Wednesday, December 8, 2021

True story of love and tragedy mix in Tuesdays & Sundays

Prince Edward Island's Kitbag Theatre brings Tuesdays & Sundays to Halifax with a stop at the Bus Stop Theatre on October 29 & 30.

Prince Edward Island’s Kitbag Theatre continues its Nova Scotia, and PEI tour of the Daniel Arnold and Medina Hahn penned Tuesdays & Sundays with a stop at Halifax’s Bus Stop Theatre later this month.

A small town. A murder. A true story. It is hard not to be drawn.

Inspired by the true story of William Millman and Mary Tuplin and the tragedy that shook the community of Margate, PEI in 1887, we find out more in this Q&A with actor and producer Jacob Hemphill.

This interview has been edited.

Take us behind the press release. Tell us about Tuesdays & Sundays – what can audiences expect?

Tuesdays & Sundays is a fast-paced, gripping piece inspired by the true story of William Millman and Mary Tuplin and the murder that shook the community of Margate, Prince Edward Island, in 1887. The play follows them from their first meeting at a New Year’s Eve social to the day Mary disappeared, along with the baby inside her.

A theatrical “train of stress,” audiences can expect to be holding their breath for the length of the 50-minute piece.

Why this play now?

The rural and social isolation William and Mary experienced in 1887 parallels the isolation experienced worldwide during this pandemic. For the play’s characters, this culminates in domestic homicide. In the past year, there has been a significant spike in intimate partner violence in Canada. This 130-year-old story of teenage pregnancy and domestic violence is still all too relevant for today’s audiences.

The play deals with an event that took place in 1887. Why does it continue to resonate today?

This true story from 1887 parallels today’s world. Teenage pregnancy, domestic violence, and intimate partner violence still affect our society, especially during COVID when people are stuck at home and can’t escape their partners. This rings especially true in communities where these issues are not discussed. This play touches on the realities of small, rural communities that desperately need reflection while also delving into a person’s humanity who makes the worst possible choice. If we do not learn from our history, we are doomed to repeat it.

You originally produced the piece in 2020 on Prince Edward Island. Why did you decide to remount the show with a tour?

The Island is known for a few select exports: potatoes, seafood, Anne of Green Gables. However, we at Kitbag are trying to provide our island community with culture throughout the year and share our stories with a broader audience.

Taking this homegrown piece on tour allows us to share the kind of theatre we are excited to be cultivating on PEI and the stories we believe are important. After the success of the play on PEI last year, we knew the next step would be to share it more widely with folks on the mainland, where we believe it will still deeply resonate.

The original production sold out quickly. Why do you think audiences are drawn to the show?

A small town. A murder. A true story. It is hard not to be drawn. And, with descendants of the characters still living on PEI and throughout Atlantic Canada today, word of the show travels quickly. Both last year and on tour this year, audiences continue to share how captivating and moving the storytelling is and how exciting the piece is to witness.

Why should someone see Tuesdays & Sundays?

Tuesdays & Sundays is a gripping piece of history shared by vibrant, homegrown artists. The play relies only on grounded storytelling, simple staging, and a valuable and relevant story to create a truly captivating theatre experience, and it is not to be missed.

Tuesdays & Sundays plays the Bus Stop Theatre (2203 Gottingen Street, Halifax) on October 29 & 30. Tickets are available online at eventbrite.com.

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