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Playwrights Unit Information

Thursday, 21 October, 2010

What it is: The Eastern Front Theatre Playwrights Unit is a professional support network for Nova Scotian playwrights. It brings together six writers on a regular basis to share their progress on current works and receive feedback from peers.

What it isn’t: Eastern Front Theatre’s Playwrights Unit is designed to support playwrights as they develop individual projects. It is not a commissioning or development enterprise for plays to be produced by Eastern Front Theatre. Apart from a request to have Eastern Front’s support recognized whenever one of the works from a Unit playwright is produced or published, Eastern Front Theatre makes no claim on any of the works. In the event a play is identified as appropriate for production by Eastern Front Theatre, separate negotiations would be undertaken.

How it works: Six writers will be selected based on an application process. They will form the inaugural core group of writers. The unit will meet once every month at a venue provided by EFT (or agreed upon by the group) and share progress on their current projects.

Playwrights are required to bring a minimum of three new pages of writing to each meeting. The new material will be read aloud followed by constructive criticism from the other members of the unit. If a writer wishes to have a complete draft read and considered, additional meetings may be set up, or a regular meeting might focus on the work of one playwright.

What is provided: In addition to providing a venue for the meetings, EFT will also provide printing and photocopying for meeting materials. We will also provide support and advice on grant writing, technical matters, marketing, etc. EFT is interested in seeing the plays generated by the unit succeed, so we will be happy to provide assistance as requested, subject to our means.

What is expected of the writers: First and foremost, playwrights are expected to show up on a regular basis and to write. Playwrights will be expected to be supportive of the other writers around the table and supportive of the unit as a whole. The aim of the unit is to provide a secure, supportive environment where writers feel comfortable sharing their work, and where the solitary nature of writing may be mitigated by communal gatherings.

As indicated above, publication or production of a work which receives support from the unit should include a credit in the publication or theatre program stating: [Title of Play] was developed in part with the assistance of the Eastern Front Theatre Playwrights Unit.

We invite Nova Scotian playwrights of various experience levels who wish to be considered for the Eastern Front Theatre Playwrights Unit to submit a proposal to the Unit Coordinator.

Proposals should include:

Two copies of:

  • A brief resume or bio
  • A one page outline of the project you plan to work on over the course of the next 12 months
  • A sample of up to 10 pages of the script in progress (if possible, not required)

Please mail to:
Michael McPhee
Coordinator
EFT Playwrights Unit
P.O. Box 11
Dartmouth, NS
B2Y 3Y2

Submissions will be accepted by mail only and must be received or postmarked by November 1, 2010.

Download Playwrights Unit Information in PDF Format

EFT announces new Playwrights Unit

Thursday, 21 October, 2010

Call for Applicants

Halifax, NS – Eastern Front Theatre is pleased to announce the establishment of a new Playwrights Unit; a professional support network for Nova Scotian playwrights.

The Eastern Front Theatre Playwrights Unit is designed to support playwrights on an ongoing basis as they develop individual projects.

Six writers will be selected to form the inaugural Unit. The Unit will meet monthly and provide an environment where writers feel comfortable sharing their work and where the solitary nature of writing may be mitigated by communal gatherings.

Eastern Front Theatre invites Nova Scotian Playwrights who wish to be considered for the Playwrights Unit to submit an application to the Playwrights Unit Coordinator, Michael McPhee. For further information, please visit www.easternfronttheatre.com.

Applications should include:

Two copies of:

  • A brief resume or bio
  • A one page outline of the project you plan to work on over the next twelve months
  • A sample of up to ten pages of the script in progress

Applications will be accepted by mail only and must be received or postmarked by November 1, 2010.

Please mail to:

Michael McPhee
Coordinator
EFT Playwrights Unit
P.O. Box 11
Dartmouth, NS
B2Y 3Y2

Download Playwrights Unit Press Release in PDF Format

2010-11 Season Announcement

Wednesday, 22 September, 2010

MEDIA RELEASE

For Release: September 22, 2010

Eastern Front Theatre Announces 2010-2011 Season

Plays with Perspective

Halifax, NS – Artistic Producer Scott Burke announced today Eastern Front Theatre’s Playbill for the company’s 18th Season and the return of the SuperNova Theatre Festival, Atlantic Canada’s national professional theatre festival.

“Eastern Front Theatre enjoyed a very successful transition season in 2009-2010,” said Burke, “I’m delighted to report our move to venues on the Halifax peninsula proved popular with our traditional audience and attracted a slew of newcomers.  We want to thank our patrons and supporters for making the journey with us.”

