Jason McIntyre has the rare distinction of having two plays included in this year’s NotaBle Acts Theatre Festival.
Jason is a fourth year philosophy student at St. Thomas University and has acted in many local shows, been part of several short films, has worked with the Calithumpians for years, produced events at St. Thomas and The Cap, and has been doing standup comedy for years now (and if his bio is to be believed, he’s now on the verge of getting a few laughs!).
Jason’s two scripts in the festival, Art Attack and I Saw Nicolas Cage, are about people who take life far too seriously, and people who don’t take it seriously enough.
This year’s festival will mark Jason’s first time having his own work produced.
“Being involved in this year’s festival has given me an incredible boost of confidence when it comes to my writing, and has opened my eyes to the fact that I may not be the only person who enjoys my writing,” he said. “The festival is so important to our city because it has given this boost of confidence to hundreds of young artists like me over the years.”
Over the past few weeks Jason has been working with playwright in residence Vern Thiessen to craft final drafts of his work. Both his plays will be included in this year’s Taking It To The Streets series of outdoor performances.
“Vern has been so patient and kind and supportive, pushing me to take my work to more intense and surprising levels while staying true to my intentions behind the scripts,” he said. “He is a funny and sweet man who knows just the questions to ask to make your script become more concise and focused. It’s been a blessing to be able to bounce ideas off of him and being able to joke around with him.
“He gave me many tidbits of advice that I have recorded and keep coming back to, but one tip in particular has really hit me in a big way. I told him I was worried about my dialogue, and that I was desperate to have it be ‘realistic’. He laughed and brought to my attention how absurd and fantastical my scripts were; these are magically funny and odd scenarios, the dialogue will be magically funny to match that. He encouraged me to lean into my satirical tendencies and write for my larger than life characters rather than waste time obsessing over mimicking real life. While my scripts reveal how I feel about the real world, they take place in a fictional one. He showed me good dialogue came from an understanding of character, rather than some obscure benchmark of realism. This really spoke to me and I think of it every time I sit to write dialogue now,” he said.
As with everyone involved in this year’s festival, from the playwrights and the actors to the tech crew, the directors and the festival organizing team, Jason is just happy to see things happening and is excited to see how this year’s adapted festival will unfold.
“I’m thrilled that we can do theatre at all, regardless of how it’s done,” he said. “As we slowly and carefully tip toe back to normalcy, I’m thankful Notable was able to adapt to our circumstances and provide venues, online and otherwise, for our community which I know hungry for live theatre.”
Catch Jason’s plays performed as part of our Taking It To The Streets series, running July 23, 25, 29 and 31 at 7:30 p.m. in Barracks Square.