Local gay actor and director Allan Morgan is a busy man. Back again for another year at Bard on the Beach with multiple roles in both Henry VI and Richard III, Morgan is also directing Susan McFarlen’s new play Since You Left Us for the 2011 Vancouver International Fringe Festival.
“I am not sure how the hell I am managing to do this at all,” said Morgan, pictured right. “In addition to directing Susan’s play I am also directing another friend’s one woman show. All of this, plus performing nightly in Bard on the Beach.”
For Morgan it is only the beginning of what is a busy few months ahead. When Bard ends in September, he begins almost immediately on Screaming Weenie’s production of Chris Gatchalian’s new play Falling in Time where he will play a conflicted, closeted and alcoholic Korean War vet. Then he is off to Calgary for three months, appearing in two world premieres with the Alberta Theatre Project.
Commenting on what keeps him going with such a busy schedule, Morgan said he “feels essential and creatively sparked by all of it”. But he also takes great care in making she he gets lots of rest and to treat himself as well as he can.
For now, Morgan is happily occupied with Bard and McFarlen’s new work which is the first of what he says is his season of new plays.
“Since You Left Us is a wonderful first new play from Susinn,” said Morgan. “It is the story of a family reunion, a daughter and her son coming home to reconnect with a family she had left behind.”
Describing it as outrageous and “stunningly so”, Morgan says it is both laugh-out-loud funny and tear filled.
“It is a story of love, hurt, sobriety, family dynamics, Jack Russels, firemen, and love, love love”, he enthused. “Audiences can expect a wonderful ride with a family that takes no prisoners, whose usual form of communication is sparring with each other, if not outright one-two punches and jabs. It’s a family, and it’s dysfunctional.”
More than just directing though, in true Morgan form, he has also had a hand in the play’s development after being asked by McFarlen to read the script. Rather than simply to tell her how wonderful the play was, Morgan decided he owed it to his friend of 20 years to be brutally honest.
“Susinn and I have literally been through it all. I was present with her for the birth of her children and I felt I had to be honest and available to her through this birth as well.”
Sharing a distinct sense of humour and play, Morgan worked with McFarlen to bring her first script it to the next level.
“Make no mistake though, this is Susinn’s creation, all I did was walk with her and suggest, ask questions, and prod a few times. The result is her genius, and many others who also decided to walk with her.”
Winner of the Larry Lillo and John Moffat Prize at this year’s Jessie Awards, which recognizes excellence in local professional theatre, McFarlen used the prize to cover the cost of self-producing the show at this year’s Fringe.
“Susinn felt that she wanted to get her first play produced as quickly as she could,” Morgan explained why the Fringe was chosen to premiere the work. “There is the buzz and excitement about the Fringe which we are hoping that we can ride on.”
No doubt the same kind of buzz and excitement that drives Morgan to be one of the busiest men in theatre right now.
Since You Left
Part of the 2011 Vancouver International Fringe Festival
Firehall Arts Centre
An outrageous new comedy about a recovering alcoholic who goes home for the first time in 15 years to tell her party animal mother that she loves her. Directed by Allan Morgan and starring Wendy Noel and Denalda Williams. Visit http://www.vancouverfringe.com for showtimes and tickets or http://sinceyouleftusonstage.wordpress.com for more information