A World on fire

The Vil­lain’s The­atre of­fers a fan­tas­ti­cal and fem­i­nist look at the planet with The Blaz­ing World.


The Blaz­ing World April 11-15 Nep­tune Stu­dio The­atre, 1593 Ar­gyle Street $20-$25 nep­tunethe­atre.com

Colleen MacIsaac has writ­ten and is star­ring in The Blaz­ing World, pre­view­ing April 11 on Nep­tune’s sec­ond stage and open­ing April 12. As a multi-dis­ci­plinary artist—she makes the­atre, comics and an­i­ma­tion, to start—hav­ing more than one job on a project is not new to her, but the “star­ring” part is.

“It’s been nerve-wreck­ing act­ing in a play I wrote,” says MacIsaac af­ter a no­table pause. “I’ve done quite a bit of act­ing, but I would be more of a char­ac­ter ac­tor in smaller parts. It’s def­i­nitely throw­ing some new things at me.”

The Blaz­ing World is based on Mar­garet Cavendish’s 1666 novel A De­scrip­tion of a New World, Called The Blaz­ing-World, about a woman from earth be­ing trans­ported to an­other world. MacIsaac’s Blaz­ing World is set now, about a woman study­ing cli­mate change in the Rock­ies. It’s some science and some ac­tivism and some hu­mour, “com­bined with this fan­tas­tic jour­ney,” says MacIsaac. “She’s sucked into this world that is like ours but also dif­fer­ent, fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of Al­ice in Won­der­land and The Wiz­ard of Oz.

“It re­ally in­trigued me, this proto-science fic­tion, proto-fem­i­nist piece,” says MacIsaac, who’s been shep­herd­ing the script through work­shops by DaPoPo The­atre, Stages and Lu­naSea The­atre, whose Ryanne Chisholm is di­rect­ing the run. (This pro­duc­tion, by The Vil­lain’s The­atre, is at Nep­tune through its Open Stages pro­gram.)

You don’t need to be up on your trail­blaz­ing proto-fem­i­nist sci-fi writ­ers to en­joy The Blaz­ing World— be­ing alive now is enough back­ground. “When I started writ­ing it was set in 2015 Canada and it was about the Harper gov­ern­ment cen­sor­ing sci­en­tists, which thank­fully is no longer the case,” says MacIsaac. “But it touches on a lot of con­tem­po­rary is­sues. You could go and see it and have no idea that it was based on the orig­i­nal works.”


Gina Thorn­hill, Noella Mur­phy, Dan Bray and Colleen MacIsaac star in The Blaz­ing World.

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