Brad Dryborough wanted to put himself out there.
So he stripped naked in Kris Elgstrand’s film, The Cabin Movie.
It screened at the Toronto International Film Festival to an audience of hundreds.
Now, he’s exposing himself in a whole new way.
Instead of acting in Elgstrand’s productions, Dryborough is in Whitehorse to direct the Canadian premiere of Elgstrand’s play The Boys.
The actor, who’s had roles in everything from The Thaw to Battlestar Galactica, is keeping his clothes on this time around, and the audience capacity at the Guild will be sizably smaller than the Toronto film fest, but he was still nervous.
He hasn’t done a lot of directing.
However, Dryborough has a good understanding of the play – he’s acted in three workshops of The Boys, including one in New York City.
It’s the story of two brothers who come home following the death of their estranged father to a stepmother they barely know and who doesn’t want them around.
“It’s a dark comedy and it’s going to get a little uncomfortable in spots,” said Dryborough. “It’s going to evoke a lot of emotion.”
An audience just out for a night of mindless entertainment will be forced to think a little, he said.
Dryborough isn’t worried about challenging his audience.
But he was worried about one potential critic observing the rehearsals.
Elgstrand was flying to the territory to hang out with his wife, the play’s costume designer, and the Vancouver playwright was going to get a sneak peek of the production.
Luckily, the playwright laughed “at the right spots,” said Dryborough.
More than a decade ago, the two men studied together at the Atlantic Theatre School in New York.
The Guild’s new artistic director Katherine McCallum studied there too, and after seeing a workshop of The Boys, vowed to bring it to Whitehorse.
In the interim, Elgstrand and Dryborough have been working mostly on films.
The film industry was more welcoming, said Elgstrand.
And more people see movies than they do plays, added Dryborough.
It’s so much work to fund and stage a play and, after two weeks it’s all over, he said.
“You can make movies in the same amount of time, and then take them around and show people.”
Although he hasn’t been involved in theatre for some time, Elgstrand’s brief stint in Whitehorse watching his play come to life has rekindled his passion.
The community’s commitment involves local set designers, graphic designers and actors who, despite their day jobs, are rehearsing six nights a week.
The Boys was first staged in Philadelphia, and when Elgstrand flew down to see some rehearsals, things didn’t go as smoothly as they have in Whitehorse.
The director had added “some weird stuff,” into the sound design that was a bit “over the top.”
It’s not that kind of play, said Elgstrand.
There is a time and place for multimedia explorations, but The Boys is not one of them.
“It’s a simple, straightforward play,” said Dryborough.
“And it should be presented in a simple straightforward way.”
Elgstrand’s subject matter holds its own.
At the end of one of his productions, Dryborough delivered his last line.
Someone in the audience exclaimed -“Ugh.”
It was a moment of glory for the playwright.
“I was delighted because the play evoked that,” said Elgstrand.
The Boys is in the same vein, “evoking a range of emotions while also entertaining,” said Dryborough.
The show opens Thursday night and runs until October 16, Wednesday through Saturday.
Tickets are $18 on Wednesday and Thursday and $20 on Friday and Saturday. Wednesday October 6th is pay-what-you-can.
Contact Genesee Keevil at