Head to the Fringe
U of M professor writes, performs in first show
The Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival is underway and Associate Professor Neil McArthur from the department of philosophy has written and directed his own show.
Let Me Freeze Your Head is a one-man performance that premiered two weeks ago at the Toronto Fringe. McArthur is bringing his show home through to July 24.
“I wrote the show myself, and it is my first theatrical production of any kind,” said McArthur. “I play a salesman who tries to convince people that they should have their heads cut off and frozen. I tell the story of how I (my character, who is named Neil) became convinced that cryonics is the future, through a series of personal reminiscences. It’s meant to be satirical, but also personal and poignant. I want to really understand why people would be attracted to something like this.”
McArthur is also the director of the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics.
He got the idea for the Fringe show after a trip to Los Angeles. He had an opportunity to meet with people who were leaders in the cryonics movement.
“Though I found their ideas bizarre, they also fascinated me,” he said. “They had these ideas about the universe being ruled by something called extropy, which supposedly shows that as time goes on, things inevitably get better.”
The show presented McArthur with obstacles, one being taking off his teaching hat and replacing it with his acting hat.
“The biggest challenge was learning to act rather than lecture,” he said. “As a university prof I’m used to talking to crowds. But someone told me early on, ‘If it feels like you’re lecturing you’re doing it wrong.’ And that’s really true.”
More University of Manitoba ties to the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival include:
The Collector is directed by George Toles (faculty) and Kevin Ramberran (alumnus) and stars Thomas Toles, Caitlin Belton and Justin Fry (all alumni).
HUNKS stars Tim Gray and Dana Smith (both alumni).
Ray Strachan (alumnus) is in Jonno.
Bill Kerr (faculty) is in a show called Old Times with Black Hole Theatre Company alumni Sarah Constible and Ross McMillan, who directed.
Praised be the Playwright was written by Kai Chochinov and directed by Daphne Finlayson (both students). All the actors are students or alumni of the Black Hole Theatre Company (BHTC).
Snapshots was written by alumna and graduate student Shaylyn Maharaj-Poliah, directed by student Felicia Pulo, with a cast made up of students and alumni.
Welcome Player Two stars alumnus Luke Cecelon.
Zahgidiwin/Love is written and directed by Frances Koncan (alumna) and has current student Connor Duff in the cast.
The World Of The Brothers Grimm (Kids Venue, MTYP at The Forks) features External Relations staff member Chris Reid in the cast.
For dates and show times, visit WinnipegFringe.com.
Do you know someone with a University of Manitoba connection involved with the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival? Email the show name and connection to umtoday [at] umanitoba [dot] ca and we’ll add it to the list!