I visited the crew of Ottawa’s gay theatre group during a rehearsal last week, as they put together props and costumes of their new play for the first time. Just days later, Toto Too Theatre moved into Arts Court to begin full dress rehearsals of Jigsaw Confession. The show starts tomorrow (Jan 30) for a four-night run.
If it all seems very last minute, don’t be fooled. It has taken months of work to get to this point, says director Jim McNabb.
“This was a particularly long rehearsal process because the script required a lot of analysis,” says McNabb. “We spent a month just reading it over and developing the characters.”
McNabb says planning began six months ago, around the time of Toto Too’s Aug 2007 play Theatrelife. Actors for Jigsaw Confession were cast in the fall.
The play centres around a couple faced with settling a dead father’s estate. They search through the man’s attic, in hopes of finding a manuscript in which the son believes his father has explained his determination many years earlier to leave the family to live with a man.
Although the play is set entirely in the attic, McNabb emphasizes that the set is not static. External locations take place as memories, he says, and the father comes to life through the acting talent of Lawrence Aronovitch.
Chris Bickford plays the hunky son, Dennis — a “confused and frazzled guy” who is trying to better understand who his father was. Bickford starred in You Can’t Do That on Television from 1989 to 1990, and held various other television and film roles throughout his 20s. He got on board with Jigsaw Confession through McNabb, who was his high school teacher.
Nancy Kenny plays Dennis’s fiancé, Lisa. “She’s a very nurturing young woman — very much in love with her fiancé — but she sees how damaged he is emotionally,” says Kenny, between rehearsing scenes. “She wants to help him and they do kind of reach a breaking point.”
Jigsaw Confession is Toto Too’s third production since the theatre group’s debut last March with William & James.
Written by David Lohrey.
Directed by Jim McNabb.
Jan 30-Feb 2.