DILIGENT RIVER DAUGHTER

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I’ve spent the past month in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, helping bring one helluva theatrical beast to it’s feet. DILIGENT RIVER DAUGHTER is an adaptation of a novel (written by Bruce Graham) which tells the story of young Charlene Durant (played by Kristin Slaney) over the span of six years.

In the words of my Father, “I wouldn’t know a good play from a bad play, but I liked it.”

If you can’t take his word, Elissa Bernard from The Chronicle Herald called the play “gripping, & beautifully acted” (click here for full review), and Kate Watson from The Coast calls it “a theatrical journey you don’t want to miss” (click here for full review).

Myself and a bevy of incredible performers (Wally MacKinnonJohn DarttJenny Munday & Brian Heighton) round out the rest of the cast. The novel was adapted by Scott Burke and directed by Ron Jenkins.

If you make the trip to see the show, please stick around and say hello. DILIGENT RIVER DAUGHTER runs until July 28th. Visit ShipsCompany.com for more info.

Side note: It’s kind of eery how many similarities there are between the lead actress Kristin Slaney’s life and that of her character, Charlene Durant. Both dream of moving away from their Nova Scotian surroundings to pursue careers as a writer.

Oh! Look at that! An opportunity to mention Kristin’s crowd-funding campaign to raise funds so that she can attend Columbia University’s prestigious Playwrighting program! Please visit “Slaney Takes Manhattan” and throw whatever you can spare in her direction. She’s one of the good ones.

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HERALD REVIEW, LOGAN & I

Call me a geek if you like, but I always get a kick out of seeing who I share a page with, be it in newspapers, magazines, or film festival guides. Well today’s review of LOGAN AND I brings the novel experience of sharing a page with Paul Rudd and Reese Witherspoon… I’m on their heels.

Enough of my self-centered tendencies (he says as he writes his blog), today’s Chronicle Herald featured a review of LOGAN AND I by Elissa Barnard. Read below for an excerpt from “An honest look at male sexuality and friendship“…

McPhee is charming, chatty and totally emphatic as Dezzy. Logan as a cold, unlikable character is the more difficult role and Glen Matthews nails it. He makes Logan very realistic, vulnerable even, as he is mean and manipulative.

There are no easy answers at the end of Logan and I. How you react to the play will depend on your gender and sexuality.

As a woman, I find the boys’ talk about women distasteful but I recognize it as realistic.

As a human being, regardless of gender, I recognize the complexities in intense friendship as true.

The way McPhee starts with the innocence of playing imaginary battles with Transformers and carries the metaphor throughout the play is quite brilliant.

Read the entire article over @ http://thechronicleherald.ca/ArtsLife/1217612.html

Another review, beautifully written by Daniel MacKay of GayHalifax explains perfectly why this is such a rewarding story to tell…

The play was flawlessly presented. For me it was like running a finger over an old scar, and keenly remembering the pain, and exactly how you got the wound.

The full review is available @ http://gay.hfxns.org/Logan_And_I

That’s all for now, there’s still three more chances for you to catch LOGAN AND I at the Bus Stop Theatre! Tonight at 8pm, tomorrow (Pay-What-You-Can performance) at 2pm, and our final show at 8pm Saturday night. Email  thedopplereffect.ns@gmail.com to reserve tickets. Here’s the link to the Facebook event page:  http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=170302712992783

 

“LOGAN AND I” OPENS DEC. 15th

Whoa, look at that, it’s snowing on WordPress again!… or is this just a virus?… Who knows, really! Anyways, at this point next week, I’ll be back in Halifax, preparing to re-mount LOGAN AND I, the show I took part in last Summer during the Queer Acts Festival.

Please, if you can make time during the absurdity known as “the holidays” then come see our show. It really is something that I’m very proud of, and I’m happy to be taking another shot at it. If you’ve already seen the show, then recommend it to a friend (tell them it’s a gift)!

