Meet the Playwright: Gordon Mihan

A hardened veteran of fine art protection keeps vigil on priceless paintings, now with the help of a new young recruit.  But can they outsmart the slick subterfuge of a crafty criminal, whose chicanery may just make them criminals themselves?

That’s a synopsis of The Great Beaverbrook Caper, a new play by Fredericton playwright Gordon Mihan. Now in the midst of his fifth NotaBle Acts Theatre Festival, we asked Gordon to give us a bit of backstory on his latest work and asked him to explain why he chose Fredericton’s Beaverbrook Art Gallery as the setting for his latest play.

Can you tell us a bit about the idea behind your play The Great Beaverbrook Caper

I’ve been a part of the NotaBle Acts Theatre Festival for five years now and one of my favourite parts is the Site-Specific plays. The idea that different plays can happen at all these different locations around downtown Fredericton is a lot of fun, there’s a sense of adventure, a sense that anything might happen when a play isn’t in a controlled environment. I wanted my play to take place at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery before I knew what it was going to be about. I’ve seen plays by the river, at the library, at the cathedral, in the barracks and pretty much all over the downtown area. The locations all bring something different so when I chose the Art Gallery I thought about what it could bring to a play that other locations couldn’t. The sheer worth of some of the art in the gallery is pretty astounding so I very quickly decided it should be a heist story, or at least my comedic take on one.

Have you written much comedy in the past? And how important is comedy to your own interpretation of what Notable Acts is all about?

Comedy is something I’ve always enjoyed writing and NotaBle Acts gives me the opportunity have fun with my writing and not not take myself too seriously. I’ve been a filmmaker longer than a playwright and through my filmmaking I’ve been evolving and straying away from full-on comedy and experimenting with different genres. This has been exciting and challenging but comedic writing is something I always find myself coming back to. Everything I’ve written for NotaBle Acts has been comedic in tone and this play is no different. I feel like there’s this stigma with comedy, like it’s somehow worth less than dramatic writing. And while the two are certainly different I don’t think one is inherently more important than the other. Both can reveal things to an audience, and NotaBle Acts is a perfect opportunity to see both dramatic and comedic plays from talented local writers.

Besides your own work, what are you most looking forward to at this year’s festival?

I’m looking forward the two One-Act Plays at Memorial Hall, Carrion Birds by Greg Everett and Casualties by Alex Pannier. The One-Acts are always well done and I’m excited to see what the writers/directors/actors have been working on!

The Great Beaverbrook Caper is one of four site-specific plays featured at this year’s festival with performances July 31 and August 1. Learn more—>RIGHT HERE

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