Live from The Porthouse, radio host and self-proclaimed voice of the people: Curt Riley preps for another installment of “Chit Chat with Curt Riley”. The once beloved disc jockey has watched his beautiful maritime community dwindle into impoverished obscurity. His favourite stores have closed down, his friends have moved away and he’s begun to cultivate anger beyond his own self-loathing. His free speech is less than savoury, putting him in the spotlight of global criticism and controversy. But somewhere someone has plans for Curt Riley and his associates.
After the rising Megacorporation Kolossal Fisheries started renovating the old town, strange happenings plague the Greater Kesnukwon Bay Area. Fish kills and lights in the sky are only some of the symptoms of a looming threat. In his own little world oblivious to the bigger picture, Curt plans to oust a local politician as a ‘sell out’. The resulting broadcast; full of colourful locals, callers from beyond the stars and a pesky new hit Country single is an unsuspected ground zero for first contact.
Caught between government and corporation, Curt defends his unpopular opinions against interstellar criticism and passionately represents the human race knowing this to be his final broadcast. Rather than change his opinions, Curt must regain his appreciation for his hometown and neighbors who have him as usual “up to his hipwaders” in trouble. The Host is a dark, nautically-themed, science fiction comedy tackling Canadian problems on a galactic scale.
“I am not good at anything, nor am I brave… I became a performer.” – Henry Zebrowski
The Host is a dark political satire which marries the absurd with the political reality we’re living in today. In a world where Cheetos are president and people like Jeff Epstein well… exists. It’s hard to imagine living in a more bizarre time, that’s where the aliens come in! Curt Riley is an unfortunate hero surrounded by much more capable people, he’s tired of holding onto the hope that someday things will go back to “normal” but he’s not sure what else he can do. I think we all feel like that most days. What I hope to learn from the Host is that nothing is as it seems, we need to pay closer attention to what the powers that be are selling us, how they’re impacting our lives and primarily how to keep talking about the tough subjects even when it seems like no one wants to hear, someone is always listening… enjoy the show!
The Host started out as a distant premise made up on a long drive. As we looked to the stars, our DJ encountered static and his voice became an eerie warble. It has evolved since then, after all, “Aliens” isn’t really a premise all on its own. Over two years of revisions, re-writes and collaboration brought this production to life.
In that time, I developed a deep connection with my maritime roots, finally gaining the appreciation for my hometown that it deserves.
In that time, I became infatuated with the films of Spielberg and Carpenter. Sci-fi and horror became commonplace in my imagination.
In that time, I watched a world turn on itself. A toxic political climate, brother against brother, and everyone, a hypocrite.
The nature of sci-fi is to look to the future. Horror, to fear it. Maritime culture dwells on the past, and if we are doomed to this present, why not bitch and moan? Its not my intention to ruffle feathers with the rhetoric of this play, nor to condemn a city for embracing its lifeblood. But I ask you to look to the stars, feel what you must feel, and ask yourself if its worth it.
Its all made up anyway.
*A KOLOSSAL thank you to Laura-beth Bird, Esther Soucoup, Alex Rioux, our Tenacious Cast, Miguel Roy, Samuel Arsenault, Enter: Stage Write and the village of Tyne Valley, PEI
Outstanding Original Script, Fundy Fringe Festival 2019.
Meet the Writer!
Thomas MacDougall is a playwright from Tyne Valley, Prince Edward Island operating out of Fredericton, NB. He has recently graduated with a BA in Creative Writing and Communications from St. Thomas University. His “raucous and clever” nuclear survival comedy And Above ALL was produced by Theatre St Thomas as part of the What’s Next? Theatre Festival and premiered in the Black Box Theatre in January 2018.
MacDougall's true love of theatre came when he and his colleague mounted a passionate production of Lysistrata set in the Cold War. His current work explore's themes of truth and perception through the lens of genre fiction. As a self proclaimed fan of sci-fi, horror, comedy and any collaboration of the three; he believes any human story can only be enhanced by a dash of the fantastic and the theatrical.
MacDougall is a founder of student driven writing group Enter: Stage Write and as well as an actor in Theatre St. Thomas and student theatre productions including: The Trickster of Seville, A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream and Hamlet.