Read below for all of the details from the LOGAN AND I Facebook Event Page

This holiday season, The Doppler Effect are pleased to invite you to the remount of their summer hit, ‘LOGAN AND I’ by Atlantic Canadian playwright Michael McPhee. Only 5 shows – don’t miss your chance to catch this gem of a play which sold out every house at the Queer Acts Theatre Festival 2010!

Wednesday December 15th – 8pm
Thursday December 16th – 8pm
Friday December 17th – 8pm
Saturday December 18th – 2pm (PWYC) & 8pm

Tickets: $20 regular
$15 students/artists/underwaged
CASH ONLY
ADVANCE BOOKING STRONGLY RECOMMENDED
E-mail thedopplereffect.ns@gmail.com to reserve

A nostalgic, personal and deeply touching piece, the story follows Dezzy and Logan, two children of the 1980s. Both outsiders – one due to shyness, the other because of poverty – they form a bond despite their differences: Logan is enamoured with Dezzy’s collection of toys he could never afford; Dezzy, in turn, is thrilled to have a strong friend to protect him from the threat of schoolyard bullies. But when a copy of ‘The Joy of Sex’ is stumbled upon, sparking a period of sexual discovery between them, the boys’ friendship changes and Dezzy soon finds out that being friends with Logan comes with its own dangers.

Written for the 2010 Queer Acts Theatre Festival, the show’s first run garnered much attention. The Coast’s Kate Watson wrote, “Michael McPhee’s 80’s-set coming-of-age story beautifully captures both the feel of the era and the angst of childhood.” The feedback from audience members of all communities was enthusiastic and heartfelt – playwright Lenora Steele summarizes: “Although it is on the surface about two young boys/men searching for their own identity or individuality, [Logan and I] hits home to all people trapped by their own self-defeating rituals.”

Now is your chance to see for yourself!

Featuring Glen Matthews as Logan and Michael McPhee as Dezzy, ‘LOGAN AND I’ is directed by Eastern Front Theatre’s Scott Burke and produced/assistant directed by Annie Valentina. It is designed by Nathan Pilon (sound) and Evan Brown (set/lights).

‘LOGAN AND I’ is The Doppler Effect’s first company project. Comprised of Creative Director Michael McPhee and Artistic Producer Annie Valentina, The Doppler Effect hopes to continue functioning as a conduit for compelling original work in Atlantic Canada.

Hope to see you in a couple weeks!

Here’s the link to the LOGAN AND I Facebook Event Page.

FARE THEE WELL, “LOGAN & I”

I owe a large amount of thanks to my fellow creators who also worked on LOGAN AND I, Michael McPhee (Writer/Actor), Scott Burke (Director), and Annie Valentina (Producer), thank you all so much for making the past 4 weeks as painless as possible. I say “painless” because it’s been a couple years since I’ve done theatre (not counting last month’s Once Upon an Evening of Short Plays), and I was fully aware how catostrophically disastarous a return to theatre could be after such a long absence.

Four weeks after the fact, I am now fully convinced: theatre is a completely different beast than film.

I am honestly so honored to have played the part of Logan in LOGAN AND I, Michael really has written a beautiful play with a strong universal theme running throughout it. Going into the run of the show, I didn’t realize or appreciate just how universal it was until I talked to the people who were in audience and I was really moved by what they had to say.

Forgive my sentimentality, I know it has no place on the hatred-filled-internetz.

In other fun news, I got my first reference in a review (baby-steps) as Kate Watson from The Coast said “Actor Glen Matthews brings the perfect amount of a vulnerability to the damaged Logan, so that he’s painted in shades of grey rather than being seen only as a villain.

Back pat.

Let’s end on that note, shall we? Thank you to everyone involved in the Queer Acts Festival, especially Adam Reid, and all of the volunteers who I pretended that I was cooler than (I wasn’t); congrats to the other two shows, you inspired my heterosexual ass!

