‘The Goodnight Bird’ opens at Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre

ANTIGONISH: Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre is preparing to add a third play to its Main Stage repertory with The Goodnight Bird by Governor General’s Award winning playwright Colleen Murphy.

The show opens on August 8, with a pay-what-you-can preview on August 7.

The play is a dark comedy about old love and new courage. It revolves around the mundane lives of a middle-class couple. Lilly is retired. Morgan, her husband, isn’t ready to call it quits. One night, their normal bedtime routine, complete with bickering about how to floss without spitting on the mirror, is interrupted by a loud thunk from outside. A younger, homeless man has fallen (or jumped?) onto their condo balcony. His intrusion is the catalyst for Morgan and Lilly to examine their lives, their regrets, and their relationship. What begins as a comedic, lighthearted play takes a turn towards the unexpected, the strange, and the sorrowful, before the light of a new day dawns.

The play contains mature themes and strong language, and is intended for an adult audience.

The play stars Wally McKinnon (as Morgan) and Henricus Gielis (as Parker) and acclaimed actor Mary-Colin Chisolm in the lead role of Lilly. This is a return home for Mary-Colin who also starred in the very first season of Festival Antigonish where she wrote sketches for, and acted in, It’s the Berries! and also acted in Carol Sinclair’s Idyll Gossip.

Playwright Colleen Murphy was born in Quebec, and grew up in northern Ontario. Her play, The December Man, won the 2007 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama, the Carol Bolt Award for Drama, and the 2006 Enbridge playRites Award. Other plays include Beating Heart Cadaver (nominated for a 1999 Governor General’s Literary Award), The Piper, Down in Adoration Falling, and All Other Destinations are Cancelled. She has won awards twice in the CBC Literary Competition. Murphy’s distinct award-winning films have also played in festivals around the world.

The show begins with a pay-what-you-can preview on August 7 and opens officially on August 8.

Tickets are available on-line (any time) and at the Bauer Theatre box office (9 a.m. – 9 p.m., Monday – Saturday). A limited number of season passes are also still available. A complete schedule and show details can be found on-line at: www.festivalantigonish.com or by calling (902) 867-3333.

Festival Antigonish will also host a “Meet the Playwright” event with Murphy on August 9 at 3 p.m. at Red Sky Gallery on Main Street. She will read from a selection of her works, and take questions from audience members. Admission to this event is free.

Festival Antigonish is grateful for the support of its funding partners; Arts Nova Scotia, Canada Council for the Arts, the Town of Antigonish, the Municipality of the County of Antigonish, and StFX University; its Main Stage co-sponsors MacLeod Group and Atlantic Windows; the Production Sponsor The Chronicle Herald and The Casket; and all supporting businesses and partners.

The 2019 season theme is “Dream Big.” Other plays in the season include the madcap comedy Ben Hur, country music tribute Honky Tonk Blue: The Night Patsy met Hank, the charming intercultural comedy A Brimful of Asha, and a musical for young audiences that is based on Sheree Fitch’s acclaimed book If You Could Wear My Sneakers.