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Stage production in Nanaimo grapples with finding one’s place in the world

‘I Want To Be An Astronaut’ will be staged at the Port Theatre on March 14
Adrien Kennedy, left, and Jesse Wilson during rehearsal for the upcoming production of ‘I Want to be an Astronaut’ at Nanaimo’s Port Theatre on March 14. (Photo by Miles Hayes)

An upcoming play will show the struggle and strife of having to settle for reality over fantasy.

As part of the Port Theatre’s ongoing Discovery Series, co-commissioned by Pacific Coast Stage Co., I Want To Be An Astronaut, by Theo Soloway, will be staged at the theatre mid-March.

“It’s about an autistic young adult, Morgan, who meets up with their friend Avery … and they discuss their lives and the struggles they’re having. With Morgan, especially struggling with how to adapt to reality versus this fantasy life that they’ve always wanted,” Soloway said, adding that Morgan has spent so long living in their head that it seems impossible to thrive in real life.

Since the heart-to-heart between the two characters takes place in a multi-sensory environment geared towards neurodiverse people known as a snoezelen room, the main set for I Want To Be An Astronaut will include plenty of colour, textures and stim toys.

The play’s main story is based on the writer’s experience as an autistic person.

“There’s just not enough of these kinds of stories told. I think neurodiverse people, often times, when we’re represented it’s just as a one-note character – and we see it repeated over a variety of shows,” Soloway said. “But for a lot of neurodiverse people that doesn’t strike true … I wanted to write something more relevant to my experience and to some other people’s experiences as well.”

The writer’s premier production was first presented along with four other short plays collectively called the Snoezelen Sessions during last year’s Nanaimo Fringe Festival in August. At that time, the play only ran for about 20 minutes. For the Port Theatre presentation, it’s been expanded to a full-length one act play with added fantasy elements.

The cast of three was chosen in collaboration between Soloway and the director Tamara McCarthy, and will include a few familiar faces for those who caught the show last year.

I Want To Be An Astronaut will be staged at the Port Theatre on March 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased at

READ MORE: Nanaimo Fringe Festival to tell diverse stories