May. 02, 2012 - Issue #863: Cold Specks
In On It
Roxy Theatre, $13.50 – $27
Careful planning only gets a person so far. Sometimes, there's no rhyme or reason when it comes to love, grief or navigating the creative process.
These three themes are brought together in Daniel MacIvor's In On It, presented by Theatre Network, starring the two-man cast of Frank Zotter and Nathan Cuckow.
Zotter describes his character, for all intensive purposes, as essentially being MacIvor, or at least a version of him: he's a playwright who uses his writing to work through his relationship struggles with another man.
"You get a sense that Daniel is in the room with us when we do it and that he's put a lot of himself into this main role, but through this character, this playwright grappling with writing this story, I get to also inhabit the role that this playwright creates," Zotter explains, adding In On It is broken into four essential parts: the past, the present, the play and the show.
MacIvor is able to take cliché platitudes on life like enjoying the moment and living for now and give them a creative kick, Zotter notes.
"I'm in awe of him because he writes so beautifully and there's such a huge heart in this play," he adds. "This is a dangerous thing to say, but it's almost easy to act because as long as you believes what he's saying and connect to what he's saying, which I do already, then it's just a matter of telling the story, and the story's beautiful."
However, this ease comes from the emotional connection within the story, not its technical aspects. Zotter says In On It requires a great deal of mental dexterity due to its tendency to jump around through various styles. One moment, the characters are addressing the audience and the next they're in an intense fight, all within a matter of a line or two.
He and Cuckow must remain keenly aware of the other's actions during the course of the play in order to pull off the ever-changing dynamics. The pair have worked together in the past, which assisted in their onstage relationship for this production.
"We play well in the sandbox together," Zotter jokes.
Joining the pair onstage is a third essential element to the production. This element comes in the form of a jacket, which holds unique symbolism for each aspect of the story.
"While wearing it, in each style—the past, the present, the play, the show—that jacket has a different meaning, but it bears great weight," Zotter says, adding the jacket has defining qualities, such as its role in the play his character writes, and its connection to the couple's relationship.
Amidst the production's layers and complexities lies a message that isn't necessarily a new concept, but holds true. Finding a way to live in the now, fill your present with what you desire, with dreams and with love and, overall, figuring out what the present means to you, while filling it with what makes you happiest.
"It's a comedy in lots of ways ... but there's also such rich complications," Zotter notes, adding it is essentially a love story about a breakup. "Exit points can be entry points if you're willing to see it that way. I think that we look at it, particularly in regards to relationships, they're all tragic or sad or unfortunate or full of pain, but endings can be a beautiful thing." vueweekly.com comments: powered by Disqus
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