"This play is like a big bar of chocolate": Q&A with Suspension of Disbelief director, James Lam

Coming up in just under a month, Abby Theatre Fest is a four-day festival of short plays with the same heart, soul and mind theatre you expect, but with a fun twist! Join us all-week for a boundary-stretching, risk-taking theatrical experience featuring a mix of shorter plays presented by exciting actors, directors and designers that are sure to entertain and challenge.

To give you a little insight into the shows, we asked each director to answer a few questions about their shows and the process! Next up, it's the director of Suspension of DisbeliefJames Lam!

What made you choose to write this story?

I chose to write Suspension of Disbelief as an out and out comedy piece because I bored myself to tears when writing a serious first draft. So, after revamping some older concepts for other plays I had never finished, this came about. When it comes down to it this play is ultimately like a big bar of chocolate or a whole box of mac & cheese. It’s not doing anything for you nutritionally or mentally, in fact it might be killing you slowly, but my gosh is it fun whilst your consuming it.


Tell us a little bit about the people working on your show.

I wanted to find a cast with a range of experience but mainly just a desire to get up on stage and have an absolute bloody blast up there. It’s really in its purest essence, an ensemble piece.

I started with Caleb Vander Leek. He’s a good friend and studied Theatre as a minor at university. We met whilst I was directing the Unity Christian School production and quickly asked him to be my co-director. He has a quick wit and understands most of my dry British humour, I keep him around to give me nice hugs and compliments.

Amy Lippett is one of the coolest human beings I know, they write well, they are compassionate, and most of all a big ol’ nerd. We’ve been friends since our time together at Cardiff University, and somehow these two mixed up Welsh kids have traversed an ocean and ended up working together on a project, like they drunkenly joked about many times.

I met Adriel Brandt when we were both cast in Gallery 7’s “The Mousetrap” my first thought was: “Wow this man is handsome, what a mane of hair” and then after I was done staring at him, we started giggling about silly things. He’s also a great actor so very I’m glad he stooped down to my level to be in this stupid play.

Joslyn Peters is a wonderful person who I met when I first moved to Canada many moons ago. She’s creative, fun, and energetic. She wanted to try something new and is already making the stage her own, so be nice to her.

And finally, there’s me. I’m in my own play because, even though I’m insecure, I have a huge ego that needs feeding constantly because I’m an actor and that’s how we roll.


Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get involved in theatre? Have G7 audiences seen you before?

I’m James. I’m a British-Chinese actor/writer/director/voice actor/whatever else I can add to make myself seem more accomplished. I’ve been acting since 11 and started out on the stage, on the West End of London, then moved onto Film/TV and voice work. Yes, the G7 audience has seen me once before in last seasons “The Mousetrap” Gallery 7 immediately felt like home and I’m so glad to continue working with them.


Give us the 2-3 sentence elevator pitch of your play. What’s it about and why should people see it?

Suspension of Disbelief is like the worst episode of your favourite sitcom. But it’s right in the middle of season 2 so you have to watch it. You’ll laugh a couple of times, but ultimately you’ll forget about it until they run a piece of it in the clip show episode in Season 3.


What excites you about the festival?

Abby Theatre Fest is so exciting because it’s a great showcase for so many new pieces that people haven’t seen before. It’s a great opportunity for Fraser Valley audiences to be exposed to new concepts and ideas and maybe challenge what their perceptions of what a trip to the theatre can be. Not just nice suits and people crying over star-crossed lovers, but the pure joy of watching something for fun.


Who do you think would love to see your show? Give us a description of your ideal audience member.

I wrote this show for the kind of person who watches films nobody has heard of yet, the kind of person who listens to music that no-one else does, and drinks coffee black even though they hate the taste, but then…when nobody is looking, they watch Mamma Mia whilst loudly singing along, drink a too large mocha frapp, and giggle at Gorilla videos on YouTube. That’s who this stupid play is for.