The 2010-2011 season of Plays with Perspective include a comedy that takes the audience on a virtual tour of Paris, and a retrospective look at seminal events in the Iraq war.  In Fall in Paris three vacationers experience fundamental changes to their points of view as they travel the rocky road of romance.  Palace of the End is based on real life American, British, and Iraqi citizens whose lives were irrevocably altered by an international conflict.

Fall in Paris

The season begins with the World Premiere of Fall in Paris, a romantic comedy written and directed by Scott Burke. The production previews November 14, opens November 16 and runs until November 28 at the Bus Stop Theatre.

City of light, city of romance, Paris is the world’s number one tourist destination. A vacation can be a time to contemplate life’s big decisions.  Such is the case for Claire and Darren, troubled lovebirds who must overcome a major relationship deal breaker.  So too for Cecelia who is about to finalize her divorce.

Join all three as they’re thrown together on the Hot Hot Couples tour of the French Capital.  You’ll experience the top tourist attractions of Paris through the eyes of this hilarious trio in search of love and adventure and maybe even the meaning of life.  Fall in Paris promises an intimate and innovative theatrical journey straight to the heart…via the funny-bone.

Fall in Paris features a superb ensemble cast of Nova Scotian acting talent including Jennifer Overton (God’s Middle Name, Sylvia, Trailer Park Boys, Titanic and most recently Whirligig); Kate Lavender (Vimy, The Leisure Society, How I learned to Drive, Growing Op, Faith, Fraud & Minimum Wage); and Matt Gorman (Rum and Vodka, Hana’s Suitcase, The Drawer Boy).fallinparis

Scott Burke’s previous plays include The Parrsboro Boxing Club, winner of the 2005 Merritt Award for Outstanding Play, Chairmaker the Musical, and most recently for Eastern Front Theatre, Canada’s Songbird – A Musical Tribute to Anne Murray, and Singalong Jubilee – The East Coast Sound Celebration.

The Artistic Team for Fall in Paris consists of Director Scott Burke, Set and Projection Designer Dustin Harvey, Costume Designer Veronica MacIsaac, Lighting Designer Louisa Adamson, Sound Designer Nathan Pilon, and Assistant Director is Christopher Fowler.

Palace of the End

Eastern Front takes a dramatic turn in the New Year with the multi-award winning Palace of the End, by Judith Thompson, starring R.H. Thomson.  The show previews March 27, opens March 29, and runs until April 10 at the Bus Stop Theatre.

Palace of the End was nominated for a Governor General’s Award, is the winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play, and the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award.

Three searing monologues make up Palace of the End: a shockingly funny portrayal of the soldier who took the fall for the Abu Ghraib prison scandal; the dying reflections of the weapons inspector who blew the whistle on government justifications for the invasion of Iraq; a tea party with a mother and political leader who suffered unfathomable loss at the hands of Saddam Hussein. Palace of the End will unsettle you with its startling beauty.

One of Canada’s most respected playwrights, Judith Thompson is the author of The Crackwalker, White Biting Dog, I Am Yours, Lion in the Streets, Sled, Perfect Pie, and Palace of the End. She has written two feature films Lost and Delirious and Perfect Pie as well as television movies and radio drama. Her work has enjoyed great success internationally.  Ms. Thompson is the recipient of two Governor General’s Literary Awards, and is an Officer in the Order of Canada. In 2007, she was awarded the prestigious Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts.

SuperNova Theatre Festival

The 18th Annual SuperNova Theatre Festival returns to the Neptune Studio Theatre May 18 to 29, 2011.  For twelve days Atlantic Canada’s national professional theatre festival will once again feature an eclectic line-up of innovative theatre, comedy, music and special events.  The SuperNova Theatre Festival brings the best and brightest touring productions from across the country to take centre stage alongside equally thrilling home-grown fare.  The complete playbill for SuperNova 2011 will be announced in March 2011.

Subscriptions and Single Tickets on Sale Now

Eastern Front Theatre offers a Subscription Package that makes live theatre an irresistible bargain.  Subscriptions are on sale now at a 25% discount off the single ticket prices.  Two play Subscriptions are $45 and include: 1 ticket to Fall in Paris, 1 Ticket to Palace of the End, and feature a choice of performance dates, no hassle exchange privileges, taxes included and no service fees!  To purchase subscriptions and single tickets please visit us here or call 902-463-7529.

