Beginning with Here Lies Henry, Buddies In Bad Times Theatre’s mini-retrospective of Daniel MacIvor’s work is a great last chance to catch some of his best pieces with MacIvor onstage. It’s unfortunate that only a small portion of his substantial body of work could be featured. Here are some of the other highlights of his amazing 20-year theatre career.
See Bob Run (1987)
His first play follows a teenage hitchhiker named Bob (short for Roberta) as she chats with a series of invisible drivers who pick her up and kick her out. She is running from a tattered past toward an unfortunately certain future. See Bob Run introduced us to what would become MacIvor’s signature style — a small cast, sparse set and a writing style that is simultaneously confessional, poetic and humorous.
MacIvor’s first collaboration with Daniel Brooks would prove to be the beginning of one of the most fruitful partnerships in Canadian theatre history. With House, we’re brought into the world of Victor, a clerk in a septic tank cleaning company; his boss is coming to dinner. His father is The Saddest Man In The World. His sister is in love with a dog and his wife keeps getting mail from Swingles Magazine. Oh, and he’s about to lose his house. House garnered MacIvor his first Chalmers New Canadian Play Award and was turned into a feature film by Laurie Lynd. (Look for it at Buddies in March 2007.)
Here Lies Henry (1995)
Another MacIvor/Brooks collaboration, Henry tells the story of one man who finds himself in a room full of people and has to tell them something they don’t already know. A hilarious and touching exploration of mortality, this piece brought MacIvor some of his first international recognition as well as his second Chalmers Award.
The Soldier Dreams (1997)
The only play in MacIvor’s cannon to deal directly with the subject of AIDS, The Soldier Dreams centres around David, who’s dying silently as his family squabble and reconcile around him. Unlike a lot of other plays of this era, Soldier triumphs by shying away from discussion of the disease itself and instead focusses on a family’s reaction to the death of a loved one. Another collaboration with Brooks, this piece garnered Dora Mavor Moore awards for both direction and production.
A panorama of monsters in many forms — some diabolical and public, others more mundane and private — make up this MacIvor/Brooks collaboration. More than any other piece, Monster shows the sinister side of humanity and our instinctual desire for violence and revenge. Alternately chilling and hilarious, this piece is one of MacIvor’s best. (At Buddies in January 2007.)
In On It (2001)
In this brilliant piece MacIvor reexamines his own characteristic style with two actors playing multiple characters from three narratives while simultaneously deconstructing their performances. Costarring local theatre artist director Darren O’Donnell, In On It took home an Obie Award in New York and played to sold out houses around the world.
A Beautiful View (2006)
The last official production of da da kamera, A Beautiful View is a quiet, meditative journey through a 20-year relationship between two women. This humorous and touching examination of friendship that exists independent of sexual attraction was a beautiful ending for MacIvor and producer Sherrie Johnson’s partnership. Canadian theatre will not be the same without the duo.