rick jon egan
photo by radey barrack
Modern Underground’s production of The Making Of, which played at the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace during the 2010 Toronto Fringe Festival, follows Rick, arguably the world’s worst filmmaker, on his quest to follow in the footsteps of his hero Michael Moore and to create a documentary masterpiece about homelessness in Toronto. Yet, as Emily, the Unit Coordinator points out, the other members of the filmmaking team are quite certain that the project is only destined to become a “fuckin’ disaster.”
The Making Of, collectively written by the ensemble and derived from improvisation, is a wonderfully funny play that combines stage scenes which capture the backstage drama of seven individuals struggling to get this project up off the ground, and film footage from within the world of the documentary.
Most of the comedy in this play comes from the seven strong characters that this ensemble has created and watching their personalities collide continually with one another. Emily Hincks is great as a sceptical Unit Coordinator, clearly only dragged onboard because her boyfriend is the Producer. Matthew Gorman can crack up an audience with a subtle lift of his eyebrow and proves himself to be an indefatigable straight man. Rick Jon Egan is incredible at being stubbornly obnoxious throughout the entire play but still latches firmly onto the inherent humour in both his character and the concept of director Michael Murphy. Kat Sandler shines especially bright as the sardonic Production Manager who looks as though she is moments away from killing everyone with her eyes throughout the entire play.
The “documentary footage” also features fun interviews with such local politicians as Keith Cole and Olivia Chow, who provide their own brand of absurd comedy that straddles the line between reality and fiction. There is nothing Earth shattering taking place in this play, it is not reconfiguring Canadian Theatre as we know it, but it is a wonderfully funny exploration of what can happen when a hunger for fame and a serious artistic vision filled with holes collides with the stone-cold board room of reality.