Now in its 18th season, Eastern Front Theatre is a Halifax based theatre company that commissions, develops, produces, presents and tours plays that explore and celebrate the human condition in relation to our place in the world.  We champion the work of Canadian artists and especially those from Atlantic Canada.  Eastern Front Theatre strives to stimulate, entertain, and challenge our audience with theatre that is provocative, innovative, and of the highest standard.

O’Regan’s Automotive Group is Eastern Front Theatre’s 2010-2011 Season Sponsor.  The SuperNova Theatre Festival is sponsored by The Craig Foundation and Office Interiors. Other Festival sponsors include Esso Imperial Oil Foundation, Theatre Nova Scotia, Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre and Super 8 Hotels.  Seaside 105.9 FM is our Media Sponsor. Eastern Front Theatre is generously funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage and the Halifax Regional Municipality.

Sure thing (The Coast)

Monday, 12 April, 2010

Lauchie, Liza & Rory 

Kate Watson, The Coast, Apr 12, 2010

It’s magical to watch actors Natasha MacLellan and Christian Murray transform themselves into the memorable charters who inhabit the 1940s Cape Breton mining town in Lauchie, Liza and Rory. MacLellan manages to morph from the story’s narrator, a spinster with a wry sense of humour and a wonderful grasp of what makes people tick, to the fresh-faced, optimistic and romantic Liza by merely doffing her glasses and changing her posture. Murray convincingly brings to life a set of identical twin brothers, one pokey and introverted, the other dashing and reckless, both of whom fall for Liza’s charms. As well, the two actors play several other roles including a tart-tongued matron who is delightfully represented by a portrait on a rolling stand. The story is sweet and Mairi Rankin’s fiddle music is evocative, but it is its creative staging that makes this little play truly shine. –Kate Watson (With matinees Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm.)

“Cure the Sunday blues”

Sunday, 11 April, 2010

After you’ve relaxed with the paper, pick up the pace at Bearly’s
JEREMY WEBB | OFF THE LEASH
Chronicle Herald, Sun. Apr 11, 2010

IN HALIFAX, Sunday is not a day of rest, not in the entertainment industry!

Today, after putting down your paper or switching off your computer, if you are reading this at thechronicleherald.ca, you can see plays and shows in many genres. With your permission, I would like to “unleash” a few upon you right now.

I joined theatre lovers this past week at The Bus Stop Theatre on Gottingen Street where Eastern Front Theatre is presenting Sheldon Currie’s sweet, tender and oh-so-gentle, comedic love-triangle play, Lauchie, Liza & Rory.

In fine form were performers Christian Murray and Natasha MacLellan, multi-role-playing for all they are worth. The delightful Mairi Rankin on fiddle added musical sugar, spice and more than a dash of poignancy.

You really should consider catching this play before it closes on April 18.

The Bus Stop Theatre has new management. The new head honcho of this gem of a venue, Clare Waque, has already been putting in long hours transforming the theatre into a destination you won’t regret. Support the arts and check it out this week.

Tonight you can follow in my footsteps — if you dare — and take in the Blues Jam Night at Bearly’s House of Blues & Ribs on Barrington Street. The bar does a great line in ribs and wings but hungry or not for meat, you can satisfy your craving for good music.

Under the leadership of Brad Conrad, a member of the incredibly popular Mellotones and a Juno and multiple ECMA winner, the band blew my little British socks off last Sunday with some old-school surf music and I vaguely recall the night winding up with a rendition of Ghost Riders in the Sky.

The boys in the house band can play anything with anyone and the calibre of “jammers” is worth a visit. The house band includes Conrad on guitar; Matt Hebb on guitar; Garry Potts on drums and Morrow Scot-Brown on bass.

Where else, but Bearly’s on a Sunday night, can you rock out to such a diverse sound and where else do you get to hear live surf music? I’m going again and taking my Hawaiian shirt collection.

Early last week, I joined every theatre professional in town at the Merritt Awards, the annual orgy of back-slapping, celebration and beverage consumption.

Alderney Landing Theatre was throbbing with happiness as artist after artist picked up the pewter awards and thanked everyone they could think of in a series of speeches.

I had the pleasure on getting up and handing the Best Actress award to Shelley Thompson, for Glorious, at Festival Antigonish. Bill Wood was a popular Best Supporting Actor winner for East Of Berlin. There wasn’t a dry eye when Jean Morpurgo rose to accept her Legacy Award. The after-parties continued long into the night. What a great week to be Off The Leash.

