Nasty Shadows gets Fredericton In On It

3 02 2017

by Emma Wilkes


This One (Scott Shannon) is, at times, fabulous in Daniel MacIvor’s In On It. Photo credit: Michael Holmes-Lauder

Nasty Shadow Theatre Co.’s production of Daniel MacIvor’s In On It provokes heartache in the best way possible, while masterfully exploring three interweaving stories.

In On It tells the story of two men navigating their relationship issues while rehearsing scenes from a play. The narrative includes flashbacks and self-referential moments to convey its theme of control. This two-person play, directed by Matthew Spinney, utilizes basic staging to effectively show how life is out of your control; it is left completely up to the decisions of others.

The stage is bare save for two chairs, and the only prop used in the show is a grey jacket passed between the actors.

The story is perhaps the best part of the show: That One (Michael Holmes-Lauder) questions the choices This One (Scott Shannon) has made while writing his play. They take turns playing the role of Ray King, a terminally ill man attempting to navigate his final days while being affected by the choices of the people around him. There is silence as the audience realizes that the end of Ray’s life is finally affected by his own choice, but controls the fate of another, the driver into which he crashes. The pair, through multiple flashbacks, shows the buildup and dysfunction of their relationship. In the end, there is a sense of poignancy as That One’s life is taken in the same way as the driver in This One’s play. The show ends as the play began: a bare stage, save for a grey lambswool jacket and a single spotlight.

Despite some slightly awkward scene transitions, the script manages to resonate with the audience. Shannon’s and Holmes-Lauder’s physicality and ability to move between characters is impressive. They manage to make the audience feel for every role they inhabit. Not once is the illusion broken.

One moment that stands out is an awkward booty call in which This One mistakenly invites That One over to make love. They both realize the mistake in a long moment of awkward tension before This One invites him in anyway. The moment is expertly played by Holmes-Lauder as he goes from excitement to embarrassment when he realizes the invitation was not meant for him.

Clarification between each individual moment is achieved by lighting: a general wash for This One and That One’s discussions about the play, spotlights for moments inside of the play, and distinct colour washes for the flashbacks. The sound design for the production is excellent, the most memorable moment being the realistic sound of a baseball being tossed back and forth despite no prop actually being thrown. The use of music was moving and managed to heighten emotional moments throughout the show.

Daniel MacIvor’s In On It, produced by Nasty Shadows Theatre Company, ran January 12-14, 2017 at UNB’s Memorial Hall.


This One (Scott Shannon) ponders the jacket in Daniel MacIvor’s In On It, produced by Nasty Shadows Theatre Co. Photo Credit: Michael Holmes-Lauder



2 responses

3 02 2017
Robin C. Whittaker

Thanks for the great comment. This is one (or that is one) to think about for sure! 🙂

3 02 2017

Thank you so much for coming out to the show and for sharing these thoughts! We’ve found it interesting that you, and other reviews, have assumed THIS ONE and THAT ONE are “rehearsing” a play — we always thought of it as actually “performing” for a live audience, and that these meta-moments are happening within the context of an actual performance, not rehearsal … hmmm … makes me wonder what we’re missing in conveying “performance” vs “rehearsal” … something to think about for our last kick at the can tomorrow night in Moncton! Thanks again for coming, and for sharing! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s