‘A very per­sonal pro­ject’

‘The Wrestling Play’, writ­ten by Justin Shaw, pre­mieres Aug. 3 with per­for­mances at Rochford Square in Charlottetown

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - COMMUNITY / ENTERTAINMENT -

This week, Is­land-born the­atre artist Justin Shaw will pre­miere his in­au­gu­ral solo show.

Af­ter two years in devel­op­ment, “The Wrestling Play”, an imag­i­na­tive story about what it means to take your life into your own hands, is com­ing to the 2017 Is­land Fringe Fes­ti­val.

“The Wrestling Play” will be pre­sented Aug. 3-6, 7 p.m., at Rochford Square, Rochford and Kent streets in Charlottetown, with the rain venue at Dy­namic Fit­ness, 99 Pow­nal St.

“I feel ex­cited about bring­ing my play to the Is­land Fringe Fes­ti­val be­cause I get to share a very per­sonal pro­ject with peers who I deeply re­spect,” says Shaw of the play that tells the tale of Charles, a dis­con­tent English teacher whose wanderlust is only matched by his deep-seated love for pro­fes­sional wrestling.

Af­ter a life-al­ter­ing de­ci­sion to chase his dream of be­com­ing a pro-wrestler, Charles fi­nally steps out his com­fort zone, and into the great un­known. Un­for­tu­nately for Charles, the chal­lenges he faces are much larger and much more rat­tling than he could have ever pos­si­bly imag­ined.

Shaw hopes to chal­lenge the con­ven­tions of sto­ry­telling through his play.

“The sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween the­atre and pro­fes­sional wrestling are al­most too big to ig­nore. My in­ten­tion is to ex­plore those com­mon­al­i­ties and dis­cover what sort of im­pact it may have on au­di­ence,” he says.

Orig­i­nally from Cardigan,

P.E.I., Shaw is a re­cent grad­u­ate of the Na­tional The­atre School of Canada’s act­ing pro­gram in Mon­treal. While in the­atre school by day, Shaw at­tended the school of hard knocks per­form­ing as part of Mon­treal’s ac­tive stand-up scene. Com­bin­ing his love of the­atre and com­edy writ­ing, Shaw be­gan de­vel­op­ing “The Wrestling Play” in 2015 with Play­wrights Work­shop Mon­treal’s Youth Unit, where the play was dra­maturged and work­shopped. Af­ter count­less re­vi­sions and drafts, “The Wrestling Play” finds its first au­di­ence with The Is­land Fringe Fes­ti­val.

SALLY COLE/THE GUARDIAN

Play­wright Justin Shaw is ex­cited about de­but­ing his work, “The Wrestling Play” at the Is­land Fringe Fes­ti­val in Charlottetown from Aug. 3-7.

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