Jeremy Webb is an actor, director and member of the board of Theatre Nova Scotia. To invite Jeremy Webb to lose his leash at your party or event, drop him a line at offtheleash@herald.ca, and catch up with him at www.offtheleash.ca  f11_offtheleash_jwebb_IMG2_Provincial_04-11-10_RTEGNAV

“Lauchie, Liza & Rory magical”

Friday, 9 April, 2010
Play touches on all emotions
By ELISSA BARNARD Arts Reporter
Chronicle Herald, Fri. Apr 9, 2010

ted091609EsatFront3.jpgLauchie, Liza & Rory is a show everyone should see before they die.

It touches on all the bases of everyday life with humour, sorrow and ingenious, playful staging.

First created in 1997, this version of the internationally touring hit features Mairi Rankin’s keening fiddle, often as a lament. It’s a beautiful fit to the mood and traditional Cape Breton culture of the show.

Lauchie, Liza & Rory, set in 1940s Cape Breton and based on a Sheldon Currie short story, is about two identical twins who are miners and live in a company house with their very proper, widowed mother, who took up Scrabble in bitterness after her husband was killed in the mine, and their very practical sister Anne, who acts as a narrator.  (photo by Ted Pritchard)

When the daredevil Rory leaves on a bender and doesn’t come home for months, Anne chases the dull Lauchie out of the house to the bingo hall where he meets the lively and lovely Liza. They decide to get married just when Rory crashes back into their lives and into Liza’s heart.

Natasha MacLellan, in a role first created by Burgundy Code, has a wonderful fluidity and natural quality as an actor. She brings an honesty and depth to her multiple parts, from the giddy party girl Kitty to the light-hearted and sorrowful Liza.

Christian Murray, who has been in Lauchie, Liza & Rory since 2003, has carefully honed his two versions of the twins for convincing characters and rapid, near invisible changes.

The genius of Lauchie, Liza & Rory is the storytelling style first created by current director Mary-Colin Chisholm, with actors Burgundy Code and Mike Petersen, at Festival Antigonish.

The boys’ mother is a picture frame on a pole attached to a wheeled platform.

Murray and MacLellan switch as the pinched-up, rapid-talking face in the frame. Sometimes they are standing out of the frame as other characters and open and close their fist within the frame to mouth mother’s words.

Without giving it all away, there are many simple and inventive stage “tricks” like this that make the show so magical. The card game, where Murray plays both Rory and Lauchie and MacLellan rapidly raises and lowers her glasses and alters her face between Anne and Liza, is a virtuosic performance.

Still, for all its stage magic, it’s the heart of the story that stays with you and the music, first added for a Celtic Colours show, holds onto the heart.

Stephen Osler has designed a new set for easy touring of a woven backdrop of a house, like a kids’ paper weave, in nostalgic blues. It becomes a form both for the palette of Leigh Ann Vardy’s lights and for the imagination to add detail.

Eastern Front Theatre’s presentation of the award-winning Frankie Productions show at the Bus Stop Theatre, 2203 Gottingen St., is a chance to see this much-loved play before it goes next April to the National Arts Centre. It runs about 70 minutes without intermission to April 18, with weekend matinees at 2 p.m. and evening shows at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $30, $25 for seniors, DND and arts workers and $15 for students at 463-PLAY, online at easternfronttheatre.com or at the door one hour before showtime.

As Anne tells the audience about her sad tale, “You’ll laugh you head off because it didn’t happen to you.”

( ebarnard@herald.ca)

Lauchie, Liza & Rory

Tuesday, 23 March, 2010

Christian Murray and Natasha MacLellan in LLRHALIFAX, NS – Eastern Front Theatre’s 17th Season continues with the presentation of Frankie Productions’ Lauchie, Liza & Rory, adapted from his own short story by famed Cape Breton writer Sheldon Currie. The play previews April 6, opens April 7 and runs until April 18 at the Bus Stop Theatre.

“We are delighted to present one of Nova Scotia’s funniest and most beloved comedic plays of all time.” said Artistic Producer Scott Burke, “Lauchie, Liza & Rory has an excellent track record as a crowd pleaser that serves up a genuine slice of Cape Breton life. Wherever the show has been performed it tickles the funny bone and touches the heart.”

Lauchie, Liza & Rory premiered in 2003 at Mulgrave Road Theatre, toured Nova Scotia and enjoyed a brief run at Eastern Front’s SuperNova Theatre Festival. In 2004 the play was presented at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival in Edmonton and toured New Zealand in 2005. Lauchie, Liza & Rory received the 2004 Merritt Award for Best New Play. Frankie Productions’ current tour has taken them to Whitehorse, Edmonton, Toronto’s Summerworks Festival, and the Celtic Colours Festival.

