AC198 AC198 AC198
by Mike McPhaden, directed by Patrick Conner, with Bobby Del Rio, Mary Francis Moore, Emily Hurson and D'Arcy Smith. February 7-11 at 9 pm. i know what mike mcphaden did last SummerWorks. His play Poochwater, a tragicomic look at a lonely city-dweller who forgets his own name, proved one of the theatre festival's breakout hits, establishing McPhaden as a writer and performer to watch. Now he's back with AC198, a new play about four people on a turbulent flight from Winnipeg to Toronto.
The half-hour work's inspired by two separate stories that have obsessed the Winnipeg native for years. One concerns a fictionalized conversation he overheard at a bar about patent law; the other's a monologue about a nasty snowboarding wipeout.
"It doesn't matter what plans you make or how much you think you're in control of your own life," explains McPhaden about the piece. "Everything can take a 180-degree turn."
It's a lesson the author's learned first-hand.
"I've been hit in the head by life many times," he says. "For instance, in my mid-20s it took me seven or eight times to realize that when adults give you a deadline, they mean it. Just because you're a nice man doesn't mean you can submit things a week later and get away with it."
His SummerWorks success has helped him see that his ideas for plays don't have to remain ideas.
"Putting on the play showed me that things can actually happen if I work on them and find people as interested as I am in putting them on."
For the comic AC198, he's drawing on the enthusiasm of some of his SummerWorks pals. Poochwater's director, Patrick Conner, is onboard, and so, too, are Emily Hurson, Mary Francis Moore and Bobby Del Rio, all actors in SummerWorks 2000 hits. Even a voice-over part is played by SummerWorks vet Marie-Josée Lefebvre.
McPhaden's given the snowboarding monologue to Hurson, who plays one member of a rock band. He spent hours at Long and McQuade trying to bone up on his rock band lingo.
"Real drummers don't refer to their drums, they refer to their kit," he laughs. "If you don't know the lingo, you sound like someone's mom writing the play."
And yes, his new knowledge of rock talk is helping him out socially.
"You won't believe how talking about rock music impresses women," he says. "I have to wear silk clothes so they slide off." GS email@example.com
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