Source. Greg Everett, STU reviews.
Meet the Director!
Esther Soucoup is a locally grown theatre artist from St. Stephen NB, their most recent works include the mainstage production of Fruit Machine for NotaBle Acts theatre festival, A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Bard in the Barracks, and a short film for Rebel Femme Productions called Together We Move. They are directing The Host, having previously directed Hamlet and Purgatory. And assisted directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Trickster of Seville during their BA in English & Drama at St. Thomas University.
Meet The Stage Manager!
Alexander Rioux is a theatre artist currently based in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Rioux recently debuted his first original piece Fruit Machine as a mainstage production with the Notable Acts Theatre Festival. In October you can catch his latest project, The Plain Site Theatre Festival. This festival takes short site specific works from LGBTQ2+ students that explore the theme of visibility and presents them across St. Thomas University campus.
Meet Curt Riley!
Greg Everett is a Fredericton-based playwright, creator, and oneironaut. His plays CARRION BIRDS (2018) and GULLYWHUMP (2019) were selected as winners in the one-act category of the NotaBle Acts theatre festival, and he was awarded a Creation Grant through ArtsNB to research and write Written in Marble, Buried in Earth (2019), a site-specific play set in Fredericton’s Old Burial Ground. Greg most recently played Balustrade in Next Folding Theatre Company’s Songs of the Seer (Fredericton 2018). www.neobrunswick.ca ; Facebook: @neobrunswick ; IG @gullywhump
Meet Gary Cooke!
Devin Rockwell is a Fredericton based theatre artist whose focuses include acting, set design, sound design, and directing. Devin’s most recent acting credits include TUNB’s 2018 production of Bone Cage. Their most recent theatre work in 2019 includes codirecting and coproducing ‘The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble’, and doing technical design for NotaBle Act’s production of Greg Everett’s ‘Gullywhump’. They are very excited to be back to acting after a recent hiatus and hope everyone enjoys the role of Gary Cooke as much as they have enjoyed playing him.
Meet Gloria McMann!
Neomi Iancu Haliva is a Fredericton based writer and actor going into her second year at St. Thomas University. She has taken part in productions with Next Folding Theatre Company and Theatre St. Thomas, and had a one act play in progress read as part of Grey Rabbit's launch. She has had the pleasure of witnessing some of the writing process of The Host and is very excited work with such a talented cast and creative team to bring the final product to Fundy Fringe.
Meet Linda Herring!
Brianna Parker-Tarasco is an artist of sorts with hair almost as big as her dreams. She has been known to occupy anywhere dark and hard to see in. And often writes scripts of varying quality.
You may remember her from TST's #Swipers, Hubert the Cow's Opi-void or last year's NotaBle acts theater festival.
Meet Mack Earlmyer!
Born in January of 1999 Simon Peterson, A self-proclaimed actor, has spent his whole life following a passion. Setting aside any productions from school, Simon has been a part of 13 shows in the past 2 years either on or off stage, helping where ever he can, just to get near a stage. Simon has dabbled in Film slightly as an extra and even landed a lead role this summer.
Meet Andy Franz!
Originally from Bathurst, Mary Walker is a student of English and Theatre going into her third year of study at UNB. Her recent acting credits include No Exit (TUNB) The Country Wife (TUNB) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bard in the Barracks). She is thrilled to be performing in a play of many maritime themes at her first Fundy Fringe Festival. When she isn’t in rehearsal, Mary enjoys chicken noodle soup and talking to her cat, Daiquiri.
A special thank you to Theater UNB, Hotspot Parking, Fundy Fringe Festival and all of the Actors and Crew.
Grid City Magazine. August 22 at 1:15 PM
Fundy Fringe Festival Reviews - Day 2
The Host | Mary Oland Theatre
Wonderfully original. So many themes intertwined in this story including social commentary on capitalism, politics, and the notion that traditional radio is a dying medium. The lead actor is incredible. One of the more technically sophisticated shows, as they effectively use lighting and sound to transition from character to character. The only thing I found distracting was one character has a strong southern accent though she is Canadian. Despite this minor incongruity, it is an impressive show all around.
**** 4 stars