The last time Moving Parts Theatre put on a play in Whitehorse it was quite the production.
Peer Gynt, a play by 19th-century Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, required more than 50 hand-made masks for 15 actors in a three-hour play.
It took a lot of time and energy, remembers Moving Part’s Anton Solomon, and by the end people needed a break.
“People went and had children, and one got a full-time job, two moved away, some people had other priorities, and by the time we got to the end of that season of workshops we decided we’re not going to be ready to do a show,” he said.
Actors continued training together, but without any specific play in mind.
Now, two years later, Moving Parts is coming back to the stage, starting next week with Christopher Lockheardt’s Talking to Strangers.
The latest production is significantly smaller than its predecessor in almost every sense.
Instead of one long play, the two-hour show is made up of 11 shorter ones, one after the other.
It’ll be in the tiny six-by-18 foot space at Well-Read Books in downtown Whitehorse, instead of a larger stage.
The smaller venue means the maximum size of the audience is 30 people.
In all, there will be “12 actors, 11 scenes, one murder, one accidental stabbing, four extramarital affairs, six broken hearts, and one memorable kiss,” according to the promos.
Solomon said it’s a mistake for anyone to think short plays can’t be compelling.
It was that ability to write short, interesting pieces that first attracted Solomon to the relatively-unknown Lockheardt.
“He has an amazing economy of writing. You can, in a way, see the 10-minute scene that you see and you’re exposed to years of life that led to it and left wondering what the years of life are like after it,” Solomon said.
He first learned about Lockheardt after coming across one of his plays in a theatre book during a trip to Toronto.
When he reached out to try and get the rights to put it on stage in Whitehorse, Solomon discovered it was part of the larger Talking to Strangers series.
Moving Parts started in Whitehorse in 2001. At its core it has always been about teaching and honing the craft, said Solomon, who is one of the last remaining founding members in the territory.
During the theatre season – from about September to April – actors get together weekly to train what Solomon calls “actor muscles.”
That could mean working on anything from movement to voice work to stage combat training.
“Imagine people training for the Olympics. They don’t wait until they actually have the race before they start training. They start training before the race,” he said.
Moving parts used to have a running joke that it was training actors for every other theatre company in town. That’s not really accurate, Solomon said, laughing.
But most of the faces in this production are recognizable to anyone familiar with the Whitehorse theatre scene.
The cast is made up of Solomon, Carrie Boles, Emelie Caron, Jacob Fitzsimmons, Laurie Gendron, Tim Green, Iantha Greer, Mike Ivens, Camille Luks, Mike Tribes, Carolyn Westberg, and Winluck Wong.
Solomon directed eight of the plays. The other three were directed by Ivens.
The play is happening Feb. 18 to 21 and Feb. 24 to 28. All shows are at 8 p.m. at Well-Read Books (4137 Fourth Ave.) Tickets are $17 and are for sale at the bookstore. Feb. 24 is pay-what-you-can night.
Seating is limited.
Contact Ashley Joannou at