.

Coming as it did before the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007, Black wondered if the show's theme of the fear of economic collapse would make it seem dated today, and has been surprised by the answer.

"I thought maybe it would be less relevant today, when it actually seems to have tapped into something that makes it even more relevant," he says. "And I think people like that it deals with important and serious themes in a playful, fanciful way."

The December 1 show will mark Black's 84th performance as Atom, but he's not tiring of playing the character.

"I'd have to say I'm enjoying the experience more and more," he says. "There's some new writing since the last time the show was here, and I'd have to say my performance has deepened. I'm really confident in it."

Reserve Invisible Atom tickets ($15-$25) at or call 453-6267.

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