Forget your Perfect Offering

Post-secondary students from across the country devise theatre and challenge loneliness in Connections

While COVID-19 has dealt the world an unjust hand of suffering and uncertainty, it has, however, had the occasional beam of light.: The circumstances have provided space for digital theatre to blossom, and for casts of diverse locations and experience to be formed. Presented by the Motyer-Fancy Theatre and the Maple League of Universities, Connections aims to take audiences from around the world and immerse them into an experience that will help them (as the title suggests!) connect to the world around them.

Connections is a devised piece created by a cast of students from across the Maple League Universities (which consists of Mount Allison University, St. Francis Xavier University, Acadia University and Bishop’s University) and Mount Allison’s Crake Drama Fellow, Neil Silcox. In this piece, the cast of post-secondary students – Aleyx, Teri, Lestyn, Leia, Abby and Emma – navigate the loneliness of isolation while exploring the resilience of humanity as they tell their stories through their various talents, such as creating visual art, dancing, storytelling, and even playing video games. 

The show itself is entirely devised, meaning that it was created organically without the use of a script, but rather improvisation and brainstorming. Rehearsals for the show began at the close of the fall term, and they began to share ideas with one another regarding the theme of connection. With some fine-tuning after the winter break, they created a beautiful show as one unit from different parts of the globe.

“There’s real value in creation, in devising a piece of theatre,” said Neil Silcox, the director of the show. “This is a piece where we started with a theme and a bunch of eager artists who were willing to be bold and brave, and we devised it together… The benefit of a devised piece is that you can off just as much as you can chew.”

Silcox has been planning the show since the early days of the pandemic. He wanted to take the horrible situation at hand and make the most of it by using the theatre industry’s new online platform to break down the ever-tumultuous barricade of distance and to bring together a cast of unique majors, locations, and circumstances. This is Silcox’s second show with the Motyer-Fancy Theatre that has a cast from various areas of the world, with actors from right here in Sackville to as far as Barbados. While it is common within theatre settings to bond and stick tightly together within that theatre company, Connections is a branching-out of talent to show that we – thespians and audiences alike – are more connected to the world than they may think.

“The thing that we’re trying to convey to our audience is that you’re not alone. You’re not alone in how you feel. You’re not alone, even though you might be isolating right now,” said Silcox. “We are in this together, even though we’re far apart, and we’re going to make it through, and it’s going to be okay.”

Connections runs from February 4-6th, 2021, at 8 PM Atlantic Time (7 PM Eastern Time) and is being presented free of charge. Tickets are limited and must be reserved, which can be done by filling out this form. Tickets can also be reserved by emailing the Motyer-Fancy Theatre at motyerfancytheatre@mta.ca or calling (506) 364-2234.

Hannah Lucas
Hannah Lucas is a contributor to the Argosy.