Play The Chair returns with more stories, one prop 

Eight actors bring comedy and drama to The Point

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - Monologuing The actors in The Chair hold the stage with their stories.
  • PHOTO submitted
  • Monologuing The actors in The Chair hold the stage with their stories.

It's turning into Chair Nation.

The Chair, an ever-evolving play by North Vancouver playwright John McGie, was first brought to Whistler last September, and is enjoying the sort of success that any writer would sell their keyboard to have.

"It's out of control," John laughs and then corrects himself.

"No, actually it's very encouraging."

The Chair Series takes a blank stage — empty but for a single prop, an eponymous chair — and uses it in many different ways to tell stories.

The stories and actors telling them can also change; as vignettes and monologues that belong to a single character, there are endless possibilities. Each monologue is unique and they can be mixed and matched according to the audience.

This has meant that it has been easy to stage, so much so that it is now a monthly resident at Vancouver's Seven Lounge, as well as touring.

"We're up to something like 30 actors now playing roles and about 60 monologues, something like that," McGie says.

"I probably have in my back pocket 100 monologues now, waiting to be produced."

The Chair takes place at The Point Artist-Run Centre on Friday, April 28, at 7 p.m. It is produced by Between Shifts Theatre.

Whistler singer-songwriter Jeremy Parnell is playing an opening set. The evening is not a dinner show, but there will be light snacks available and a cash bar.

Tickets are $15 and available at Armchair Books or www.thepointartists.com.

The actors taking part are an even mix from Whistler, Squamish and Vancouver: Kett Turton, David C. Jones, Siobhan McCarthy, Amy Reid, Kathy Daniels, Kate Byrne, Angie Nolan and Susan Hutchinson.

The actors will tell 14 new tales, comic and serious, from the story of a shot woman refusing to leave a bar until she's finished her beer to a gay man navigating his first date.

Asked what he thinks of the play taking on a life of its own, McGie says people have been compelled by the fun they have with it.

"We're fortunate to have very talented people, the calibre is pretty high. Word spread and so people have come to see it. We're in for the long game and because we play for one night only, we don't have to worry about doing a run," he says.

"The whole concept was to try to empower the actors to make their own show. I provide the monologue, and they do their modular kind of thing. The monologues are actor specific within the series."

The Point's executive director Stephen Vogler called The Chair "a very interesting and unique project."

He says he wanted to bring the project back to Whistler because of its quality.

"Both the writing and the acting last time were really topnotch and we thought, 'Wow, is that ever good!' We put on good theatre here in general, but that was among the best performance onstage that we've done," Vogler says.

He also likes the revolving process of the different monologues.

"Every time John meets with these actors and writes a new piece for that. It enticed me because it never repeats; this is a whole new production."

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