Congrats to my colleagues at Pacific Theatre on their Jessie award for Outside Mullingar, by John Patrick Shanley.
In my capacity as dialect coach, I had the unique opportunity to see this production and these remarkable performances come together from an early stage. Part of the magic of theatre is it’s ability to transport an audience somewhere else by inviting them to accept all the artifice for genuine truth. This is, of course, obvious in the technical elements that fill an empty space with light, colour, furniture, costumes, and paint. And there’s the playwright, the director and stage manager who create and manage the shift we as an audience must make from our ordinary reality into the fantasy that previously had only been in their imaginations. But we also have the actors to thank who can make us feel things we can’t see, such as rain, cold, wind and heat. The voice is also a huge part of this. We use all of our senses to fill out the scene in our minds, so if we don’t hear the right language sounds, we are less inclined to believe what we are being asked to see and feel. These four Canadian actors (only one of whom claims to have any real Irish heritage) performed the fantastic magic of not only inviting one hundred and twenty Vancouverites into this lonely and somewhat run-down country home, but then transporting us over the Atlantic Ocean to Westmeath County, Ireland every night!
This is why I love being a part of theatre, film, video games and all storytelling magic. We are all dreamers, and these visceral dreams fill our imaginations with so much possibility. It’s an honour to be a part of it, especially as a coach. Not only am I helping to create an atmosphere, but I also get to be transported by it. That’s when I know it’s working. And that’s when I remember how lucky I am to be able to do this job.
Congratulations Pacific Theatre on an honour well earned.