Hicks’ short comedy about life in 2021 will be staged as part of this year’s Taking it to the Streets series of 10-minute plays.
We’re excited to welcome back filmmaker, illustrator and playwright Brandon Hicks for our 20th anniversary festival. This year Brandon’s work will be featured as part of our Taking it to the Streets series, a collection of four 10-minute plays performed in an outdoor setting. This year’s series will mark Brandon’s fourth festival appearance. His play A Reunion of Lovers will be featured together with work by emerging playwrights McKenna Boeckner, Madeline Savoie and Monika Rennick.
Brandon traces his love for creating theatre back to his time as a producer with Next Folding Theatre Company. After finishing school and leaving Fredericton, he has remained connected to theatre through his involvement with NotaBle Acts and cites the short play format as a contributing factor, especially for a comedy writer.
“It’s perfect for comedy. All you really need is a funny concept and a couple of engaging characters, then you can just fill the thing with jokes,” he said. “Longer plays require deeper, overarching themes, multi-faceted characters, and an involved plot. Not that you can’t go deep in a short play, but the fact is, you just don’t have as much time.”
Working within time restraints allows very little time for an actor to develop a character’s personality, which is another reason Brandon enjoys working within this format.
“You need to fulfil the potential of your funny idea as quickly as possible,” he said. “The upside of this is that I get to see the actors and directors really bring more of themselves into it. The characters are often less specifically outlined, which forces those filling the roles to bring more of themselves into the play, which I believe brings a great deal of life and vitality to the production that goes far beyond the script. As a playwright, that’s extremely satisfying.”
With A Reunion of Lovers, Brandon looked to the current climate for comedic inspiration.
“I wanted to write something that feels very ‘of the moment,’ and takes a head-on approach to addressing just how weird it is to gather together and play pretend after a global pandemic. I was fascinated by that tension of trying to move forward and create, while at the same time, remaining anxious and uncertain about what the future holds. It’s exciting to return, but it’s also kind of scary. And, like all things that scare me, I wanted to try to find a way to laugh at it.”
Brandon describes A Reunion of Lovers as a play about the state of live theatre itself as actors, directors and producers try to move forward after the recent pandemic.
“It’s very much a ‘2021’ play, which I’m especially excited about,” he said. “The fact that it’s a live performance about something very specific happening right now in our culture makes it feel like a very singular event. My plays tend to require a lot of props, costumes and intense physicality. I’m a cartoonist, by trade, so it’s just how my mind works. And this is probably my most complex yet. I don’t envy the actors, but they have my full confidence.”
In putting each new festival lineup together, we enjoy seeing new work from new playwrights as much as we enjoy receiving submissions from writers like Brandon who have, through repeated submissions, become part of our extended family.
“If it wasn’t for Notable Acts, I don’t think that I’d still be writing plays at all. It’s really hard for someone who isn’t consistently and actively involved in theatre to find an outlet and to get their work performed. You have to write the play, find a space, find actors, find directors, and market it. For many, that is just a series of impossible tasks. Notable Acts has all of that infrastructure in place, and they take chances on unique plays from anybody who wants to submit. There are a ton of wannabe playwrights out there just looking for their chance. Notable Acts gives them that opportunity.”
Brandon Hicks is a writer, cartoonist and filmmaker based out of New Brunswick. His work has appeared in a number of publications, including CBC, The Maritime Edit, The Manatee and The Rumpus, where he also serves as Comics Editor. He’s written and directed a number of staged plays, and his short films have won awards from international film festivals. In 2021, he released two illustrated books—That’s Not True! (with Shauna Chase), and Seven Easy Steps to Go To Hell. He loves what he does.
See Brandon Hicks’ A Reunion of Lovers as part of our 2021 Taking it to the Streets series. These plays will be performed as an hour of free theatre July 26-29 in Officer’s Square beginning at 7:30 p.m.