Earnestly seeking that second dimension

We are familiar with the concept of “a face only a mother could love”. Well, The Mighty Carlins has three characters that, possibly, only the playwright could … like.

Collin Doyle created three absurdly foul characters for the play that is being presented March 18 to 28 at The Old Fire Hall.

And he likes them.

“Yeah, they are entertaining characters.

“Any character you write, you have to like them,” says Doyle over the phone from his Edmonton home.

“If you don’t, it will reflect in your writing as they will be only one dimension.

“If they are just jerks, that would be pretty boring.”

Being a two-act play, the three characters are introduced in the first half. The audience will laugh as they see how bad each are and how, impossibly, they behave worse and worse.

There is the family patriarch, Leo Carlin, played by John Wright, who is an alcoholic and a blowhard.

His son, Mike Carlin, played by Saskatoon actor Josh Beaudry, is a petty criminal.

And Davey Carlin, played by Whitehorse’s Brian Fidler, is a security guard and aspiring porn star.

“The second act,” says Doyle, “is where you find the answer to the discoveries.

“The first act is setting it up and the second act is knocking it down.”

It is obviously Doyle’s goal to present two- and three-dimensional characters, so the audience gets a peek into some redeeming qualities or at least an understanding of the characters during the second act.

“Foul? That is just the surface,” he says. “They have dreams and hopes and regrets.

“It is not just three characters shouting at each other; they care about each other.”

It is a good thing that Doyle was able to find something likable in these characters. Working on the first draft, from 2002 to ’03, he heard the voices of the characters.

With an idea of the key points of the play, the characters helped with the process of “what happens next?”.

“But they went away when I put it [the play] away.”

Then came five years of workshops – about five in five years – and re-writing and submitting for publication and production.

The play made its debut last year in Edmonton at Workshop West Theatre under the directorship of its artistic director, Michael Clark, the former artistic director of Nakai Theatre.

The Mighty Carlins sold out nine of 11 shows, received four five-star reviews and earned four nominations for the local Sterling Awards.

The play’s script had already won the award for 2004’s Alberta Playwrights Competition and is one of SEE magazine’s Best Plays of 2008.

Doyle says he will be in Whitehorse for the second week of the play’s run. There are certainly points in the play when he hopes to hear laughter but, other than that, it does not matter to him if people laugh or cry or are educated by the play.

“I just have a stake in the story I am telling on stage.”

The Mighty Carlins shows at The Old Fire Hall Wednesday to Saturday, March 18 to 21, and March 25 to 28, at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at the Yukon Arts Centre box office and Arts Underground.

g play that will take the audience through a range of emotions. It will show in Whitehorse at The Old Fire Hall March 18 to 21 and March 25 to 28, at 8 p.m.

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