Fare thee well.

“LOGAN AND I” IN THE CHRONICLE HERALD

Ripped from The Chronicle Herald’s website @ http://bit.ly/bqln9i


Logan and I a tale of transformation
Play written by Halifax’s Michael McPhee opens Queer Act fest
By ANDREA NEMETZ Entertainment Reporter
Sun. Jul 18 – 4:52 AM

IF ONE of the characters in Logan and I, a play premiering Tuesday at the Queer Acts Theatre Festival, is accused of giving a plastic performance, it won’t be a lie.

Glen Matthews, who plays Logan, and Michael McPhee, as Dezzy, think Megatron — the leader of the evil Decepticons from the popular Transformers universe of toys, comics, TV and movies — could be a third character. “The Megatron character is integral to the play,” McPhee says.

In fact, the play’s producers, The Doppler Effect, a new theatre company founded by McPhee and Annie Valentina, have spent a lot of time and money on eBay tracking down a Transformers collection. (McPhee’s mother gave his away.)

Megatron alone cost $100 and has his own screwdriver to tighten all his screws after each rehearsal.

“We’re very hard on our toys,” jokes McPhee, who wrote the play about two boys growing up in the 1980s, one affluent and one from the wrong side of the tracks.

“It’s a look at what it was like to grow up in the ’80s, the first generation that was marketed to through cartoons. It went from Bugs Bunny to how can we sell toys to these kids?

“They go through sexual discovery together, which is something all boys do, straight or gay, and that completely flips the power dynamic. One boy ends up being gay and falling in love with the other, and the other goes on a downward spiral. It’s a journey, a story of friendship and unrequited love, a fast, funny and heart-touching tale.”

The coming-of-age story opens Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Bus Stop Theatre, 2203 Gottingen St., Halifax.

The age range of the characters is eight to mid-30s but focuses on their time in school up to Grade 12.

Logan and I is the first play McPhee has written by himself  that has been produced.

He co-wrote In Pink with Andria Wilson and starred in that play, based on the true story of two Grade 12 students in the Annapolis Valley who stood up for a bullied Grade 9 student by getting as many students as they could to wear pink shirts. In Pink, which debuted at Eastern Front Theatre’s SuperNova Theatre Festival in 2008 and did three provincial tours, was mentored by Scott Burke, who directs Logan and I.

“I’ve put In Pink to rest now, I feel I’m too old to play a 17-year-old, but I hope other people pick it up,” says McPhee, who looks at least a decade younger than his 34 years.

Matthews, a 24-year-old Lunenburg native now based in Halifax, is excited to play Logan.

“He’s one of those people who has the cards stacked against him with everything in life and it doesn’t take much for him to go down the wrong road. He makes a lot of bad choices. It’s a very off-type character for me, which is something I’m looking forward to.”

The graduate of Park View Education Centre in Bridgewater went on to study in Neptune Theatre’s pre-professional training program and is excited to be back onstage after a big year in film.

Matthews had a principal role in Moby Dick, the US$25.5 million TV miniseries filmed in Nova Scotia and Malta last year. It stars Academy Award winner William Hurt, Ethan Hawke, Gillian Anderson, Donald Sutherland and Billy Boyd.

He was also in The Corridor, a film from Halifax writer Josh MacDonald, directed by Evan Kelly and filmed in Canning this winter. He describes it as “The Shining meets The Thing.”

McPhee, who graduated from Cole Harbour District High School and went on to study science at Saint Mary’s University, has also had a big year onscreen. He just wrapped Cloudburst, Thom Fitzgerald’s feature film about two aging lesbians who run away to Nova Scotia to get married. The film stars Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker.

McPhee plays a policeman who butts heads with Dukakis, an Oscar winner he calls “the best person I’ve met in the industry, down to earth and understated. . . . She’s the business.”

He and Valentina are excited to debutLogan and I at the Queer Acts Theatre Festival.

