Joanne Rowland, Jonathan Hamilton, Frank Moher and Belle Warner (clockwise from left) gather for an anxious family barbecue in the family drama Dead Metaphor. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

Western Edge Theatre ends its season with ‘Dead Metaphor’ by George F. Walker

Production runs from March 16 to 25 at Harbour City Theatre

Nanaimo’s Western Edge Theatre is wrapping up its all-Canadian Canada 150 season with a production of the 2015 play Dead Metaphor by celebrated Toronto playwright George F. Walker.

The play follows an army sniper, Dean, who is back from his second tour in Afghanistan and is trying to reacclimate to civilian life. Things get complicated when he remarries his pregnant ex-wife, moves in with his elderly parents and catches the eye of a hysterical politician.

This is the first Walker play for director Brian March. He said he chose to stage Dead Metaphor for its topicality, relatability and black humour.

“This one just stood out for me because of the nature of the play, the humour that lies underneath, all the dramatic tension that’s going on and then, of course, the ending that leaves the audience wondering who’s the victim in the end?” March said.

“I picked it up, didn’t want to put it down,” said Jonathan Hamilton, who plays Dean.

“Keeps you wanting more and then at the end you still want more.”

Hamilton describes his character as having a strong sense of right and wrong thanks to his military training and discipline, but those values are tested once he finds himself in a civilian environment. Hamilton said it’s a sense of unease the characters share.

“It’s like that last straw. One more, little poke and they’re going to be off the edge and that’s been really interesting playing with the other actors because we’re pushing each other’s boundaries and it’s just seeing where that limit is…” Hamilton said.

“These are all characters we can feel for, associate and understand because we all are getting psyched a little bit like that in our lives.”

Even though the play was written a few years ago, Hamilton said it feel immediate and speaks to the current mood.

“In the world we’re living in right now so much crazy stuff is happening and it’s easy to want to bury our heads in the sand and not think about it, or it’s too overwhelming,” Hamilton said.

“And this play just puts it in your face and says, ‘Hey, let’s think about this stuff. Let’s start a conversation,’ and pushes the boundaries. And that’s kind of fun.”

WHAT’S ON … Western Edge Theatre’s production of Dead Metaphor comes to the Harbour City Theatre from March 16 to 18, 22 to 25. Sunday shows start at 2 p.m. All others begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $24 for adults, $20 for seniors 65 and older and $15 for young adults under 30 and students. On March 22 adults and seniors are $2 off, $3 off for young adults and students.

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