This Is What Happens Next

This Is What Happens Next for Daniel MacIvor

Daniel MacIvor collaborates with director/dramaturge Daniel Brooks in This Is What Happens Next, which opened on Thursday night at the Berkeley Street Theatre. Their creative partnership spawned successful MacIvor solo shows, including Here Lies Henry (1994), Monster (1998) and Cul-de-Sac (2003).

Since seeing A Beautiful View last year and getting a recent taste for MacIvor's writing, I've been craving his solo presence on stage. Ever since House, back in '91, I've enjoyed the way MacIvor pulls together multiple characters from everyday life and makes them come alive on stage.

Their newest collaboration, This Is What Happens Next, is several sordid tales rolled into one big fairy tale, complete with a happy ending. Or so we're let to believe. Everyone wants a happy ending, right?

We're drawn into the interwoven lives of a transsexual astrologer, a jaded lawyer, an absent father, a seven-year-old kid, and a giant. The stories are as varied as Arthur Schopenhauer and John Denver; somehow, both the philosopher and the folk singer figure prominently in this dark, modern fairy tale.

This Necessary Angel production explores the dark side of addiction and divorce in MacIvor's most autobiographical work to date. He makes his entrance to the show through the audience, apologetically late, with a large cup of a Starbucks soy latte in hand. We're immediately thrust into his world that, for the next 80 minutes, becomes our world.

With just the right amount of lighting (Kimberley Purtell) and sound design (Richard Feren) to transition from one colourful character to the next, you never quite know what's going to happen next.

This Is What Happens Next, presented by Canadian Stage as part of its Berkeley Street Project, continues to May 8 at the Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley Street. Shows are Monday - Saturday at 8 p.m. with matinees on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. and on Saturday at 2 p.m. Tickets (from $20) are available by calling 416-368-3110, online or in person at the Berkeley Street Theatre Box Office. Monday nights are Pay What You Can. Talk Backs, free informal Q&A with the artists, occur after every Wednesday matinee and Thursday evening performances.

Photo by Guntar Kravis.

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