NB Onstage

NB Onstage takes a deep dive into the plays and playwrights featured at the Open Space Theatre as part of our season programming.

Supported by Stantec.

Actor Wally MacKinnon returns to his hometown for a performance of Any Given Moment

Our upcoming production of Kim Parkhill’s play Any Given Moment features Fredericton-based, Bathurst-born actor Wally MacKinnon. Wally has appeared on the Theatre New Brunswick stage several times over his impressive acting career and we’re excited to have him back with us for this play.

Produced as a co-production with Ship’s Company Theatre (Parrsboro, Nova Scotia), MacKinnon and fellow Any Given Moment cast members Claudia Gutierrez-Perez and Alexis Milligan are nearing the end of a three week run in Nova Scotia and will starting touring the show to New Brunswick communities beginning September 4 in Sackville.

In total, Any Given Moment will tour to seven New Brunswick communities including MacKinnon’s hometown of Bathurst.

“The fact that I get to go to my home town of Bathurst to play at my old high school is front of family and friends is always very exciting,” said MacKinnon, who last toured with the company fifteen years ago. “It is where I saw my first TNB production as a teenager and began my passion for becoming a professional actor.”

MacKinnon, who has worked across Canada in over 100 theatre and film productions, has previously appeared in six TNB productions: Ethan Claymore, The Hobbit, Dear Santa, Cricket on the Hearth, Skin Flick and The Dollar Woman.

“To be back to be on the stage with Theatre New Brunswick is always a thrill, especially this year as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the theatre,” said MacKinnon. “Being able to work in the city I call home is great.”

In this production, MacKinnon plays the part of Bill, a rural raised homeless man in his late sixties. Set during a police lockdown, the story focuses on the developing relationship between three complete strangers who find themselves stuck together as they contemplate the potential dangers of the outside world.

“This production is really about connection,” said MacKinnon. “The biggest message is how important it is to learn about people before you judge them or assume you know who they are and what they are capable of. We never know what someone is going through and what they have experienced and it is often really hard to dislike someone once you know their story.”

Tickets are on sale now for all performances. To learn more, Any Given Moment

Playwright Kim Parkhill discusses the inspiration behind her new play Any Given Moment

Any Given Moment runs August 8 to September 2 at Parrsboro, Nova Scotia's Ship's Company before a tour of New Brunswick communities wraps up with six final performances in Fredericton at the Open Space Theatre. BUY TICKETS

Our 50th anniversary season begins in September with a world premiere production of Kim Parkhill’s new play, Any Given Moment. Focusing on the lives of three individuals trying to make sense of the culture of fear that dominates their daily lives, perpetuated by the endless barrage of highly divisive news stories that seem to pit culture against culture and country against country in a hopeless competition of values and beliefs, these three actors will challenge audiences to question their own world views and the opinions they hold.

Parkhill began working on the play more than three years ago following a request by former TNB Artistic Director Thomas Morgan Jones.

“Thom asked me to consider writing a play for TNB that addressed the question ‘Who is responsible?’. That sent me off on a fairly broad and prolific brainstorming of associations but the one that resonated deeply was an image of a spider web, invisible threads between us, and the movements of one organism in the web having repercussions for another,” said Parkhill. “I was interested in exploring this in the context of my observations on the effect of threats of terrorism and anti-terrorist legislation on our world, the lack of empathy for others, the ‘other’ that I saw demonstrated daily, and the demise of traditional centres for community-building, support, belonging and accountability such as the church and small-town life. I wanted to look at how we are responsible for each other.”

Any Given Moment is a three actor play directed by our new Artistic Director, Natasha MacLellan. The play features Fredericton actor Wally MacKinnon; Claudia Gutierrez-Perez, a recent graduate of the Fountain School of Performing Arts program at Dalhousie University; and Alexis Milligan, an actor, movement coach and director who has spent eight seasons with Two Planks and a Passion Theatre and has worked on several TV and film projects.

“I created three characters who are, by all appearances, starkly different from each other in age, education, economic status, and life experience, with the intention of getting them somewhere together, somehow, and seeing what happened,” said Parkhill.

Parkhill’s choice of setting, a church in an unnamed small Canadian city, came from a conversation she had with Jones about the many concerts that happen at Fredericton’s Wilmot United Church as part of the annual Shivering Songs festival.

“In one of my chats with Thom, he mentioned these church concerts in Fredericton and that became the inspiration for the setting and part of the chain of inciting events. The church in the play is modeled on Wilmot United Church.”

At this stage in the play’s development, Parkhill and Jones had not yet met in person, but had exchanged long phone/Skype conversations and several emails about the story and how/when it may appear in a TNB season.

Based on these conversations, Parkhill constructed an outline and wrote a few of the character monologues before waiting to see if any financial support had been established to help create a first draft. By that point, she was so wrapped up in the characters she had created, Parkhill continued to work on the script without any real assurance on the play’s future.

“I was in love with the characters and the idea already and Thom was willing to support as dramaturg so I wrote it anyway,” said Parkhill. “The first draft was written in a month at Grand Lake, New Brunswick.”

With encouragement and dramaturgy from Jones and others as well as support and insight from the play’s first director Natasha MacLellan, the story was developed to the point where it was ready for its first production.

“Rewrites of the play were based on dramaturgical feedback from Thom, a public reading of the script at DaPoPo Theatre's Live-in Festival and a script development workshop with Ships' Company Theatre,” said Parkhill. “Then it went into the drawer for more than a year, awaiting a first production.

“Fun fact: For years, the original title was, And Then Nothing Happened,” said Parkhill. “It also had a short-lived time as Alone, Together. The current title was finalized in collaboration with Natasha [MacLellan].

It’s now been a few years since Parkhill began working on this script. The play’s world premiere production opens August 8 in Parrsboro and will run until September 2. From there it will tour to several New Brunswick communities before settling into the Open Space Theatre for six final performances.

“It's been several years since I started writing and of course I'm also in a slightly different place and the cultural milieu has shifted, but I still fear the fear and what it's doing to the fabric of who we are as society, as humans,” said Parkhill. “It scares me not just how defensive but how offensive people can be toward others as a first position or reaction and how individualistic, oppressive, destructive that is. I still see how fear plays a huge role in that, and how barring the doors just complicates the scenario.

“I don't have any answers, but my heart hurts,” said Parkhill. “And as an artist, as a storyteller, this play is how I talk about it.”

Any Given Moment

By Kim Parkhill | World Premiere | a co-production with Ship’s Company Theatre | Touring NB | Open Space Theatre | September 2018

A troubled teen, a helicopter mom and a homeless man become trapped together after police lockdown the neighbourhood. Assumptions are challenged and new relationships made as three complete strangers debate the situation and the potential dangers of the outside world. In this world premiere by New Brunswick playwright Kim Parkhill, Any Given Moment presents a touching, hilarious and unexpected looking into the culture of fear and challenges our expectations of what we think we know.

A Brief History of the Maritimes and Everywhere Else

By Ryan Griffith | World Premiere | March 2019

On a winter’s night in a rural new Brunswick cabin, Terry tells a story to his child, a story of the family’s history with links to the distant past. This story confronts a truth in the present, a truth that is a mystery until the end of the play. From celebrated Fredericton playwright Ryan Griffith (Returning Fire, The Boat, Fortune of Wolves) comes a gripping and hugely moving new work that will haunt you long after you leave the theatre.