"A character-driven piece": director Nicola Shannon on Last Train to Nibroc
Our first in-person, live theatre show in 18 months, Last Train to Nibroc, starts next week at the Abbotsford Arts Centre!
To learn a bit more about the show, we asked some questions of the director, Nicola Shannon!
Tell us a little bit about Last Train to Nibroc and the characters in the show.
Last Train to Nibroc is a story about two very different people from neighbouring small towns who manage to find and fall for each other against the backdrop of WWII and all the stress and uncertainty that came with it. May is a young school teacher with plans to be a missionary. She is devoutly religious and sees the world in mostly black and white terms. Raleigh is an aspiring writer medically discharged from military service. Despite the challenges he faces, he remains eager and enthusiastic, maintaining his witty and sometimes pointed sense of humour.
What do you love most about this play?
I love how well matched May and Raleigh are. Although they are very different people, their chemistry creates fiery exchanges of both attraction and disagreement.
Without giving anything away, are there any particular moments or scenes in the show that stand out to you?
The whole of scene two is a stand out favourite for me. There is so much going on emotionally: the whole scene sparks like fireworks! Jeff Kiers' set for the scene in particular creates a sort of playground or boxing ring for the characters: it is very fun to work with.
How do you approach directing a show like this?
A character-driven piece like this requires the cast to bring themselves to the roles. Part of my job in directing is to create a safe space for the actors to connect with their characters and come to embody them in a way that only they can. The unique backgrounds of the actors will uniquely colour their portrayals of the characters to produce a dynamic realism that draws the audience into the story. I love the unique dynamic we have discovered with our actors: Cassie Unger and Curtis Maciborski.
Are there any other plays, movies, shows, novels, etc. that you drew inspiration from in directing Last Train to Nibroc?
I'm not consciously aware of having drawn inspiration from other works, but I know my work is not without outside influence. I do find that the dynamic between May and Raleigh really reminds me of the dynamic between Anne and Gilbert in "Anne of Green Gables": both couples love to challenge each other.
Who will love this show?
Anyone looking to be instilled with hope by watching two people find happiness amidst a world weathering a global crisis!
What can people expect when the lights go down?
You can expect to see a simple, yet intricate, set designed Jeff Kiers, transporting us to three very different locations over a span of about five years. Josh Osborne has found us beautiful music and sounds from WWII-era Kentucky. Ken Hildebrandt will play with colour and texture to give our actors an intimate space to play, while Dani Dejong has them in beautiful costumes. Most importantly, you can expect to be swept along with these two characters as they learn more about themselves by challenging each other.
Last Train to Nibroc runs Nov 12 - 20 at the Abbotsford Arts Centre!Get Tickets