The Story: Coal miner Lauchie Macdonald lives a humdrum existence but his world turns upside down when the vivacious Liza dances into his life. The awkward courtship is sealed with a big win at bingo, until Lauchie’s daredevil twin brother, Rory, bursts onto the scene. Two actors bring a whole town of characters to vivid life, and a real story begins… a wry spinster, sonorous priest, reformed party girl, and cantankerous Cape Breton matriarch, are all witnesses to a twenty-year interrupted love story.

Eastern Front Theatre’s presentation of Lauchie, Liza & Rory features the stellar acting talents of Christian Murray and Natasha MacLellan, a live musical score provided by fiddler Mairi Rankin, and is ingeniously directed by Mary-Colin Chisholm.

Christian Murray is an acclaimed actor, writer and director based in Halifax and a founding member of Jest in Time Theatre. Jest highlights include a Japanese tour, three national CBC specials and performances at the Sydney Opera House. He recently performed in Artistic Fraud’s production of AfterImage at Harbourfront Toronto’s World Stage Series. Christian has appeared numerous times on the Neptune stage and on stages throughout Canada. He received a Gemini Award for his writing on 22 Minutes, and in 2006 was short listed for the CBC Literary Awards for his short story Frost.

Natasha MacLellan works as an actor, writer, producer and director. In these capacities she has spent time with Mulgrave Road, Frankie Productions, Live Bait, Ship’s Company, OneLight and the Irondale Ensemble Project. She is a co-founder of Forerunner Playwrights Theatre and a long-time board member of Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre. In 2007 she was named the protégé of Jenny Munday, recipient of the Mallory Gilbert award for demonstrated leadership in the theatre community. Natasha is currently the Artist in Residence at Mulgrave Road Theatre.

Fiddler Mairi Rankin has performed as a solo artist, a sideman, and is a member of the Cape Breton Celtic super group Beolach. She has performed with the Rankin Sisters, Unusual Suspects and Bruce Guthro and has appeared on the television broadcasts of DRUM!, the East Coast Music Awards, Rita MacNeil’s Christmas special and MNE’s Togaidh Sinn Fonn in Scotland. Her international festival credits include Celtic Connections, Chicago Celtic Festival, Milwaukee Irish Festival, BLAS, Tonder Festival. In Canada she has performed at all the major folk and Celtic festivals including Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, and Dawson City Folk Festivals and the internationally renowned Celtic Colours Festival.

One of Nova Scotia’s finest theatre creators, Mary-Colin Chisholm recently appeared in Artistic Fraud’s AfterImage at Harbourfront Toronto’s World Stage Series. She also performed in Halifax Theatre for Young People’s inaugural production of The Gravesavers. He’d Be Your Mother’s Father’s Cousin was a major hit at Eastern Front Theatre’s 2009 SuperNova Theatre Festival. Mary-Colin has had continuing roles in the CBC television series Black Harbour, Pit Pony and Made in Canada. She is a co-founder of LunaSea Theatre and Frankie Productions.

Sheldon Currie was born in Reserve Mines, Cape Breton, and often draws from the mining experience in his writing. His novel, The Glace Bay Miners’ Museum, was adapted for film under the title Margaret’s Museum, which won international accolades, and was also the basis of a CBC radio and stage play by Wendy Lill. His book The Company Store has been adapted for stage, as well as Anna’s Story a chapter from his novel The Coal Town Road. After a short spell in the RCAF and several jobs, Sheldon attended the University College of Cape Breton and St. Francis Xavier University. He did post-graduate work at the University of New Brunswick and the University of Alabama before starting to teach in high schools, and subsequently at St. Francis Xavier University.

The Artistic Team for Lauchie, Liza & Rory consists of Set Designer Stephen Osler, Lighting Designer Leigh Ann Vardy, and Stage Manager Louisa Adamson.
Sponsored by O’Regan’s Automotive Group, Lauchie, Liza & Rory runs April 6 to18 at the Bus Stop Theatre, 2203 Gottingen Street. Evening performances begin at 8:00 p.m. and matinee performances begin at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are available now by calling 463-PLAY, or online at www.easternfronttheatre.com or at the door one hour before show time.
Eastern Front Theatre, now in its 17th Season, explores and celebrates the Atlantic Canadian experience through the development, production and promotion of Atlantic Canadian theatre artists. Eastern Front produces two Mainstage plays, the SuperNova Theatre Festival, administers the Ten Minute Play Contest for Nova Scotia High School students and holds three fundraising events annually.

