Jigsaw — another piece in the puzzle

Jayson McDonald’s latest play Jigsaw is about to premiere at The Arts Project, courtesy of Theatre Soup. This should be a good one to catch, because Jayson is on a bit of a roll.

In April, he will be flying out to Kamloops BC for a workshop of Eclipse County Limits, which won the Special Merit Award from Theatre BC’s National Playwriting Competition.

The Deluxe Illustrated Body, which he co-wrote with Lil Malinich, won the 2002 Brickenden Award for best new script in London, and it was given a second production at Port Stanley Festival Theatre. Now the cast has been invited to New York City next month to do a staged reading for Spiral Inc, a company that specializes in New York premieres of shows from elsewhere. They are considering the McDonald-Malinich play for their next season, so this visit will not only be a public reading, but a sort of audition as well.

In January, Jayson also picked up a Brickenden Award for The Boneyard Man, which won Best Comedy for 2003. Now in its sixth season, The Continuing Adventures of the Boneyard Man keeps right on continuing, with new shows added on to the repertoire (85 episodes and counting), older shows re-staged as The Syndicated Adventures of the Boneyard Man, and regular broadcasts on Radio Western and Rogers Television.

He has written commissioned works for Original Kids, StudiO K, Theatre Soup, Ausable Theatre, Streaky Bacon, Theatre for the Sole, and Weldon Park Academy, and contributed to the Playwrights’ Cabaret. Several of his other plays were produced by his own company, three black ring.

Plays that he wrote for younger actors have done very well with the high schools in town; there have been multiple productions of Microscopic Men, Subterrain, Hidden Heroes and The Super Man.

Jigsaw is something else again, though — a mystery that dabbles heavily in fear and madness. It’s a story that has been incubating in Mr. McDonald’s brain for a long time now, and the Theatre Soup commission has finally given him the chance to get it out there. He is the director on this project as well, and in setting the tone for his actors, he said, “The first act is Twilight Zone; the second act is David Lynch”.

The cast includes Theatre Soup regulars Anne-Marie Caicco and Lil Malinich, along with Caroline Dolny-Guerin, Scott Holden-Jones, Eric James and Shannon Wyant, a guest actor from New York. The production designer is Catherine Immonen, who won a Brickenden Award for her work on Rubberfunk’s Fire of the Mind, and the stage manager is Bradley Sensabaugh. It runs from March 23-27.

This is Theatre Soup’s 20th production and the first play of their sixth season. Their recent offerings include Necessary Targets, It’s All True, Eek! and Unidentified Human Remains And The True Nature Of Love, which won a Brickenden Award for Bravest Production of 2003. Theatre Soup was just accepted in the Toronto Fringe, where they will re-mount their 2001 London Fringe hit Catholic School Girls, by Casey Kurtti.