If We Were More

nathan foss & kenzie delo

If We Were More is the first play from Dalhousie Theatre Student Kenzie Delo, the younger brother of Stewart Delo who wrote and directed the play Mushroom, and both shows are playing as part of The Atlantic Fringe Festival. I love that Halifax has an emerging duo of playwriting brothers!

If We Were More is the kind of first play that I encounter every year in the Fringe Festival, one that breaks a large multitude of the cardinal rules of playwriting (and not in a provocative, intentional way), but likely because the playwright has never been taught how to harness his ideas into something that will be truly effective for the theatre. Luckily, one of the best ways of learning is by writing a play, producing it and presenting it to an audience, which is exactly what the Fringe specializes in. (I would also heartily recommend seeing as much theatre as possible, reading as many plays as possible and looking into mentorship opportunities and playwriting courses offered in the city).

If We Were More centers on two pairs of old friends who are struggling to come to terms with the eventuality of growing apart. This is a great concept. The first question that I wanted Delo to address from the beginning of the play was how old his characters were. Their extreme innocence, penchant for allowing their emotions to flow out openly, the intensity and massive importance placed on the idea of “the best friend” and the limited independence the characters exhibit make them seem like quite young teenagers, yet there are aspects of the play that suggest they are supposed to be much older and this becomes confusing.

The second challenge is that the play is largely told in direct-address monologues, often summarizing events and characters’ emotions, when these things are almost always more effective when they are shown rather than told. And lastly, arguably the most important aspect of a play are the stakes around which the arc of the story is built. Often in first plays the stakes playwrights use are very low and the characters are ambivalent, indecisive or bored. In If Were More the stakes are there, but they are not high enough, and yet, interestingly, the characters react to seemingly ordinary and manageable situations with an absurdly heightened degree of urgency and passion. This, once again, made me wonder how old these characters were supposed to be.

I hope that Kenzie Delo will keep writing and keep learning all he can about the various constructions of plays that he finds inspiring and that he will keep working on developing this story and these characters into something a little more three dimensional.

TWISI RATING:

If We Were More plays at the Bus Stop Theatre (2203 Gottingen Street) at the following times:

Sunday September 2nd at 7:45pm

Monday September 3rd at 6:00pm

Wednesday September 6th at 9:45pm

Sunday September 9th at 7:30pm

It is $7.00 to book tickets please visit this website or call (902) 999-7469 or visit the Box Office at the Seaport Farmers’ Market at Pavilion 20 on Marginal Road. Tickets are also available at the venue ONE hour before the show. 

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