Eastern Front Theatre is generously funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, Province of Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, Department of Canadian Heritage, and Halifax Regional Municipality. O’Regan’s Automotive Group is the 2009-2010 Season Sponsor.

Reach for the Tap

Friday, 12 February, 2010

trophyTickets are starting to sell quickly for the third Reach for the Tap Trivia Fund Raiser.  Get yours today and vie for the illustrious trophy!  Friday, March 26, 7pm at the Halifax Club.

Buy Now!

More raves

Sunday, 20 December, 2009

Extinction Song is hilarious and frightening

The dysfunctional family never had it so good.

By Kate Watson

The Coast, Wed, Nov 18, 2009

Plays like Eastern Front’s Extinction Song make it very difficult to write without cliches. Phrases like “tour de force” and “an emotional rollercoaster” jump immediately to mind. But this play deserves much better than that.

Its writer, Ron Jenkins, never resorts to cliche, despite writing about the oft-explored dysfunctional family. This is James’ story, son of an alcoholic father and a mother who fails to protect him. James is both unlike any seven-year-old you know (articulate, precocious and disturbingly disturbed), and a lot like every child (curious, infuriating, imaginative, self-absorbed…). Actor Ron Pederson is utterly convincing as a child, so much so that it’s easy to forget he is a man in boys’ pajamas. As James tells his story, he acts out things that have happened to him, adopting the voice and mannerisms of the adults in his life. It’s both hilarious and frightening, words that pretty much sum up Extinction Song.ES Coast

Rave Review for Extinction Song

Sunday, 20 December, 2009

Extinction Song vividly evokes child’s world
Pederson ‘totally inhabits’ character of a seven-year-old
By ELISSA BARNARD Arts Reporter
The Herald, Thu. Nov 19

Playwright Ron Jenkins immerses you so deeply in the world of a seven-year-old boy that you experience adults the way he does — as hostile aliens.

Extinction Song, an award-winning hit in Edmonton last spring, is a riveting, rollicking story and a lament for the lost imaginary world of a boy who is forced to grow up and accept the real world.

With Extinction Song, Eastern Front Theatre brings Edmonton playwright and Cape Breton native Ron Jenkins’ work to his home province for the first time.

James, as incarnated for 90 minutes in an amazing performance by Toronto actor Ron Pederson, is a vivid, hyperbolic and very physical storyteller.

He believes his real parents died when their truck plunged through the ice and he was raised by the wolves who rescued him, including the beloved alpha wolf, Byzantine.

The magic of storytelling, staging and Pederson’s performance make Byzantine real. James’s quest to not be “extincted” by his parents and teachers is a serious one, and you cheer on for James and the wolves.

The play, which runs without intermission, starts off light and fervently boyish, then gets darker and darker.

The mid-section wobbles a bit where it’s unclear where the story is going and why the boy is so angry at his father, a Mountie, who turns out to be an alcoholic and a time bomb.

Pederson easily and convincingly slips into the father to portray a familiar type, a traditionally authoritarian male, who is sloppy and slobby but not uncaring.

His drinking makes him more neglectful than direly abusive.

Whether or not you forgive him is up to you.

Jenkins writes with a great deal of humour and accuracy to the age of seven and the time period of the early 1970s.

James, who loves language and precise description, peppers his talk with 1970s references like Kreskin, Detective Columbo and Evel Knievel.

This year Eastern Front Theatre has left the large Alderney Landing Theatre in Dartmouth for smaller Halifax venues and opens its 17th season in the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia’s Windsor Foundation Theatre.

While this theatre has some challenges like visible bars on the exit door and lights set into the ceiling, it is very intimate and suits a one-person show.

You can’t be detached.

The design is a potent mix of light (Bruce MacLennan), sound (Dave Clarke), costumes, props and projections (Narda McCarroll) and set (D’Arcy Morris-Poultney).

Morris-Poultney has created the quintessential boy’s bedroom in blue.

Real birch trees are set into the winter woods scenes painted on the walls leading to the stage.

When James enters the world of the wolves, projections turn his everyday Manitoba bedroom into exotic, winter woods and Byzantine’s eyes glow yellow.

It’s possible that Ron Pederson could carry this play alone on a bare stage.

He totally inhabits the character in a highly physical, intense and unflagging performance. A lot of the comedy lies in the actor and character’s mimicry of voices and other sound effects in his rapid-fire, excited storytelling.