McPhee says he’s grateful to Hugo Dann for coming up with the idea of the festival, now in its second year, and to Adam Reid for running it.

“It offers something unique in the theatre scene, the opportunity for those doing professional-level work to push the envelope,” he says.

“There’s a selective process to get in. The audience is built-in. They want queer themes and there’s a lot of great work being done within those themes.”

( anemetz@herald.ca)

“LOGAN AND I” IN THE COAST

Ripped from The Coast’s website @ http://bit.ly/9y3GW8

Logan and I: sexual dealings at Queer Acts

The Doppler Effect’s first production takes a look back at those early days of sexual awareness from a male perspective.

Posted by Kate Watson on Thu, Jul 15, 2010 at 5:47 PM

Think back to your first introduction to the theoretical mechanics of sex. Whether the revelations came from your uncomfortable parents, your gleefully “well-informed” friend, or from some dog-eared magazine or well-placed pop-up, chances are you reacted with a mixture of pure disgust and nascent excitement.Logan and I, a one-act play written by actor Michael McPhee, which debuts at this year’s Queer Acts Theatre Festival, explores this time in the life of one shy boy growing up in the 1980s. It’s told through the eyes of a gay man named Dezzy (played by McPhee), who is looking back from adulthood to his sexual awakening with a boy from the wrong side of the tracks named Logan (Glen Matthews).

“One of the things that I think is most intriguing about this play is that beyond exploring sexual curiosity, it starts a discussion about intimacy between men,” says Logan director Scott Burke. “I think we’re in agreement that Logan does identify as straight while Dezzy identifies as gay, but they are clearly looking for something from each other. It’s a murky area of sexuality.”

Logan and I is produced by The Doppler Effect, a new independent production company formed by McPhee and Annie Valentina. The name, which describes a scientific principle of how you perceive a soundwave based on your perspective, was chosen to reflect the same idea in theatre. “We’re highlighting the individual experience,” Valentina says. “It’s about acknowledging that there are many different ways to look at the same thing, and producing new work that explores that.”

Both McPhee and Valentina are huge advocates of Queer Acts, saying that the festival, which is in its second year, is the perfect place to put on envelope-pushing works without taking huge risks.

“There’s so much community support, both from the independent theatre and gay communities,” says McPhee. “And we’re really lucky to have a place like the Bus Stop that supports us in putting on these small-scale, edgy works.”

Queer Acts runs nightly from July 20-23 at the Bus Stop Theatre: Logan and I at 7pm; Berend McKenzie’s nggrfg, 8:30pm; The (sad) Ballad of Oliver Hugh & Company, written and performed by Steve Bourque and Steph McNair, 10pm. All tickets are $15/$10 for students, seniors and underwaged. Also, there’s a one-night performance of DaPoPo Theatre‘s DaPride Cafe, July 19, 8pm, at Menz Bar for $5. Festival passes are available for $30 at Venus Envy; advance tickets can be reserved at qareservations@gmail

“LOGAN AND I” OPENS IN ONE WEEK

LOGAN AND I, presented by The Doppler Effect, opens one week from today (Tuesday, July 20th) as part of the Queer Acts Festival! Directed by Scott Burke, featuring myself and Michael McPhee, who also wrote the play. Annie Valentina is also our Stage Manager.

The show runs four nights only at The Bus Stop Theatre (2203 Gottingen St.), Tuesday 20th, Wednesday 21st, Thursday 22nd and Friday the 23rd; seating is limited so reserve tickets ahead of time at QARESERVATIONS@GMAIL.COM. $15 / $10 (student/artist/unwaged).

Have a gander at a couple promo shots taken by Ashley Pike (click for larger view)…

Keep your eyes peeled for an article in this Thursday’s The Coast, as well as a piece in The Chronicle Herald sometime later on in the week. I’ll post them on here as well, because I’m good to you like that. I give so much.